Alberto Callaspo was guilty of an eighth inning error that allowed the Lancaster Barnstormers to tie the game. Then he turned into the hero, slugging a one-out solo homer in the top of the ninth, leading the visiting Bridgeport Bluefish to a 7-6 victory Monday evening at Clipper Magazine Stadium.
Lancaster trailed, 6-0, coming out of the top of the second, but five shutout innings from the bullpen gave the host ‘Stormers the opportunity to come back.
Vladimir Frias got his club halfway back with a three-run homer off the foul pole with two outs in the bottom of the sixth. In the eighth, Lancaster built a threat off right-hander Zac Grotz. Sean Halton led off with a “Baltimore chop” base hit on which Grotz’ back foot slipped on a wet infield as he went to make the throw. Lastings Milledge followed with a ground ball toward the middle. Callaspo fielded the play cleanly, but his feed to shortstop Luis Hernandez missed its mark, bringing the tying run to the plate. Garrett Weber walked, and Kevin Ahrens singled to the hole at shortstop to cut the Bluefish lead to 6-4.
Left-hander Drake Britton (1-0) entered the game to turn the switch hitting Frias around to the right side and struck him out. Anderson De La Rosa flied to shallow center for the second out, but Darian Sandford drilled a liner into right center for a two-run double, tying the game. Britton was able to strike out Caleb Gindl for the final out, sending the game to the ninth at 6-6.
Callaspo then decided the contest, driving a full count offering from Cody Hall (0-1) off the picnic tents in right field.
Lancaster did fight back in the ninth on singles by Halton and Weber around a wild pitch, but David Carpenter retired Ahrens on a fly ball to shallow right, ending the game for his sixth save.
Bridgeport built its 6-0 lead in the first two innings off Lancaster starter Jarret Leverett. After Jose Gil singled home a two-out run with a line drive to left center in the first, Daniel Fields launched a three-run homer beyond the deck in right. Jonathan Galvez whacked a homer to left for a 5-0 lead. The Bluefish tacked on a single run in the seventh on a ground out by Jose Cuevas to extend the advantage to six.
The two clubs meet again on Tuesday night. Lancaster will send Brad Bergesen (1-0) to the mound against Tyler Badamo (0-1) in a matchup of right-handers. Fans may tune into the Barnstormers YouTube Channel (Go Barnstormers Baseball), beginning at 6:15.
NOTES: K.C. Hobson lost a nine-game hitting streak, lining to shortstop in his final at bat…Lastings Milledge stretched a streak to nine with a single in the fourth…Caleb Gindl had his fourth straight two-hit game…Sandford’s eighth inning double was his first extra base hit in the Atlantic League and drove in his first two runs…Gindl recorded a pair of outfield assists.