Bryan Evans threw seven shutout innings to outduel former Lancaster right-hander Brian Grening as the Barnstormers grabbed the rubber game of a three-game series from the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, 8-2.
Evans (1-1) put together five 1-2-3 innings over the first six frames. He was tested by three singles in the fourth inning, but the Barnstormers defense was solid behind him with catcher Tyler Clark nabbing Jose Lozada on a steal attempt and shortstop Vladimir Frias racing into the hole to get a force out at second on a Zach Cone ground ball for the final out.
Cory Vaughn opened the seventh with a dribbler up the third base line. Evans raced to make the play but turned his ankle on the throw. He was allowed to finish the seventh, getting three outs on fly balls from the middle of the order.
Evans walked none in the outing while striking out three.
Grening (1-1) nearly matched Evans, but the Barnstormers capitalized on their three hits in the fourth inning. K.C. Hobson led off with a single into right. He scored on a double into the left field corner by Kevin Ahrens, who, in turn, came home on Blake Gailen’s two-bagger to right. Frias got the third run home on a fly ball to right field.
Southern Maryland gave the Barnstormers a scare in the eighth. Edwin Garcia and Ryan Wiggins punched singles into right off lefty reliever John Anderson. Following a strikeout of Lozada, Danny Muno lobbed a pop fly down the right field line. Gailen could not get to it, and the ball spun sideways into the bullpen for an RBI double.
Cody Hall came into the game with the tying run in scoring position and froze Cory Vaughn on a 3-2 pitch with Zach Wilson, fresh off a six-RBI night, looming on deck. Wilson homered leading off the ninth inning, but by then, the Barnstormers had salted the game away.
Lancaster loaded the bases on a hit batter, a single and a walk in the bottom of the eighth. Sam Runion got a ground ball toward the middle out of Trayvon Robinson, but Muno’s feed to the shortstop Garcia was mishandled for an error as a run scored. Frias followed with a grand slam onto the right field picnic deck for the 8-1 cushion.
The Barnstormers head to Texas for a four-game series against the Sugar Land Skeeters. Lancaster will send lefty Rommie Lewis (2-1) to the hill against right-hander Jake Hale on Thursday evening. Fans may tune into the Barnstormers YouTube Channel (GoBarnstormersBaseball), beginning at 7:45 EDT.
NOTES: With the error and grand slam in the eighth inning, the Barnstormers extended their streak of games with at least four runs and eight hits to 16…Lancaster has homered in all 10 home games this season…Ahrens has driven home runs in seven straight games, two shy of the franchise record…Gailen’s double was his 100th as a Barnstormer, a new franchise career record…Four of Evans’s six Atlantic League wins have come against Southern Maryland.