Blue Crabs com­plete road por­tion of sched­ule

Fall twice in 2-game series at Somerset

The Enterprise - - Sports - TED BLACK

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.

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