Early Long Island Runs Prove Enough
Long Island struck for four early runs on Thursday night and held on for a 6-3 victory over the Lancaster Barnstormers in the rubber game of a three-game series at Fairfield Properties Ballpark.
Lancaster was able to maintain a four-game lead in the North Division as Southern Maryland fell to Charleston, 9-4.
Oscar De La Cruz (8-3) walked the first two batters of the night, and a passed ball sent Phil Caulfield to third. Alejandro de Aza hit a pop foul down the left field line which was handled on a running catch by Andretty Cordero. Caulfield tagged off third and scored. De La Cruz hit Deibinson Romero and Jose Sermo with consecutive pitches to load the bases before getting out of the inning.
The Ducks went back to work in the second as Dustin Woodcock singled up the middle, Vladimir Frias walked, and both moved ahead on a passed ball. Phil Caulfield stroked a ground ball to second baseman Trace Loehr who fired home for an out on Woodcock. L.J. Mazzilli bounced into a force out as Frias scored. Alejandro de Aza reached on an infield single to the hole at shortstop before Romero launched a double off the base of the wall in right for the 4-0 lead.
De La Cruz settled down and retired 13 of the final 15 batters he faced to keep Lancaster in the contest.
Joe Iorio (10-4) retired 12 of 14 batters through the first five innings, but the Barnstormers were able to strike in the sixth. Trace Loehr banged a double into the alley in right center with one out and went to third on a fly out by Melvin Mercedes. Trayvon Robinson grounded a single into right to get Lancaster on the board. Andretty Cordero followed with a single to center before Anderson Feliz flied out to end the inning.
Iorio never got an out in the seventh. He hit Jacob Barfield with a pitch, and Chris Proctor hooked a line drive single into right. Vladimir Pinto took over and surrendered an RBI double by Anthony Peroni over Woodcock’s head in right. With the tying runs in scoring position, Joseph Carpenter made it 4-3 with a deep fly ball to Woodcock in right center, scoring Proctor, but Peroni stayed at second. Loehr flied out to shallow left for the second out. Mercedes singled into center, but De Aza cut down Peroni at the plate for the final out. Jose Jose and Tyler Webb retired the final six.
The Ducks strung together four singles and a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh to extend the lead.
Lancaster will send Erik Manoah (3-2) to the mound against lefty Mitch Lambson (7-8) as the Barnstormers open a critical three-game series at Southern Maryland on Friday night. Fans may tune into the Barnstormers YouTube channel, beginning at 6:25.
NOTES: Cordero picked up his 163rd hit, moving him to within 11 of the franchise record…Robinson had two singles on his 35th birthday…All three of De La Cruz’ losses have come against Long Island…Lancaster’s wild card lead was cut to one-half game over High Point, two over Wild Health and five over Long Island with 16 to play.