Blue Crabs win back-to-back series
Russo allows just 2 hits over 6 1/3 innings in finale win over Lancaster
Entering the final week of the Atlantic League regular season, Southern Maryland Blue Crabs manager James Frisbie feels pretty good about his baseball team and for good reason.
Behind stellar pitching from starter David Russo and timely hitting, the Blue Crabs were able to edge the Lancaster Barnstormers 3-1 in Sunday afternoon’s finale of a three-game series at Clipper Magazine Stadium in Lancaster, Pa.
The win wrapped up Southern
Maryland’s second straight series victory.
The Blue Crabs dropped the series opener Friday 7-2, then came back to win the last two, taking Saturday’s contest 10-7. Before that, they swept Somerset in Thursday’s doubleheader at Regency Furniture Stadium in Waldorf with 4-2 and 3-1 wins to take two of three in that series which included a loss in the opener last week.
Southern Maryland (6767 overall, 28-36 Freedom Division second half) was 8 games back of York in the second-half division standings entering Tuesday. Monday was the first off day — minus rainouts — for the Blue Crabs since Aug. 3 and they were 18-21 during that stretch with five series wins.
The Blue Crabs started a three-game series in York on Tuesday and it continues tonight and Thursday, then they return home to wrap up the regular season versus
New Britain with three games Friday to Sunday. The Atlantic League playoffs begin a week from today for the team against an opponent not yet determined.
Lancaster (72-67, 34-30) was 2 games behind York entering Tuesday with Sugar Land (63-71, 33-31) 3 games back.
“The guys played very loose this weekend,” Frisbie said. “We had no pressure and as long as we’re healthy we can do some things in the playoffs. We have to keep playing with a sense of urgency and we can play spoiler with the second-half race. So we will face another good team in York who is the leader in the division.”
Russo retired the first 11 hitters he faced to start Sunday’s contest and had a no-hitter until Lancaster’s Trayvon Robinson broke it up with a single up the middle with two outs in the bottom of the sixth
The lefty got the win to go to 2-3, giving up no runs on two hits with four strikeouts and one walk in 6 1/3 innings.
“It felt really good. Al-
ways nice to get a ‘W’ and I was happy I was able to keep the team in the game after they scored a few runs for me,” Russo said. “I was making good pitches [yesterday] and had a very good defense behind me.”
Southern Maryland got the scoring started in the top of the first when Edwin Garcia hit a double to left field and later scored on an RBI single by Nate Samson, who signed with the team on Friday.
Samson then took second on the play and scored when Michael Snyder hit a single to left, pushing the lead to 2-0.
Samson, who went 6 for 14 in the series, previously played for Sioux City in the American Association this season where he batted .302.
“I’m very excited to join the team and contribute right away,” said Samson, who played at second base in the series. “With us beating a good team in Lancaster in a series is perfect timing to get acclimated with the team. Everyone has welcomed me with open arms.”
The Blue Crabs added
a run in the fifth on Jose Lozada’s RBI single for the game’s third run.
The shutout was broken up with two outs in the ninth on Sean Halton’s RBI single.
Blue Crabs closer Cody Eppley forced Steve Clevenger to groundout into a force play to end the game, notching his 32nd save of the season which is tops in the Atlantic League.
Saturday, the Blue Crabs scored five runs in the second, capped by Devon Rodriguez’s tworun single, but Lancaster scored six in the third to go up 6-5 capped by Josh Bell’s three-run home run.
Southern Maryland responded in the fourth as Samson’s RBI single tied the game, then he scored on Rodriguez’s two-out single to make it 7-6. In the fifth, Tucker Nathans’ bases-clearing double to left boosted the Blue Crabs’ lead to 10-6.
Lancaster countered with an RBI double from Beau Amaral in the bottom of the sixth and had the tying run at the plate with no outs but did not
Blue Crabs starter Brian Grening got the win despite giving up six runs on 10 hits with two strikeouts and three walks in five innings. Eppley delivered a perfect ninth for the save.
Lozada, who had seven hits in the series, finished with four hits and Samson had three in the game.
Friday, Snyder brought Southern Maryland to within 3-2 in the top of the sixth on his league-tying 24th homer of the season, a two-out solo blast, but Lancaster scored four two-out runs in the bottom of the inning and held on the rest of the way.
Eric Fornataro dropped to 0-8 on the season, 0-6 as a Blue Crab, allowing three runs (2 earned) on five hits with four strikeouts and six walks in five innings.
Blue Crabs sweep twinbill over Patriots
In Game 1 Thursday, the Blue Crabs scored three runs in the first on a bases-loaded walk to Rodriguez and back-toback RBI singles from Cory Vaughn and Patrick Palmeiro.
Somerset’s Kyle Roller cut the lead to within one in the top of the fourth on a two-run homer. The Blue Crabs pushed the lead back to two runs on a Palmeiro two-out solo homer in the sixth.
Blue Crabs starter Daryl Thompson, a 2003 La Plata High School graduate, picked up the win to go to 9-6. Thompson allowed just two runs on six hits in six innings with three strikeouts with no walks. Eppley had a scoreless seventh for his 30th save. Atlantic League doubleheaders are two seven-inning regulation contests.
In Game 2, the Blue Crabs trailed 1-0 until Kalaika Kahoohalahala hit a two-run homer in the fifth. Rodriguez added a sacrifice fly in the sixth to cap off the scoring.
Blue Crabs starter Drew Hayes earned the win to even his record at 8-8. Hayes gave up just one run on four hits in 5 2/3 innings with six strikeouts and four walks.
Blue Crabs starting pitcher David Russo pitched 6 1/3 scoreless innings, allowing just two hits with four strikeouts and one walk in Sunday’s 3-1 victory over Lancaster in a three-game series finale. Russo retired the first 11 hitters he faced to start Sunday’s contest and had a no-hitter through 5 2/3 innings.