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Seventh Inning Blast Drops Bridgeport, 5-3

Sean Halton belted a two-run homer to right center field in the bottom of the seventh inning to snap a 3-3 tie and send the Lancaster Barnstormers to a 5-3 victory over the Bridgeport Bluefish Tuesday evening at Clipper Magazine Stadium.

The win, Lancaster’s fourth in a row, moved the ‘Stormers to within 3 ½ games of the division leading York Revolution, which fell at Long Island, 3-1.

Josh Bell led off the seventh with a long single into the right field corner, extending his hitting streak to 14. Halton, who had struggled earlier against starter D.J. Mitchell, found left-hander Eric Niesen (2-3) much more to his liking and took him to the short dimension in right center for his seventh homer of the season.

The combination of Al Yevoli (1-2), Kevin Munson and Cory Burns made the lead stand over the final two innings with Burns getting the final three outs around a single by Adron Chambers for his 13th save of the year.

Lancaster built an early 3-0 lead on sacrifice flies by Josh Whitaker and Bell in the first inning and Blake Gailen’s RBI double in the second.

However, the Barnstormers were unable to salt the game away early, leaving 10 runners on base over the first six innings and opening the door for a Bridgeport comeback.

Two runs scored in the top of the fifth. Josh Vitters singled off pitcher Bryan Evans’ glove to start the inning, and Chambers singled with one out. After Rossmel Perez flied out to left field for the second out, Angelys Nina ripped a double inside the third base bag, scoring both runners.

The Bluefish tied the game in the seventh, but a baserunning mistake cost the visitors the lead. Vitters lofted a fly ball to right center. Caleb Gindl made a diving attempt behind Halton in right center, but the ball rolled free for a double. Luis Nunez moved Vitters to third with a bunt. Scott Gracey fanned Chambers, but K.C. Hobson was unable to dig up a smash to first by Perez, allowing the tying run to score.

Nina followed with a single to right, sending Perez to second. Yevoli was summoned to face Luis Hernandez. The Bridgeport shortstop stroked a clean single into left center. Nina tried to take third on the play and was gunned down by Gindl before Perez’ foot touched down on home plate, negating the run and leaving the game tied at 3-3.

The series continues Wednesday with Terry Doyle (2-3) making the start against Jonathan Albaladejo (5-3). Fans may tune into the Barnstormers YouTube Channel beginning at 6:45.

NOTES: Evans allowed five hits and two runs in six innings for his fifth quality start…He was moved up a day in the rotation to accommodate a trip home for a wedding…Bell extended his hitting streak to 14 games…Twelve of Halton’s last 18 hits have been for extra bases…Munson extended his streak of scoreless innings to 7 1/3…Whitaker announced he was leaving after the game for personal reasons…Right-handed pitcher Josh Wall retired earlier in the day.