Lewis, Garner Lead Lancaster into First Place
Rommie Lewis and Cole Garner took the Lancaster Barnstormers on their shoulders Friday evening.
Lewis fired seven needed strong innings, and Garner went 3-for-4 with three extra base hits as the Barnstormers opened their final home weekend series with a 7-2 win over the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs.
The win jumped Lancaster back into first place in the Freedom Division, one-half game over York, which lost at Somerset. Sugar Land split a doubleheader with New Britain and stands three behind Lancaster.
Lewis (9-11) was reached for a leadoff double by Edwin Garcia and subsequent single up the middle by Nate Samson, but the lefty was able to escape that inning and a three-hit Blue Crabs second, allowing only one run. In one stretch, he retired 12 consecutive a batters, a streak busted by Michael Snyder’s 24th homer of the year, a blast onto the hillside in left.
Lancaster countered the Blue Crabs’ run in the first with one of their own, even after an aborted start. Darian Sandford led off the game for Lancaster with a bunt single but was thrown out stealing. Beau Amaral followed with a walk and stayed at first through a line out by Caleb Gindl. Eric Fornataro balked Amaral to second, and Garner followed with a double to the gap in right center to knock home the run.
Walks to Nate Coronado, Josh Bell and Sandford around a Lance Zawadzki double pushed home the tie breaking run in the second, and the Barnstormers scored a third run when Garner came home on a passed ball in the fifth inning.
Lancaster finally pulled away in the bottom of the sixth. Bell yanked a one-out single to right and moved to third when Amaral cracked a double inside the first base bag. Caleb Gindl took Craig Stem’s next pitch through the right side for a two-run single, and Garner followed with a homer to right for the 7-2 lead.
The Blue Crabs threatened in the eighth, loading the bases off Daniel Moskos, but the lefty worked out of the jam. Scott Shuman pitched a perfect ninth to nail the game down.
Joe Gardner (2-3) is slated to pitch for the Barnstormers on Saturday evening against former Lancaster right-hander Brian Grening (8-7). Fireworks will follow the game. Fans may tune into the Barnstormers YouTube Channel, starting at 6:15.
NOTES: Before striking out his last two trips to the plate, Sandford had reached on 13 of 16 plate appearances…His bunt single in the first stretched his hitting streak to 11 games…Garner has 12 doubles and 14 total extra base hits in his last 13 games…He has driven in 16 runs…Lewis threw his 10th quality start and third straight at home…Gindl reached 50 RBI with his single in the sixth.