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BARNSTORMERS OUTLAST BLUE CRABS IN PITCHING GEM

After only getting a 13-hour break from the previous night, both the Lancaster Barnstormers and the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs hitters ran into dominant pitching early Thursday.

In fact, it took 12 innings before either team was able to push a run across the plate. The Barnstormers were the team that was able to do that. In the bottom of the 12th inning Kevin Ahrens’s walk-off single scored Josh Whitaker and gave the Barnstormers a victory that prevented the Blue Crabs from sweeping the three-game series. The victory snapped a three game losing streak for Lancaster.

The two teams combined for only 11 hits, subjected to the superb moundwork.  Both starting pitchers went the first nine innings – Bryan Woodall for the Barnstormers and Gaby Hernandez for the Blue Crabs. Hernandez allowed four hits and two walks, one of which was intentional and led in strikeouts with nine. Woodall struck out four, but only walked one batter, also intentionally, and allowed just two hits.

Woodall continues his early-season dominance, highlighted by his 0.62 ERA. In 29 innings he has allowed just two earned runs on 14 hits and seven walks with 17 strikeouts.

Southern Maryland threatened in the 10th, but Matt Reynolds shut the door striking out two.  Two innings later, the Blue Crabs were in business again.  Scott Gracey (1-0) walked D’Arby Myers on four pitches to open the inning.  Chase Patterson cut him down on a steal attempt, a critical play as Zach Wilson thundered a double to deep left.  Fred Lewis was walked intentionally for the second time in the game, matching Gracey against the less-experienced Jon Dziomba, who grounded into a 3-6 force play.  Bryant Nelson struck out to end the inning.

Whitaker opened the home 12th with a perfectly placed bunt single up the third base line off Scott Maine (0-1) and went to second as Mike McDade was hit by a pitch.  Ahrens rolled an 0-2 offering from Brian Grening through the left side hole.  Whitaker raced home ahead of Myers’ hurried throw, and the Barnstormers celebrated their second walkoff win of the homestand.

Although it was a quiet game offensively, it did not keep the kids in the stands quiet. Over 3,000 kids from schools around the Lancaster area were in attendance as part of “Baseball in Education Day,” and they were a raucous bunch for the entire game.

With the series complete, the Barnstormers will head to Somerset for a three game weekend series with the Patriots beginning tomorrow night. Austin Bibens-Dirkx (1-2)  will square off against left-hander Efrain Nieves in the series opener.  Fans may tune into the Barnstormers YouTube Channel, beginning at 6:45.

The Barnstormers will return to Clipper Magazine Stadium on Mon. May 16 for their four game series against the York Revolution;  in the first series of the 2016 PNC “War of the Roses.” First pitch on Monday night is at 7:00 p.m.

NOTES:  The last extra inning, 1-0 win for the Barnstormers came on June 5, 2015 when Lancaster defeated Somerset, 1-0, in 10 innings at TD Bank Park…Woodall has thrown 13 quality starts in his last 14 Atlantic League appearances…Caleb Gindl extended his hitting streak to seven with a double in the first inning…Ahrens has hit safely in 13 of the last 15 games.

Game Recap written by Jake McDonnell