Lancaster’s pitching staff is very good at striking out opposing hitters.
They took it to the extreme on Friday night, fanning 16 Long Island Ducks batters in a 7-3 series opening win at Clipper Magazine Stadium that kept the Barnstormers within 1 ½ games of division leading Southern Maryland in the Freedom Division. The Blue Crabs picked up a rain-shortened, 3-2 win over New Britain.
Starter Bryan Evans set the tone for the night, striking out the first two batters he faced. Evans (4-2) would end up fanning nine in five innings. His successor, John Anderson struck out two more in the sixth. Kaohi Downing notched one in the seventh. Cody Hall and Anthony Carter each whiffed two.
Only Daniel Moskos (1/3 of an inning) and Kevin Munson, who did not retire a batter, did not record any strikeouts among the seven pitchers used by manager Ross Peeples in the game.
The Barnstormers were retired in 1-2-3 fashion in each of the first three innings by veteran big league right-hander Alfredo Simon (0-1) who was making his Atlantic League debut.
Finally, Lancaster’s offense broke free. Rico Noel took Simon into center for a leadoff single in the fourth. Noel stole and third, scoring eventually on Blake Gailen’s double to the corner in right. Gailen got to third on a wild pitch and scored on a sacrifice fly by Sean Halton. Garrett Weber pummeled a two-run homer to right center for a 4-0 lead.
The Ducks would not go away. Delta Cleary, Jr. singled, and Dan Lyons walked to open the fifth. Evans struck out Anthony Vega, but Elmer Reyes dumped a single into shallow right center to produce Long Island’s first run.
Evans escaped the inning from there. Moskos got Ruben Gotay to ground out to third with the bases loaded in the seventh to hold the 4-1 lead, and the Barnstormers stretched the lead to four on Noel’s RBI double to the left field corner in the bottom of the inning.
Hall yielded a Marc Krauss homer leading off the eighth before retiring the side in order, and it looked like the ‘Stormers put the game away with a pair of runs in the bottom of the inning.
Fans were forced to stress the top of the ninth. Munson issued a pair of walks around two singles looped into right field, bringing the tying run to the plate. Carter rescued the game with his two strikeouts, surviving a line drive to right by Krauss for the second out of the inning. It was the 12th save of the year for the Lancaster closer.
NOTES: The 16 strikeouts ended up one shy of the season high for the Lancaster staff…Noel stole three bases in a game for the second time with Lancaster…He has 15 swipes in 19 games overall…Evans won his third straight start…Long Island left 13 runners on base, including the bases loaded twice…Lancaster hit into two double plays with the bases loaded.