Magic Number Drops to Seven
The Lancaster Barnstormers took advantage of a controversial call down the third base line in the top of the eighth to produce the tying and, ultimately, winning runs in a 7-5 victory over the High Point Rockers Tuesday evening at Truist Point.
With the win, the Barnstormers dropped their magic number for winning the North Division in the second half to seven over Southern Maryland, which was rained out at Staten Island. Lancaster now leads the division by 5 ½ games.
With Lancaster trailing, 5-4, entering the eighth, Andretty Cordero chopped a double over the third base bag and into the left field corner, then took third on a single to right by Anthony Peroni. Ariel Sandoval pulled a grounder down the line at third, ruled fair by home plate umpire Marcus Neal. Cordero jogged home with the tying run, but Peroni was thrown out at the plate, 7-5-2, on the relay from left as Sandoval pulled in at third on the throw home, following his double. The ruling prompted the ire of Rockers manager Jamie Keefe. Once the dust settled, Tyler Higgins (2-1) struck out Anderson Feliz, but Jacob Barfield yanked an 0-2 pitch into left field to score Sandoval. Chris Proctor, in his return to High Point, mashed a double to deep left center, driving home Barfield for the 7-5 lead.
Josh Graham pitched a perfect eighth for the Barnstormers. West Tunnell, aided by a 4-6-3 double play, survived two walks in the ninth for his 11th save.
Cordero, who went 4-for-5, tripled home a run in the first, and a sac fly by Proctor in the second staked the Barnstormers to a 2-0 lead. A Logan Morrison double and Michael Martinez triple in the bottom of the second got High Point on the board, cutting the lead to 2-1.
A single by Cordero in the third scored Melvin Mercedes as Lancaster retook a two-run lead. Again, the Rockers fought back as Brooks Hall walked Logan Moore and Michael Russell in succession to start the home half of the inning. One out later, Jerry Downs roped a double to right center scoring both.
Sandoval opened the fourth with a homer to left, then the Lancaster bats fell silent until the eighth.
Morrison scored the tying run in the bottom of the sixth on a wild pitch by Bret Clarke. In the seventh, Clarke walked Ben Aklinski with one out. Downs reached on a single toward third base, and Quincy Latimore tied the game with a single to center. Clarke Was replaced by Cam Booser (1-0), who got a line drive double play out of Morrison on his second pitch.
The Barnstormers will send Oscar De La Cruz (8-3) to the mound on Wednesday against right-hander Mickey Jannis (2-1). Fans may tune into the Barnstormers YouTube channel, starting at 6:30.
NOTES: Cordero had his fifth four-hit game of the season…He missed hitting for the cycle by a few feet as he hit the wall in left with two outs in the ninth…He has 169 hits on the year, tied for the fourth best season in Lancaster history…He is within five of the club record and within 20 of the league mark…He drove home his 107th and 108th runs, giving him the fifth highest single season total in Atlantic League history…Lancaster is now 7-3 on its 15-game road trip…The ‘Stormers rapped out 14 hits, the second highest mark on the trip…Sandoval’s homer was the club’s first in 76 innings.