The Barnstormers are not shy about running the bases, even executing double steals with a left-handed batter at the plate.
Rico Noel and Tyler Bortnick pulled off two double swipes with Blake Gailen batting early Wednesday, leading the Lancaster Barnstormers to a 5-1 victory over the host Southern Maryland Blue Crabs in the middle game of a three-game series.
With the win, the Barnstormers improved to 3-3 on the season-opening road trip.
Noel opened the game with a bunt single up the first base line and moved to second as Bortnick was hit by a pitch for the second straight game. With Gailen up, Noel picked up his fourth steal of the year, beating the throw to third base from catcher Austin Green.
Gailen failed to pick up the run, but Noel was able to race home on a topper up the first base line by Joey Terdoslavich.
In the fifth inning, with the Barnstormers leading, 2-0, Noel ripped a double off Casey Delgado (0-1) into the left field corner. Bortnick followed with a walk, and the pair of speedsters again took off, this time getting no throw out of Green. Gailen delivered with a two-run single into left center, and Terdoslavich produced the third run of the inning with a double bounced off the left field wall.
Lancaster’s other run crossed the plate in the fourth on a single to center by Trayvon Robinson and a double to the left center gap by Kyle Waldrop.
Tommy Shirley (1-0) carried a shutout into the fifth. Lancaster barely missed on a double play chance that would have ended the inning after Johnny Bladel singled, and Andrew Daniel took advantage of the opportunity with a double into the left field corner.
Shirley worked the first five, allowing five hits while striking out seven. He did not walk anyone but hit Teodoro Martinez with a pitch in the second.
Southern Maryland had a chance to pull close in the seventh as Barnstormers reliever SJ Johnson walked two around a single to center by Bladel. Johnson escaped as Ryan Strausborger rapped a line drive into Noel’s glove at second for the final out.
Joe Gardner (0-1) makes the start on Thursday night in the road trip finale against Daryl Thompson (1-0). Fans may tune into the webcast on YouTube at 6:15.