Blue Crabs complete road portion of schedule
Fall twice in 2-game series at Somerset
While remnants of Hurricane Florence may dampen the occasion for the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs’ last home stand this weekend, the local squad completed the road portion of its 2018 slate Wednesday night by getting swept by the Somerset Patriots.
Southern Maryland (47-75 overall, 21-38 Freedom Division second-half through Wednesday) was unable to prevail in its final road contest of the summer as the Patriots emerged with an 8-3 victory in a rain-shortened seven-inning affair at TD Bank Ballpark in New Jersey.
The Blue Crabs will finish last in the Freedom Division in the first and second half of the schedules and now look to avoid finishing at least 30 games below .500 this weekend.
Wednesday evening at Somerset (70-52, 35-24), Southern Maryland actually started well when Frank Martinez drove in Devon Rodriguez and Jon Griffin with two outs in the top of the first inning. But the Patriots responded with two runs in the first and added to the lead over the first three innings against Blue Crabs starter Kyle Drabek (0-2) who did not get through the fourth.
Southern Maryland scored its final run of the series in the top of the fourth inning as it again mounted a two-out rally. Angelys Nina walked and Craig Maddox and Jose Gonzalez followed with consecutive singles with Nina scoring on the Gonzalez single. Somerset answered with a run in the bottom of the inning and neither team scored over the last three frames and the Patriots cruised to the win in what was the finale of a scheduled two-game series. Gonzalez was the only Southern Maryland batter with two hits.
One night earlier against Somerset, which currently sits second in the Liberty Division behind the Long Island Ducks after finishing two games ahead of Long Island en route to winning the division title during the first half of the schedule, Southern Maryland had ample chances to prevail in a game that was a microcosm of the entire season.
The Blue Crabs jumped out to a 2-0 lead when Edwin Garcia reached on an error and Rodriguez followed with a two-run homer. Somerset drew even in the fifth, but the Blue Crabs regained the lead in the sixth when Griffin drew a leadoff walk and eventually scored on a one-out single by Nina which put starter Daryl Thompson, a 2003 La Plata High School graduate, in line for the win.
Somerset tied the game in the seventh and the two teams headed into extra innings deadlocked at 3. Southern Maryland then claimed its third lead of the night in the top of the 10th when Garcia doubled with one out and scored on a double by Rodriguez and manager James Frisbie summoned closer Cody Eppley seeking to secure the tepid advantage.
But the Somerset hitters had other ideas. The first two Patriots batters singled and pinch-hitter Nate Coronado had a one-out single to load the bases, then Craig Massey had a two-run, walk-off single to lift Somerset to the 5-4 win.
Eppley suffered the blown save and the loss, squandering a good outing from Thompson, who allowed two runs on eight hits and two walks and three strikeouts in six innings. Sam Runion allowed the tying run in the seventh and Eppley was tagged with the loss after yielding two runs in the 10th while recording just one out.
Rodriguez went 4 for 5 with a double, a homer and three RBI and he also scored a run in a losing cause.
Southern Maryland will conclude the 2018 season with a four-game series at home against the New Britain Bees, Thursday through Sun- day. Like Southern Maryland, New Britain (60-62, 27-32) has already been eliminated from postseason play. The Bees can finish .500 or better by winning at least three of the four games of the series at Regency Furniture Stadium in Waldorf.