(Waldorf, MD., Sep. 4, 2018)– The Southern Maryland Blue Crabs (19-31) fell in the series opener against the Sugar Land Skeeters (35-17) 4-3, with Sugar Land getting the win in 11 innings.
After a shutdown first inning from Craig Stem, the Skeeters mounted a threat with a one-out triple from Matt Chavez. Chavez tried to score when a ball skipped away from the catcher but was caught at home for the second out of the inning instead. The Blue Crabs put a runner in scoring position in the following inning, but Lucas Irvine stranded him there to maintain the scoreless tie.
Both pitchers stayed strong through four innings, as each side had just two hits heading to the fifth. The scoring opened in the fifth, as Derek Norris launched a solo homerun with one away in the frame. Norris’ 10th homerun of the season would give Sugar Land a 1-0 advantage moving in to the sixth inning.
Southern Maryland got their offense going in the sixth, beginning with a one-out single from Edwin Garcia. Devon Rodriguez would follow that with a single, moving Garcia around to third on the play. That setup a sacrifice fly from Jon Griffin, scoring Garcia to tie the game. A single from Frank Martinez and a wild pitch put another runner on third, but Irvine got a groundball to keep things at 1-1.
The tie wouldn’t last long, as Sugar Land would retake the lead in the top of the seventh. Barrett Barnes began the inning with a walk, the first of the night issued by Stem. A passed ball moved Barnes up to second, putting him in scoring position after a flyball put the first out on the board. Matt Chavez came up with a single, scoring Barnes from second to put Sugar Land ahead 2-1.
Another walk would end the night for Stem, who handed over runners on first and second with one out to Sam Runion. The reliever struck out both batters he faced, stranding both of his inherited runners to limit the damage in the inning to just one.
The Blue Crabs weren’t done yet though, as they battled back to even things once again in the eighth. Ryan Strausborger led off the frame with a walk, stealing second to get himself in scoring position. Two batters later Rodriguez would double for his third hit of the night, scoring Strausborger to even things once again.
Sugar Land would take the lead once again in the top of the ninth, this time on a solo homerun from Chavez. Southern Maryland kept the fight in the bottom of the ninth, as Cory Vaughn led off the inning with a solo homerun. The solo shot was the first homerun allowed by Sugar Land’s closer Felipe Paulino on the season.
Craig Maddox followed that with a single, setting up a sacrifice bunt attempt from Francisco Rosario. The bunt led to an error from Paulino, who threw the ball well over the first baseman and allowed Maddox to go all the way to third. An intentional walk was then issued to Garcia to load the bases with still nobody down in the inning. Paulino bounced back to strikeout the next two batters, then getting a flyball to keep the 3-3 score and avoid the walk-off.
After a scoreless 10th in which both teams stranded runners, the Skeeters mounted a two-out rally in the top of the 11th. Juan Silverio started it with a single, before back-to-back walks loaded the bases. Albert Cordero fell behind in the count but fought back for a single up the middle that scored Silverio to take a 4-3 lead.
Dan Runzler (S,1) came on looking to close things out for the Skeeters, their second save opportunity of the night. The southpaw struck out the side in order, picking up his first save of the season and finishing off the 4-3 win.
The Blue Crabs return to action Wednesday, September 5th for the second game in the series against the Skeeters. 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 atsomdbluecrabs.com or call us at 301-638-9788.