High Point Eliminates Barnstormers
The sixth inning once again proved to be a turning point for the Lancaster Barnstormers on Wednesday evening.
In that inning, the Barnstormers failed to break a 1-1 tie after a leadoff walk to Darian Sandford. The host Rockers would not miss the same chance, scoring three times en route to a 4-1 victory in the opener of the brief two-game set.
With the loss, the Barnstormers were eliminated from playoff contention in 2019.
Lancaster's half of the inning began with promise as Sandford walked on a 3-2 pitch from Joe Van Meter (9-5) and promptly stole second. K.C. Hobson ripped a liner barely foul into the High Point bullpen before striking out. Caleb Gindl was ruled out on a check swing, a call that led to his ejection, as Sandford stole third. Joe Terdoslavich ripped a line drive deep to right field that was hauled in by Stephen Cardullo with a sliding catch on the warning track for the final out in the inning, leaving the game tied.
Cardullo was hit by the first pitch from Connor Overton (2-4) in the bottom of the inning. Hector Gomez drilled a single into right center that sent Cardullo to third. Overton was able to pick up the first out as Quincy Latimore bounced to third.
Lancaster went to reliever Logan Sawyer. After the right-hander fell behind Richie Shaffer, 3-0, manager Ross Peeples opted to intentionally walk the High Point first baseman. Michael Martinez made a lunging, backhanded catch on Michael Russell's sharp line drive for the second out, and Sawyer got ahead of DH John Nester, 0-2, before giving up a sharp single through the right side that scored two. Shaffer came home with the third run of the inning on a wild pitch.
The 'Stormers took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second. A line drive by Martinez skipped past Cardullo for a one-out triple. Parker Morin brought the run home with a sacrifice fly to left field.
High Point knotted the score in the fourth inning. Gomez reached on an infield single when second baseman Melvin Mercedes could not get off a throw in time after making a diving stop up the middle. Gomez stole second and remained there as Latimore grounded to short. Shaffer walked, and both runners advanced on a wild pitch. Russell tied the game with a sacrifice fly to center.
A single by Andrew Aplin and walk to Destin Hood with two outs in the ninth gave the Barnstormers a brief glimmer of hope as Martinez, who has homered twice at BB&T Point this season, came to the plate as the tying run. Ryan Kelly retired him on a comebacker to close out the night with his 13th save.
The Barnstormers and Rockers will conclude the season series on Thursday evening. Jared Lakind (7-7), who allowed only one hit in seven innings at New Britain on Friday will start against one-time Lancaster right-hander Edwin Carl (4-4). Fans may tune into the Barnstormers YouTube Channel at 6:15.
NOTES: Sandford's stolen bases were his 191st and 192nd of his Barnstormers career, ranking his fifth in Atlantic League history...After banging out 15 hits in the road trip opener on Friday, the Barnstormers only have one more than that in their last four games...Casey Crosby pitched his second straight perfect outing since coming to the Barnstormers, striking out four of six batters he has faced.
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