Club Dumps Southern Maryland, 5-2
You would be hard pressed to find a flaw in the Lancaster Barnstormers Thursday night.
The club banged out 13 hits, including four for extra bases, stole two bags, played clean defense and limited the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs to five baserunners.
Altogether, the performance spelled out a 5-2 victory in the season opener at Regency Furniture Stadium.
Lancaster struck for a pair of second inning runs off Daryl Thompson (0-1). Mike McDade led off with a walk and scored when Mike Jacobs crushed a double deep into the right center field alley. Kevin Ahrens plugged the gap with a double to left center, scoring Jacobs as the ‘Stormers went up by a pair.
Ahrens was also responsible for the next run, hammering a one-out solo homer to left center in the fourth. Then, the Barnstormers brought in another element to produce the fourth run. Michael Crouse reached on a two-out infield single, stole second and scored when Jeff Kobernus dropped a soft liner into left center.
Crouse and Kobernus set the stage for Lancaster’s final run as well, stroking consecutive one-out singles in the sixth. Kobernus stole second, and Travis Witherspoon walked to load the bases. Caleb Gindl knocked the run home with a force play grounder to third.
Bryan Evans went five scoreless innings on two hits and four strikeouts to earn the win. Lancaster pitching retired 23 of the first 25 Blue Crabs before Angel Flores banged a two-out solo homer off lefty Matt Reynolds in the eighth.
There was a scare in the ninth. Gary Brown singled to right, and Steve Lombardozzi, Jr. snuck a single inside the third base bag to start the inning off Mark Lamm. Right-handed slugger Zach Wilson looped a fly ball down the right field line, but Gindl made a sliding catch to give Lamm the first out. Fred Lewis plated one with a force out before Lamm retired Michael Snyder to end the night.
Austin Bibens-Dirkx will make the start for Lancaster on Friday night against lefty Brian Burres. Gametime is 7:05. Fans may tune in on the Barnstormers YouTube channel, available through the team website at www.lancasterbarnstormers.com.
NOTES: The Barnstormers are now 8-4 in season openers and 3-3 under Butch Hobson…Evans became the second starter to open the season on the hill for Lancaster in back-to-back years…He was the only player who started in the opener in 2015 to be on the field for the Barnstormers in the 2016 curtain raiser…The right-hander dropped a 4-1 decision at Sugar Land in last season’s first game…The five runs was the most for Lancaster in the season opener since 2013 when the club beat Camden, 6-3.