Barnstormers Drop Opener In Southern Maryland
A scoreless top half of the first inning may have been the difference as the Lancaster Barnstormers dropped the opener of a three-game series, 6-2, to the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs at Regency Furniture Stadium.
With the loss, the Barnstormers dropped six games behind Long Island in the second half and 6 1/2 behind Southern Maryland for a possible wild card spot. Lancaster has 20 games remaining on the schedule.
The top of the first was notable because, instead of a scoreless inning, it well could have been an early strike of four or more runs for the visitors.
Melvin Mercedes opened the night against Carl Brice (4-4) with a single into center but was picked off first. Alejandro de Aza followed with a single to center. Second baseman Tucker Nathans failed to field a hot grounder by Kelly Dugan with De Aza racing to third on the error. With LeDarious Clark batting, a pitch escaped Joe DeLuca, but the catcher darted after it and threw out De Aza attempting to score. Clark drew a walk, bringing up team RBI leader Caleb Gindl. Gindl smoked a line drive to deep right center, but Zach Collier made a sensational diving catch, keeping the Barnstormers completely off the board.
Lancaster did manage to score first on an opposite field homer by Dugan in the third, but Southern Maryland romped back against Dominic DiSabatino (9-8) in the bottom of the inning. Jordan Howard ripped a double to the fence in right and scored when Michael Baca's sinking liner down the right field line skipped past Clark's lunging effort for a triple. Matt Hibbert singled home the second run then went to third on a long ground rule double to left center by Rubi Silva. Hibbert later scored the third run of the inning on a wild pitch.
Lancaster got one back in the fifth as Brice balked home Mercedes, but that was as close as Lancaster would get. A two-out RBI single by Baca following Howard's second double make it 4-2 in the bottom of the sixth. Hibbert was hit by a pitch. Silva greeted Jake Mulholland with a single up the middle to produce another run.
Baca's double off the returning Logan Sawyer in the bottom of the eighth finished the scoring.
Lancaster sends right-hander Cameron Gann (2-0) to the mound on Saturday night against lefty Misael Siverio (1-3, 1-6). Fans may tune into the YouTube Channel, beginning at 6:30.
NOTES: Mercedes had his third straight multi-hit game...DiSabatino lost his fifth straight start after winning eight consecutive decisions.
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