CHARLESTON, W.Va. — The Charleston Dirty Birds got an early lead and never looked back on Saturday night, defeating the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs 5-2. Despite the loss, the Crabs are still eight games up on the second place Lancaster Barnstormers in the Atlantic League North Division.
Mitch Lambson (L, 2-1) got the start the for the Blue Crabs, his seventh of the year.
The 2019 American Association Pitcher of the Year allowed a leadoff double to Connor Justus in the first inning, but quickly resettled, picking up back-to-back outs.
With two away, Diego Goris continued a scorching stretch, singling a run home, his fourth RBI and fifth hit of the series.
In the third inning, the Dirty Birds extended their lead. With zero outs and the bases loaded, Lambson worked to control the damage once more. Nick Longhi drove in a run on a single, and David Harris canned Juan Perez who was trying to score from second.
Engel Beltre followed with a sacrifice fly, handing Charleston a 3-0 lead. After the third, Lambson found a rhythm, blanking the Birds in each of the next four innings. The southpaw collected a quality start, allowing three runs in seven innings.
Charleston’s starting pitcher, Stephen Chamblee (W, 1-1) brought his best on Saturday, allowing just four Blue Crabs hits in six innings pitched. The right-hander fanned five batters, and needed just 79 pitches to earn the win.
The Crabs landed in the scoring column for the first time in the series in the top of the eighth inning when Zach Collier ripped a single to right field, trimming the deficit with the Birds still leading 3-1.
Charleston responded immediately though in the bottom of the eighth as Longhi broke through again, blasting a two-run homer off of Dalton Geekie.
Chasing four runs in the top of the ninth, Ryan Haug gave the Charleston faithful a scare, hitting a solo home run to lead off the inning, his first of the year. Despite the shot, the Crabs couldn’t string together more offense in the frame, ultimately dropping the contest by a final score of 5-2.
Southern Maryland will look to recover in the third of a four-game set on Sunday, with Eddie Butler on the mound and a 5:05 first pitch.