WALDORF, Md. – The Southern Maryland Blue Crabs were unable to capitalize on a strong performance from their pitching staff. Denson Hull (L, 1-1), allowed only one earned run across six innings, and sports a 0.47 ERA through four starts.
But the Gastonia Honey Hunters needed only two runs to pick up their league-leading 14th win of the season, by a score of 2-0.
The Gastonia Honey Hunters’ starter, Deck McGuire (W, 3-0), pitched a gem in tonight’s game. McGuire did not allow a hit until the seventh inning when David Harris picked up an infield single. McGuire ultimately pitched eight innings, allowing just two hits, walking one, and shutting out the Blue Crabs’ bats.
The Gastonia Honey Hunters struck first in the fourth inning. Jack Reinheimer led off the inning with a single up the middle. The next batter, Joseph Rosa, poked a single into right field, with Reinheimer advancing to third. With runners on the corners and no outs, Zach Jarrett bounced into a fielder’s choice, scoring Reinheimer, and giving Gastonia a 1-0 lead.
Zach Jarrett proceeded to steal second and third base on consecutive pitches. Two batters later, Rayder Ascanio chopped a ground ball to third base, but Alex Crosby had trouble handling it, allowing Reinheimer to score from third, and extending the Honey Hunters’ lead to 2-0.
Denson Hull pitched six innings in tonight’s start. Hull was charged with one earned run, the first that he has allowed all season. The Blue Crabs bullpen continued to dominate, as they did not allow a hit across three innings. Patrick Baker pitched a quick seventh inning, allowing only one batter to reach via a hit by pitch. Nick Wells pitched a 1-2-3 eighth, bookending the inning with strikeouts. In the ninth, Alex Merithew also sent the Honey Hunters down in order, striking out one batter.
The Blue Crabs threatened in the top of the seventh. Southern Maryland picked up their first two hits on successive pitches. After David Harris reached on an infield single to third base, Alex Crosby lined a hit into left field.
The rally was short-lived. Two batters later, Raul Shah grounded into a double play to end the inning, with Gastonia still leading 2-0.
In the ninth, Ronald Peña (SV, 5) entered for Gastonia. After conceding a base hit to start the inning, Peña locked in, recording a pair of strikeouts. Alex Crosby then grounded a ball that deflected off of Peña’s leg. Peña quickly got to the ball and tossed to first in time to beat Alex Crosby to end the game with a 2-0 Gastonia victory.
Blue Crabs fall to 13-3 with the loss, but still hold a 5.5-game lead in the North Division. The Blue Crabs return home tomorrow for game two of a three-game series with the Honey Hunters at 6:35 pm.