Blue Crabs Comeback To Secure 6-5 Win Over Dirty Birds
Blue Crabs Comeback To Secure 6-5 Win Over Dirty Birds

CHARLESTON, WV – The Southern Maryland Blue Crabs and the Charleston Dirty Birds engaged in a heavyweight battle on Sunday evening, with the Crabs delivering the final blow, winning 6-5. Both teams exchanged haymakers throughout the contest, but a two-out rally in the eighth inning pushed Southern Maryland across the finish line, and their bullpen did the rest.

Eddie Butler, Southern Maryland’s starter, took the hill at Appalachian Power Park for the first time since 2013, when he was the Asheville Tourists’ Opening Day starter.

Nine years later, the MLB veteran allowed one run in the first inning of Sunday’s contest, as Diego Goris drove in his fifth RBI of the series.

Southern Maryland struck right back in the second inning, stringing together more offense than they’d produced in the entire series. Facing the league’s ERA leader, Kit Scheetz, the frame began with Jared Walker being plunked by a pitch.

Alex Crosby kept it going, scorching a single to right field, moving Jared Walker to third with Crosby advancing to second on the throw. Next, Braxton Lee began a four-hit game with a dart to right-center, scoring a pair of Crabs. Joe DeLuca kept the pressure on Charleston’s southpaw, lacing an RBI double to left field, giving Southern Maryland an early 3-1 lead.

As Eddie Butler cruised through the middle innings, Southern Maryland added an insurance run in the fourth. With two outs and a runner on third, Michael Baca pushed a liner into left field, giving the Crabs a 4-1 lead.

Charleston’s offense came to life in the sixth inning, as six of the first seven batters to the plate collected base knocks, bouncing Butler from the game, and scoring a quartet of Birds runs. Southern Maryland, having lost five of their last six games including three straight, had the wind taken out of their sails, suddenly trailing heading into the final third of the contest.

The Blue Crabs were silent in the seventh, and the eighth began the same way. With two outs and no runners on base, Braxton Lee, who began the road trip hitless in his first 15 at-bats, picked up his fourth hit of the game to extend the inning. Next, DeLuca drew a walk, summoning Ian Yetsko as a pinch runner.

With runners on first and second, Ryan Haug came to the dish and continued on what has been an astounding 2022 campaign. The catcher blasted a liner to right-center field, scoring two runs and giving the Crabs a 6-5 lead.

Stan Cliburn turned to his top options out of the bullpen for the eighth and ninth innings. Endrys Briceno (W, 3-0) worked around a jam for a scoreless eighth, before Mat Latos (SV, 11) set down Charleston in order, securing a victory. Sunday’s comeback keeps Southern Maryland’s opportunity for a series split alive, with McKenzie Mills taking the mound for Monday’s series finale.  

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