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Losing Streak Ends at Six in 8-0 Shutout Victory

Josh Bell and Kelvin De La Cruz both had special days.

Bell went 3-for-5 with six RBI and started a triple play while De La Cruz fired seven shutout innings, striking out 10, as the Lancaster Barnstormers snapped a six-game losing streak with an 8-0 victory over the Sugar Land Skeeters early Wednesday at Clipper Magazine Stadium.

De La Cruz (4-2, 7-8) was stellar. The left-hander did not allow a runner beyond first base for the first five innings and did not allow two Skeeters on base simultaneously until the seventh. When threatened with runners at the corners in the seventh, he retired Travis Scott on a pop up to short and fanned Jeff Doninguez with his final pitch of the afternoon. De La Cruz scattered five singles and did not walk a batter. He hit one and was also charged with a wild pitch and a balk in his seven-inning stint.

Bell had nothing to do with Lancaster’s first run. Sean Halton opened the home second with a double rifled into the gap in left center. Mike McDade’s ground ball to second advanced Halton to third, and Blake Gailen picked up the RBI with a sacrifice fly to left.

Singles by Caleb Gindl and Yusuke Kajimoto got the Barnstormers underway in the third inning. K.C. Hobson picked up a walk to load the bases. Bell delivered a two-run single to left center for a 3-0 lead.

Gailen and Kajimoto teamed up against Brett Marshall (1-4) with doubles to right center in the fourth for a 4-0 lead.

The rest of the day belonged to Bell. Lancaster’s third baseman belted a two-run homer into the screen in deep right center in the seventh. In the eighth, he found right center again for a two-run double, completing the six-RBI game, the biggest game by a Barnstormer this season.

Even with six RBI, Bell’s highlight of the day may have come on defense. With runners at first and second and nobody out for R.J. Hively in the eighth, Bell speared a one-hop grounder near the third base bag. He made a short step to the base and fired to second. Kajimoto relayed the throw onto first, and the Barnstormers turned a rare ground ball triple play to escape the jam.

Lancaster opens a four-game series against the York Revolution at People’s Bank Park on Thursday at 6:30. The Barnstormers will send Bryan Evans (3-6) to the hill against Ty’Relle Harris (2-4). Fans may tune into the Barnstormers YouTube Channel, beginning at 6:15.

NOTES: Gindl has batted safely in eight straight games…Mike McDade has a seven-game streak…Halton’s double was his 11th extra base hit in 10 games against Sugar Land…It was also the 37th extra base hit overall in 67 games for the Atlantic League slugging percentage leader…De La Cruz tied Terry Doyle for the most strikeouts by a Barnstormers pitcher this season…The last Barnstormer to drive in six runs in a game was Brian Cavazos-Galvez, who knocked in six at Bridgeport, August 18, 2015…Kajimoto and Hobson also picked up three hits apiece for Lancaster…For the 18th straight game, the Barnstormers failed to score in the first inning.