WALDORF, Md. — The Southern Maryland Blue Crabs and High Point Rockers traded the lead three different times. But the Blue Crabs edged the Rockers 5-4 behind a seventh-inning home run to clinch the series.
In the bottom of the second inning, High Point started the scoring. After a leadoff double, Alex Merithew picked up a flyout and a strikeout.
But with two outs, Giovanny Alfonzo hit a ground ball that took an awkward deflection off of second base toward center field, scoring Russell and giving the Rockers a 1-0 lead.
In the top of the third inning, the Blue Crabs responded off of Liam O’Sullivan. Joe DeLuca led off the frame by destroying a solo home run over the wall in right field, tying the score at 1-1.
The Blue Crabs kept the bats going in the fourth inning. Michael Wielansky led off the inning with a single, before Zach Collier roped one into the right-center field alley. Wielansky scored from first base while Collier reached third on the throw home. The next batter, David Harris, hit a slow ground ball to third, allowing Collier to score, giving the Blue Crabs a 3-1 lead.
Across the first five innings, Merithew was dominant, allowing only one run on four hits. In the sixth inning, he ran into control issues. After walking two batters, Merithew surrendered a one-out double down the left field line, scoring one, and putting two runners in scoring position.
The Rockers scored the tying run on a fielder’s choice. With runners still on the corners, Jay Gonzalez knocked a base hit into left field, giving the Rockers a 4-3 lead.
In the top of the seventh, Chasen Bradford (L, 2-3) entered the game for High Point and struggled. Jared Walker lifted a ball to deep left field, but Zander Wiel reached over the wall and robbed a home run. The Blue Crabs bats kept hitting though.
The next batter, Joe DeLuca crushed a double down the right-field line before Ryan Haug belted a two-run home run over the wall in left field, giving the Blue Crabs a 5-4 lead.
From there the bullpen took control. Patrick Baker (W, 3-1) recorded the final out in the sixth and pitched a scoreless seventh. In the eighth, Bradley Roney threw a 1-2-3 inning. Endrys Briceno (SV, 6) entered for the ninth inning. He struck out the first batter before allowing an infield single and a walk. Briceno came back with back-to-back strikeouts, securing the 5-4 victory.
The Southern Maryland Blue Crabs improve to 7-4 in the second half and 55-22 overall with the victory.
The Blue Crabs will go for the sweep over the High Point Rockers at 4:05 pm.