Lancaster Defeats Somerset, 4-2
Josh Bell hit a grand slam. Somerset tried to rally in the ninth.
Otherwise, two offenses spent the night in total frustration, leaving a combined 23 runners on base as the Lancaster Barnstormers defeated the host Patriots, 4-2, in the opener of a three-game series at TD Bank Park.
With two outs and Yusuke Kajimoto aboard on a walk, the Barnstormers began to build their third inning. Trayvon Robinson lined a single into center. K.C. Hobson picked up a walk to load the bases. Bell fell behind in the count, worked it to 2-2 then walloped the next pitch from Nik Turley (3-1) over all three tiers of signs in left for his 15th home run of the season, staking the Barnstormers to a 4-0 lead.
Otherwise, the Barnstormers managed only four hits, including leadoff doubles by Kevin Ahrens in the fourth and Hobson in the fifth that went for naught. The Barnstormers were 0-for-11 with runners in scoring position following the Bell slam.
Somerset underwent a similar evening. Joe Gardner, making his 2016 debut, allowed five hits and two walks over the first four innings but stubbornly would not allow the Patriots onto the scoreboard.
Ryan Dennick worked a perfect fifth but fell on harder times in the sixth. He left with runners at first and second and one out. Hitoshi Fujie (1-0) entered and got a double play out of Brian Van Kirk to end the threat and was later awarded the win for his efforts.
Evan Meek found two out trouble in the seventh but got Bryan LaHair to fly out harmlessly to center as the Patriots left their ninth and tenth runners on base. Pete Andrelczyk issued a two-out walk in the eighth and nothing more.
The ninth was far more problematic for Cory Burns. Scott Kelly greeted the Lancaster closer with a ground single up the middle. Vinny Zarrillo chipped a ball down the left field line that Robinson could not quite grab. Aharon Eggleston singled home one with a soft liner into right center. David Vidal followed with a ground single into left, scoring Zarrillo. Suddenly, the Patriots had the tying run at first with nobody out.
LaHair contributed the first out on a swinging bunt that moved the tying runs into scoring position. Lancaster took a gamble by walking first baseman Kyle Roller, a lefty, intentionally to load the bases. The ploy worked. Burns struck out Yovan Gonzalez and retired Carlos Guzman on a grounder to first to end the threat. Somerset finished the night with 14 runners stranded.
Lancaster will send right-hander Joey Maher (0-1) to the hill on Wednesday against right-hander Donovan Hand (4-5). Fans may tune into the Barnstormers YouTube Channel, starting at 6:45.
NOTES: Caleb Gindl singled to lead off the game, stretching his hitting streak to 17…It marks the fifth straight road game that Gindl has led off with a base hit…Bell is second in the league with 75 runs batted in, trailing only York’s Joel Guzman…The slam was Lancaster’s fourth of the season and first since Lance Zawadzki hit them on consecutive nights in late June.