(Central Islip, NY, July 5, 2021) After losing back-to-back games, the Blue Crabs shut out the Long Island Ducks en route to a critical victory and series split on Monday night. Southern Maryland’s pitching staff was phenomenal, working out of jam after jam to take back first place in the Atlantic League North Division.
Runs were hard to come by in a four-game series in which every game was decided by one run. After four silent innings, a fifth-inning Michael Baca sacrifice fly was all it took to give the Blue Crabs the only run of the series finale.
Southern Maryland’s pitching staff was spectacular, headlined by Brandon Barker (W, 2-3). Barker was lights out against a Ducks lineup that featured six MLB veterans including a three-time MVP candidate, Ian Kinsler. Barker, a 6-foot-3 right-hander, allowed just two hits through six scoreless innings.
Southern Maryland’s arms forced the Ducks into four double plays, tied for the most in a single game in the Atlantic League dating back to 2017. All four were critical to Southern Maryland’s success, and the final three were game-altering. The Blue Crabs induced double-play balls with runners on first and second in the fifth and seventh innings. Then, in the eighth inning, Dalton Geekie turned two on the biggest play of the game. A single and two bunts loaded the bases for Long Island with no outs. After fielding a ground ball from Clint Freeman, Geekie fired home to start a devastating 1-2-3 double play. The fireballer followed by fanning Jesse Birardi to maintain Southern Maryland’s shutout.
Mat Latos (S, 7) closed the door in the ninth inning, securing a 1-0 victory. Incredibly, there have been eight shutouts thrown in the Atlantic League in 2021, four of which have been issued by the Blue Crabs pitching staff, with three coming against the Ducks. The Blue Crabs’ series split puts them atop the North Division heading into a six game homestand that begins on Tuesday, July 5th against the Gastonia Honey Hunters.