Waldorf, MD – On Thursday, May 3 the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs (1-5) fell in the series finale against the Lancaster Barnstormers (4-3) 10-8, behind a seven-run seventh inning.
The Blue Crabs jumped on Joe Gardner early, putting up a pair of runs in the first inning. Back-to-back singles started the offense, before a fielder’s choice put runners on the corners. After Gardner picked up a strikeout, a wild pitch allowed Johnny Bladel to open the scoring from third. Ryan Strausborger followed with a single, scoring Devon Rodriguez from second.
Three more were added in the third inning, extending the lead for Southern Maryland. Joey Wong singled, advancing to second on a Rodriguez ground ball. A walk from Frank Martinez put two on for Strausborger, who picked up another RBI single. A fielder’s choice from Cory Vaughn allowed Martinez to score, giving the Blue Crabs an early 5-0 lead.
Daryl Thompson dominated early on the mound, allowing just two hits through his first five innings of work. The offense gave him another run of support in the bottom of the fifth, when an error at first allowed Strausborger to score. The Barnstormers responded in the top of the sixth, with an RBI triple from Trayvon Robinson plating their first run of the game.
Controversy struck in the bottom of the sixth, as the Blue Crabs had a run taken off the board in the inning. A walk began the frame, with a fielder’s choice from Strausborger putting him on with two outs for Vaughn. Vaughn hit a flyball to right-center field, where Darian Sandford laid out in an effort to make the catch and end the inning. The ball was originally ruled a hit by the first-base umpire, scoring Strausborger from first. After an argument from Sandford and Lancaster Manager Ross Peeples, the call was overturned to an out, ending the inning and taking Strausborger’s run off the board.
The seventh inning is where everything turned around for the Barnstormer offense. Three straight singles started the inning, allowing Vladimir Frias to score. Tyler Bortnick followed with a three-run homerun, making it a one-run game. Walks to Blake Gailen and Robinson put the go-ahead run on base, when Kyle Waldrop added a three-run shot of his own, erasing the deficit and giving Lancaster an 8-6 lead.
The Blue Crabs fought back in the bottom half, as a sacrifice fly scored Xavier Paul to make it a one-run game. Lancaster’s offense wasn’t done yet though, as they added two insurances runs in the top of the ninth. A walk and a double put two men in scoring position, setting up Gailen to score on a wild pitch. Joey Terdoslavich added a sacrifice fly, scoring Robinson for the 10th run in the game.
After two quick outs from Matt Reynolds (S,1), the Blue Crabs began to fight back again in the bottom of the ninth. Back-to-back singles extended the inning, before Wong singled in Andrew Daniel. With runners on the corners, Rodriguez served as the go-ahead run coming to plate, eventually losing the battle with Reynolds and flying out to end the series. The 10-8 victory for the Barnstormers finished off the sweep, and moved into a tie for second in the Freedom Division standings.
The Blue Crabs return to action Friday, May 4th for the series opener of a three-game series against the Long Island Ducks. Southern Maryland will send RHP Sean O’Sullivan (0-1, 15.00) to the mound, hoping to bounce back from a tough debut. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 P.M. on Friday at Bethpage Ballpark.