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Solo Shot in Ninth Beats Lancaster

The Lancaster Barnstormers charged back against the two-time Atlantic League Pitcher of the Year and a highly touted bullpen on Tuesday evening, only to lose on one pitch.

Alex Crosby launched his second home run of the night, a two-out blast in the top of the ninth to provide the winning marker as Southern Maryland topped the ‘Stormers, 9-8, in the opener of a three-game series at Clipper Magazine Stadium.

It was the Blue Crabs’ tenth straight win over the Barnstormers this season and forced a two-way tie at the top of the North between the two clubs.

The first half of the game belonged to Southern Maryland.  David Harris doubled in a run in the first while Ryan Haug and Jack Sundberg each produced RBI hits in the second.  Crosby took over the game with a solo homer in the third and a base clearing triple in the fifth as the Blue Crabs built an 8-1 lead off Nile Ball.

Lancaster, for the first time all season, solved Crabs ace Daryl Thompson.  Melvin Mercedes, who earlier had extended his hitting streak to 22, clubbed a solo homer in the bottom of the fifth.  Lancaster got two closer on a streak of four straight singles in the bottom of the sixth with Anthony Peroni and Trace Loehr driving home runs.

Newcomer Jacob Barfield launched a two-run homer to right in the seventh inning off lefty Nick Wells to make it 8-6, and the Barnstormers produced a tie in the bottom of the eighth when Mercedes went deep again, following a bunt single by Shawon Dunston, Jr. off Patrick Baker (5-1).

Dominic DiSabatino (3-3) easily retired Zach Collier and Harris to start the ninth before Crosby lined a 2-0 pitch off the tents in right.

Lancaster had one last swing as Barfield took closer Mat Latos to the back of the track in dead center before the veteran right-hander shut the game down for his 23rd save.

The Barnstormers host Southern Maryland again on Wednesday with Cameron Gann (5-7) on the hill against Alex Merithew (1-2).  Fans may tune into Blue Ridge 11 or the Barnstormers YouTube channel, starting at 6:30.

NOTES:  Mercedes is now batting .398 (35-88) in the streak and has homered five times in the last six games…Andretty Cordero lost his 10-game hitting streak but did drive in a run with a sacrifice fly for his 75th RBI of the season…Ariel Sandoval has hit safely in all five games he has played…Southern Maryland has beaten Lancaster in the season series for the first time in 14 seasons…Lancaster has outhit the Blue Crabs in seven of the ten games…Trace Loehr grabbed his 11th stolen base of the season without being caught.