The Lancaster Barnstormers tried to build more speed into the offense in 2017, but that power can still come in handy.
K.C. Hobson launched a three-run homer in the top of the eighth inning on Wednesday evening to erase a 2-1 deficit and send the Lancaster Barnstormers to a 5-2 victory over the Bridgeport Bluefish in the third game of a weeklong home-and-home series.
Caleb Gindl and Blake Gailen also homered for the Barnstormers who won for the seventh time in their last nine games to assume sole possession of first place in the Freedom Division.
For the second consecutive night, both starters were brilliant. For the Barnstormers, Nate Reed carried a no-hitter into the seventh while Cory Riordan scatted eight hits over seven innings while allowing only the Gindl homer in the third.
Reed gave way to start the seventh, yielding consecutive singles to center by Jose Cuevas and Alberto Callaspo. Sean Burroughs, the last batter faced by Reed, bunted into a 5-6 force out at third for the first out. Jose Gil walked against right-hander Kevin Munson to load the bases. Lefty John Anderson took over, and Daniel Fields hit a grounder to the hole on the right side scoring the run. The bases remained loaded as Weber missed on a throw to second base, but Anderson struck out the next two to preserve the tie.
Anderson ran into trouble in the eighth. Yefry Reyes led off with a topper on the right side. Weber charged the play and made a desperate flip out of his glove over the head of Hobson and into the Lancaster dugout. Luis Hernandez walked, ending Anderson’s night and bringing right-hander Cody Hall (1-1) out of the pen. After a strikeout of Cuevas, Hall walked Callaspo to load the bags. Burroughs drove one home on a force play to give Bridgeport the lead. Gil ended the inning on another force out.
Caleb Gindl beat out a single rolled along the first base grass line to open the home eighth and immediately stole second. Lastings Milledge walked while trying to sacrifice, and Hobson unloaded off Frank DeJiulio, Jr. (0-2) for his third homer of the season and a 4-2 lead. Two batters later, Gailen also connected for the final margin.
Anthony Carter retired the side in order in the ninth for his first save.
The two clubs wrap up the Barnstormers opening homestand Thursday at 6:30 against the Bluefish. Lancaster will send Bryan Evans (0-1) to the mound against reigning Atlantic League Pitcher of the Year Jonathan Albaladejo (2-0). Fans may tune into the Barnstormers YouTube Channel, beginning at 6:15.
NOTES: For the sixth time in 13 games, the Barnstormers’ staff struck out at least 10 opposing batters…Reed has allowed only three hits in 12 1/3 innings over two starts…Of Gailen’s 64 Barnstormers home runs, 50 have been hit in Lancaster…Gindl has 11 hits in the six games of the homestand…Hobson went 3-for-4 and moved into fourth in the league in batting at .380.