Blue Crabs complete series in Lancaster
Teams split two doubleheaders
With the season rapidly winding to a close and the squad already eliminated from postseason play, the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs were seeking a hint of respectability when they faced the Lancaster Barnstormers in Pennsylvania.
On Monday afternoon, one day after their original doubleheader was postponed by heavy rains, Southern Maryland (4773 overall, 21-36 second half) split its latest twinbill with the Barnstormers at an impromptu neutral site. Due to persistent rains, the field at Clipper Magazine Stadium, where the Barnstormers play their home games, was deemed unplayable and the two squads headed to Millersville University’s Cooper Park.
in the abbreviated nightcap at Millersville — the game was halted after five innings because Cooper Park does not have lights — the Barnstormers rallied for a 9-8 victory in a genuine see-saw battle.
Monday’s games capped a five-game series with the two teams also splitting a doubleheader on Saturday and Lancaster shutting out Southern Maryland on Friday. The Blue Crabs complete a two-game series in New Jersey versus Somerset tonight, then finish the season at home with a four-game series versus New Britain starting Thursday.
In Game 2 Monday, Southern Maryland scored two runs in the top of the first inning on a two-run single by Frank Martinez, but the Barnstormers responded with four runs in the bottom of the first and added another in the second for a 5-2 lead. The Blue Crabs got to within 5-4 on an RBI double by Devon Rodriguez and a sacrifice fly by Martinez that plated Rodriguez.
Lancaster (69-51, 3126) added single runs in the third and fourth for a 7-4 lead, but the Blue Crabs responded with four runs in the top of the fifth capped by a two-run single by Cory Vaughn that gave the visitors an 8-7 lead.
The lead did not last long as the Barnstormers replied with two runs in the bottom of the fifth on an RBI single by Anderson De La Rosa and a run-scoring groundout by Stephen Perez for a 9-8 lead.
At the conclusion of the fifth inning, with darkness looming and lights unavailable, the two managers — Southern Maryland’s James Frisbie and Lancaster’s Ross Peeples — met with the umpires and, after a long discussion, agreed not to contin- ue with the game was already official at that point.
The setback snapped the Blue Crabs’ two-game win streak. Despite allowing four runs in top of the fifth, Daniel Carela picked up the win for the Barnstormers, while Drake Britton (4-6) took the loss for the Blue Crabs.
In the opening game of Monday’s twin-bill, Southern Maryland prevailed 7-2 despite a slow start.
Lancaster took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third,
but the Blue Crabs responded with three runs in the fourth. Angelys Nina delivered one run with a double and Vaughn followed with a two-run single.
Southern Maryland added two runs in the fifth as Lancaster center fielder Darian Sandford misplayed a fly ball by Vaughn, which was ruled a single.
The Barnstormers got one run back in the fifth, but the Blue Crabs scored two runs in the top of the seventh. Devon Rodriguez led off with a double and scored on a single by Martinez and Jon Griffin, who singled in front of Martinez, scored on a wild pitch.
Southern Maryland starter Craig Stem (7-8) went five innings to get the win, while relievers Ryan Chaffee and Cody Eppley each pitched one scoreless inning of relief.
Saturday, the Blue Crabs split a doubleheader with the Barnstormers, dropping the first game, 4-0, but rallying to win the nightcap, 6-5, to end their six-game losing streak.
“We had had some tough games in the last week,” Frisbie said. “Things didn’t start off well on Saturday, but we finished on a good note. Our bullpen came in and did a nice job keeping the game close and then Cory hit a three-run homer and Edwin [Garcia] had a tworun double to give us the lead late and Cody closed it for us.”
In the nightcap, Southern Maryland spotted
Lancaster a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the second before scoring three runs in the fourth, one more in the fifth and two more in the sixth. Vaughn hit a three-run homer in the fourth and Garcia put the Blue Crabs in front with a two-run double in the sixth and Eppley allowed one run in the seventh to collect the save.
In the first game of the doubleheader, however, the Blue Crabs could not generate any offense against Lancaster starter Nate Reed, who scattered four hits in six scoreless innings and reliever Huascar Brazobon tossed a scoreless seventh to record the save. Southern Maryland hurler Casey Delgado allowed four runs in six innings and took the loss.
Friday, the Blue Crabs yielded four runs in the
bottom of the first and eventually fell, 4-3.
Southern Maryland starter David Wayne Russo allowed four runs in the bottom of the first but blanked the Barnstormers over the next five innings. The Blue Crabs scored one run in the second and two more in the third against Lancaster starter Jonathan Albaladejo, but neither team scored over the last six innings.
Thursday at Regency Furniture Stadium in Waldorf, Southern Maryland spotted the Sugar Land Skeeters six runs in the top of the first in the finale of their three-game series only to counter with seven runs in the bottom of the frame. Of course, that was hardly the end of the excitement on this occasion.
Sugar Land drew even with a run in the top of
the fifth, only to watch the Blue Crabs reclaim the lead in the bottom half of the frame as Rodriguez led off with a single and scored on a 2-out RBI single from Nina.
The Skeeters drew even at 8 in the top of the sixth, but the Blue Crabs reclaimed the lead in the bottom of the seventh on a Nina RBI double.
Frisbie handed the ball to Eppley in the ninth, but the Skeeters opened with three straight singles and Albert Cordero gave the visitors the lead with a one-out, two-run double. Eppley yielded another run on a wild pitch and Cordero eventually scored on an error and the Skeeters emerged with a 12-9 victory as their closer Felipe Paulino recorded his 32nd save in a shaky ninth in which the Blue Crabs failed to score and left the bases loaded.
Southern Maryland had few problems scoring in the bottom of the first. Ryan Strausborger opened the frame with a solo homer and later added an RBI single to cap the scoring in the frame. Francisco Rosario tripled, while Vaughn and Griffin doubled in the inning and the Blue Crabs also got hits from Garcia, Martinez and Maddox during the seven-run first.
“It was definitely an interesting game,” Frisbie said of Thursday’s slugfest. “They had a big inning to start and then we came right back with a big inning. From there it just kept going back and forth. We had our chances to win it, but we couldn’t close it out. It was definitely a very interesting game to say the least.”