Lancaster Captures Series Finale, 4-1
Oscar De La Cruz fanned nine in six innings, and the Lancaster bullpen provided nearly flawless backup as the Barnstormers defeated the Lexington Legends, 4-1, Sunday afternoon at Clipper Magazine Stadium.
The victory gave the Barnstormers the series win and capped a 7-2 homestand. Lancaster will head onto the road with at least a 3 ½ game lead over Southern Maryland, pending the outcome of the Blue Crabs’ game at Staten Island.
De La Cruz (7-2) was reached for the lone Lexington run in the top of the second. With one out, Phillip Ervin doubled inside the third base bag. He promptly stole third and scored on Montrell Marshall’s deep fly to right. Manuel Geraldo and Pete Yorgen followed with singles before De La Cruz escaped the inning with a strikeout of T.K. Koontz.
Ariel Sandoval tied the game in the fourth with a long homer onto the left field hillside, and the Barnstormers went ahead to stay in the fifth. Anthony Peroni drilled a leadoff single off Thomas Dorminy (5-7) into left center. One out later, Peroni took third on a single toward the right field corner by Trace Loehr. Melvin Mercedes hit a grounder toward the middle that slowed down off the mound, and the Lexington defense could only get a force at second as the run scored.
Lexington threatened De La Cruz in the sixth. Ervin led off with a walk, and Marshall followed with a single into center. The ‘Stormers’ right-hander retired the next three to hold the lead.
Cam Booser worked around a pop fly that dropped in the infield to get through the seventh, and Josh Graham threw a perfect eighth.
The Barnstormers gave closer West Tunnell some breathing room in the bottom of the eighth. Jacob Barfield belted a double off the vinyl in center and advanced to third on a single by Sandoval. Anderson Feliz drew a walk from Yaramil Hiraldo to load the bases. The inning got sidetracked when Dondrei Hubbard lined into a double play at third. However, Sandoval and Feliz pulled off a double steal with Sandoval scoring when the throw to second deflected into left center. Lancaster reloaded the bases, and Loehr made it 4-1 with a bases loaded walk.
West Tunnell retired the side in order in the ninth for his ninth save.
Lancaster will open a three-game series at York on Tuesday. The Barnstormers will send Gray Fenter (2-0) to the mound against lefty Austin Nicely. Lancaster needs one win in the remaining six games in the War of the Roses to reclaim possession of the Community Cup.
NOTES: Sandoval extended his hitting streak to 10 with the three-hit game…Feliz lost a nine-game streak…Loehr has hit safely in eight straight and Peroni six…Andretty Cordero went a fourth straight game without an RBI for only the second time all season…De La Cruz fired his club-leading eighth quality start…Tunnell pitched scoreless baseball for the 11th time in the last 12 appearances…The pitching staff reached 10 strikeouts for the 41st time in 101 games.