Skeeters Take Game Two on 3-0 Shutout
Jonathan Albaladejo gave the Lancaster Barnstormers a strong start on Wednesday evening. Sugar Land’s James Russell was even better. Russell fired seven shutout innings on five singles as the Skeeters outlasted the host Barnstormers, 3-0, in the second game of the best-of-five Freedom Division Series. The series stands tied at 1-1 with the remaining games to take place this weekend at Constellation Field.
The Sugar Land lefty did not walk a batter and struck out six in his gem. Lancaster did not pick up more than one baserunner in any inning and only advanced a runner to second base in the fifth when Vladimir Frias picked up a one-out base hit to left and stole second. Russell struck out Stephen Perez and got Darian Sandford on a ground ball to close out the inning.
Dan Runzler worked the eighth, and Jean Machi threw only four pitches to retire the side in the ninth to complete the shutout.
Albaladejo surrendered two runs in the first. He hit Barrett Barnes with a pitch, and Anthony Giansanti followed with a double down the left field line. The Lancaster right-hander rebounded to strike out Derek Norris and Juan Silverio in succession to nearly battle out of the inning. Designated hitter Matt Chavez got the green light on a 3-0 count and singled up the middle, scoring both runners.
While the Skeeters had a few additional chances, they produced nothing else off Albaladejo through his seven innings of work. He finished the night allowing eight hits while walking one and fanning eight.
Sugar Land tacked on an unearned run in the ninth off the combination of Matt Marksberry and Stephen Johnson. Denis Phipps greeted Marksberry with a single to left. Alvaro Rondon bunted straight at Tyler Bortnick charging from third. Bortnick never got a handle on the ball and failed to get an out on the play. Barnes bunted into a force out at third for the first out. Johnson took over, and sent Rondon to third on a wild pitch. Giansanti plated the run with a sacrifice fly.
Brooks Hall (11-4 during the regular season) will take the mound for the Barnstormers in Game Three. He will be opposed by Sugar Land right-hander Konner Wade (8-6). Fans may tune into the Barnstormers YouTube Channel, beginning at 7:45 EDT.