(Central Islip, NY, July 2, 2021)In a pivotal series opener against the Long Island Ducks, the Blue Crabs squeaked out a win on Friday evening. In a 1-0 victory dominated by defense, the Blue Crabs increased their lead in the Atlantic League North Division to 1.5 games over the second place Ducks.
To this point in the season for Southern Maryland, the magic number had been four. Entering Friday’s game, when the Blue Crabs had scored four or more runs this season they held a 16-4 record. When scoring three or less runs, the Blue Crabs were just 1-10.
All Southern Maryland’s starter, Sam Burton (W, 2-2) needed was a one run lead, and he got that in the second inning. Two days after joining the Blue Crabs via trade, Cesar Trejo walked to lead off the frame in the second, and advanced to second base on his seventh stolen base of the season. Dario Pizzano drove Trejo in with a liner to left, plating the lone run of the entire game. Burton was lights in the series opener, allowing two hits through six and one-thirds scoreless. The right-hander excelled despite facing off against former MLB All-Stars Ian Kinsler and Danny Valencia in their Ducks debuts.
Endrys Briceno (H, 2) took over for Burton in the seventh with a runner on first and one out. The right-hander immediately allowed a double putting two Ducks in scoring position. The 6-foot-5 reliever with a 1.08 ERA sat back-to-back batters down to maintain the Blue Crabs’ 1-0 advantage. After another inning of work, Briceno gave way to Mat Latos (S, 6) who shut the door in the ninth inning.
For the second night in a row, Southern Maryland put plenty of runners on base but struggled to bring runners home. The Blue Crabs’ batsmen were just one for seventeen with runners in scoring position on Saturday night. Burton, Briceno, and Latos were nearly untouchable however, combining for a three-hit shutout to give Southern Maryland a critical 1-0 win. In game two of a four-game set on Saturday night, Daryl Thompson gets the mound for the Blue Crabs.