(8/17/2022, Gastonia, NC) The Gastonia Honey Hunters got the offense started early on Wednesday night, holding off the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs’ late comeback.  The Honey Hunters evened the series, edging the Blue Crabs 5-3. 

Eddie Butler (L, 10-3) got the start for the Blue Crabs.  Butler surrendered five runs, but only three earned across six innings of work.  

Gastonia started the scoring in the second inning, picking up a run on a passed ball.  In the fifth inning, the Honey Hunters’ bats clicked again. Gastonia posted three runs on four hits and a walk, giving the Honey Hunters a 4-0 lead.  In the sixth inning, Gastonia took a 5-0 lead when Emmanuel Tapia drilled a home run over the wall in left-center field. 

But the Blue Crabs battled back from there.  After six scoreless innings from Gastonia’s starter, John Anderson (W, 10-4), he struggled in the seventh.  With one out, David Harris reached on a walk before Alex Crosby pulled a double into right field, putting two runners in scoring position.  From there, Zach Collier drove a base hit into right, scoring Harris and Crosby to cut the deficit to 5-2. 

In the eighth inning, the Blue Crabs rallied again. Raul Shah singled before Braxton Lee reached on a fielding error, putting runners on first and second.  David Harris then hit a ground-rule double, scoring Raul Shah and advancing Braxton Lee to third base.  But the Blue Crabs were held off the board from there.  Jesus Balaguer (Sv, 22) pitched a clean ninth inning en route to the Honey Hunters’ 5-3 victory. 

Southern Maryland falls to 70-32 with the loss and 22-14 in the second half.  They remain 2.5 games behind the Barnstormers in the second half in the North Division. The Blue Crabs will be back in action tomorrow against the Honey Hunters at 6:15 pm for game three of the series

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