WALDORF, Md. – The Southern Maryland Blue Crabs (3-4) lost the series opener against the Somerset Patriots (7-0) 7-1, behind a five-run fifth inning.

A scoreless first inning started the night, before the Patriots opened up the scoring with one in the second. Matt Oberste got the inning started with a triple off the wall in center field, the first hit of the night for Somerset. Endy Chavez immediately followed that with a double, bring home Oberste for the first run on the night. Paul Clemens (1-5) allowed a walk two batters later, before recovering to limit the damage to just one in the inning.

Somerset added another to their total in the fourth, beginning with a leadoff single from Justin Trapp. Trapp stole second during the next at-bat, before a flyball to right field moved him over to third. After a strikeout brought Clemens close to escaping the inning, but the top of the order was coming up. Craig Massey came through with a two-out single, bringing home the second run of the game.

The Patriots broke things open with five runs in the top of the fifth. Clemens started things off with two quick outs, before a walk to Oberste extended the inning. A single from Chavez put two on with two out, before a from Trapp brought home Oberste. Another walk was issued to load the bases, with a double from Yovan Gonzalez bringing home two Chavez and Trapp.

That ended the night for Clemens, who went 4.2 innings and exited with two runners still on base. A single from Massey brought both runners home, pushing the lead out to 7-0 before the Blue Crabs were finally able to get out of the inning.

Duane Below (6-2) was strong to start the night on the mound for Somerset, allowing just three hits through five innings. Southern Maryland finally got to the southpaw in the sixth, getting on the board in the inning. Ryan Strausborger led off with a single, before two quick flyouts brought the inning close to a finish. Back-to-back singles from Jon Griffin and Frank Martinez kept the inning alive to load the bases. A wild pitch allowed Strausborger to score from third, before Below was able to get out of the inning still ahead 7-1.

Both bullpens took over the game from there, as each side was strong on the night. The traded two straight scoreless innings to send the game to the ninth, where the Patriots would send Vince Mollesky to the mound looking to finish it off. Mollesky worked a 1-2-3 inning to secure the 7-1 victory for the Patriots, keeping their second half record spotless.

The Blue Crabs return to action Wednesday, July 18th for the second game in a three-game series against the Patriots. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 P.M. on Wednesday at Regency Furniture Stadium.

For more information on the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, or to reserve your seat today for any of the Blue Crabs upcoming home games, please visit our website at somdbluecrabs.com or call us at 301-638-9788.