The Lancaster Barnstormers struck early and often enough on Friday evening to keep themselves in the hunt in the Freedom Division’ first half race.
Sean Halton homered once and tripled twice, driving in four runs, while Garrett Weber homered and drove in three as the Barnstormers defeated the Somerset Patriots, 9-7, at Clipper Magazine Stadium.
Combined with Southern Maryland’s 5-3 loss at Long Island, the win brought the Barnstormers back to within one game of the Blue Crabs with two games left this weekend plus a makeup game between the two clubs on July 28.
The teams traded three-run innings early. Halton’s first triple, a blast to the alley in left center, drove home the game’s first run. Weber singled Halton home, then went to second on an errant pickoff throw by Will Oliver (3-1). Trayvon Robinson doubled to left center for a 3-0 lead.
Yovan Gonzalez and Carlos Guzman leveled the game with consecutive home runs in the second inning.
However, Lancaster would gain control of the game in the third. Following a leadoff walk to Caleb Gindl, Halton took Oliver onto the left field hillside for his 15th homer of the season. Two outs later, Anderson De La Rosa doubled to right center and scored on Vladimir Frias’s single up the middle. Drew Doty also singled, but Olmo Rosario made a diving catch on a liner by Rico Noel to end the inning.
The Barnstormers extended the lead to 9-3 in the fourth as Halton tripled into the left field corner to score Lastings Milledge. Weber followed with a two-run homer onto the right field deck, but the Barnstormers were shut down the rest of the night.
Brad Bergesen ran into problems in the fifth, walking three. Rosario reached him for an RBI double, and Gonzalez chased the right with an RBI single to right to cut the lead to 9-6. Tommy Shirley took over and walked Guzman before getting Tyler Bortnick on a grounder to third as the inning ended with the bases loaded.
More troubled loomed for R.J. Hively in the sixth. Somerset loaded the bases on singles by Aharon Eggleston and Justin Pacchioli and a bunt single by Scott Kelly. Christian Marrero walked to force home a run and move the tying run to second. Hively roared back and got Rosario to foul out to first base. Kyle Roller smacked a sharp grounder on the right side which was speared by Rico Noel and turned into a double play.
Kevin Munson (2-3) and Scott Shuman each pitched a scoreless inning, getting the game to Anthony Carter for the ninth. Carter fanned the side for his 15th save.
The series continues on Saturday evening as John Anderson (0-0) will make a spot start against lefty Logan Darnell. Fireworks will follow the game. Fans may also tune into the Barnstormers YouTube Channel, beginning at 6:15.
NOTES: Carter’s save was his 14th in succession…Halton has four homers and 12 RBI in eight games…Weber has five homers and 12 RBI in 13 games…Lancaster has reached seven games over the .500 mark for the sixth time without exceeding it…The Barnstormers homered for the 14thconsecutive game, the third longest streak in franchise history…De La Rosa has five doubles in the five games of the homestand.