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The Southern Maryland Blue Crabs proved once again why they are the frontrunners in the Atlantic League North.

Southern Maryland struck for five runs in the top of the fourth inning on Friday evening and was never headed in a 9-5 victory over the Lancaster Barnstormers at Clipper Magazine Stadium.  The win kept the Blue Crabs 9 ½ games up on the second place Long Island Ducks in the divisional race.

Augie Sylk (2-4), pitching on only three days rest due to an injury to scheduled starter Nile Ball, tossed shutout baseball for the first three innings but ran into trouble with one out in the fourth.  Jared Walked smashed a liner off Sylk’s glove that deflected past shortstop Jake Hoover.  Alex Crosby singled into right and Joe DeLuca walked to load the bases.  Sylk hit Braxton Lee with a pitch to force home a run, then Ryan Haug pulled a two-run double inside third base.  Michael Baca was retired on a grounder to third, but Jack Sundberg finished the uprising with a two-run ground single into right.

Lancaster nearly came all the way back in the bottom of the inning off Eddie Butler (3-1).  Colton Shaver opened the inning with a double into the left field corner and scored on a single to right center by Trayvon Robinson, who re-signed with Lancaster earlier in the day.  Trace Loehr walked.  Ed Reichenbach dropped a single into center to load the bases, and two runs scored on Anthony Peroni’s single into the right center alley.  Jake Hoover flied to right, resulting in a double play as Reichenbach attempted to tag and score.  LeDarious Clark doubled to right, but the runners were left in scoring position when Cordero chopped to second.

Southern Maryland extended the lead with single runs in the next three innings, including a leadoff homer to right by Jared Walker in the seventh.

Again, Lancaster fought back.  Cordero doubled to deep left, opening the Lancaster seventh.  Kelly Dugan followed with a blast to right, his 12th of the season.  With walked to Shaver and Robinson, the Barnstormers brought the tying run to the plate, but reliever Nick Wells retired three straight to quell the threat.

Southern Maryland tallied one more in the eighth to put the game on ice.

The two clubs meet again on Saturday at 6:30.  Lancaster will send right-hander Cameron Gann (3-2) to the mound against lefty Mackenzie Mills (4-2).  Fireworks will follow the game.  Fans may tune into the Barnstormers YouTube Channel, beginning at 6:25.

NOTES:  Dugan was named co-Player of the Month for May…He is 6-for-12 with a homer, double and six RBI to open June…Robinson was 2-for-4 in his first game of his fifth season in Lancaster…OF B.J. Boyd’s contract was purchased by the LA Angels earlier in the day…Lancaster is 0-4 against Southern Maryland this season, despite outhitting the Blue Crabs in every game (error in the box score that should be corrected).