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Lancaster Gets to Game Five Despite Ninth Inning Scare

The Lancaster Barnstormers drilled 13 hits on Saturday evening, but it was the nine walks issued by the Gastonia Honey Hunters that provided the difference in a 9-8 Lancaster win in Game Four of the Championship Series.

Lancaster and Gastonia will go to the deciding game on Sunday afternoon.

The Barnstormers took three different leads on Saturday evening, two provided by Andretty Cordero.  The Lancaster first baseman singled home Melvin Mercedes from third in the first inning for a 1-0 lead which was stretched to 2-0 on a Jack Conley sac fly in the second.  Gastonia battled back to a 2-2 tie with single runs in the second and third before Lancaster went ahead on Conley’s RBI single off the left field screen and an infield out by Trace Loehr in the fourth.

Again, Gastonia fought back to tie the game in the bottom of the fourth inning.

Lancaster finally took the lead for good in the top of the fifth.  Yeison Coca led off against Gunnar Kines (1-1) with a walk.  With Coca in motion, Cordero belted a line drive past left fielder Braxton Davidson and to the wall, scoring Coca from first on the single.

It was walks in the seventh that provided the much needed cushion.  Reliever Parker Bugg issued four of the nine drawn by the Barnstormers in the game with Loehr driving home a run on the fourth.  A wild pitch by Dylan Smith provided Lancaster with the second run of the inning and a 7-4 lead.  Melvin Mercedes knocked home another with a sacrifice fly, and Trace Loehr made it 9-4 with a single to right center.

Garrett Granitz (2-0), Mike Adams and Ofreidy Gomez pitched five scoreless innings in relief of Jared Lakind, but Nick Duron ran into huge trouble in the ninth.

The Lancaster closer walked the first two batters of the inning before recording two outs.  Duron fell behind Eric De La Rosa, 2-0, before surrendering a long double to center.  David Washington went to the opposite field for his first homer of the series, slashing the lead to 9-8.  Pinch hitter Alexis Olmeda lined to Coca at short for the final out, keeping Lancaster’s hopes of back-to-back titles alive.

Brent Teller (11-6, 0-0) will start for the Barnstormers on Sunday afternoon against Zach Mort (13-3, 1-0).  Fans may tune into FloBaseball, beginning at 3:30.

NOTES:  Lancaster tied a franchise regular season record with seven stolen bases…Chris Proctor had three…Proctor and Cordero share the Lancaster lead with six hits in the series…The 13 hits was the most by the Barnstormers in a game this post-season…Lancaster is 2-3 in Game Five’s in franchise history.