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SANDOVAL, ROBINSON PACE LANCASTER WIN

‘Stormers Drop Magic Number to Four

Ariel Sandoval and Trayvon Robinson combined for seven hits on Friday night as the Lancaster Barnstormers captured the series opener from the Charleston Dirty Birds, 6-2, at Appalachian Power Park.

The win, combined with a Southern Maryland loss at York, drops Lancaster’s magic number for clinching the second half in the North Division to four.  Any combination of four Lancaster wins and Southern Maryland losses over the remaining nine games of the season will send the Barnstormers to the playoffs for the first time since 2018.

Sandoval went 4-for-4 in the win, clubbing a two-run homer in the top of the fifth to open up a 5-2 lead.  Robinson collected two singles and a double.

Robinson’s RBI single in the top of the third scored Trace Loehr, who had doubled, to score the initial run in the game.  The Barnstormers stretched the lead to 2-0 in the fourth when Jacob Barfield picked up a two-out walk from Derrick Adams (6-9), then stole second.  Anthony Peroni stroked a sinking liner into right field.  Cosimo Cannella tried for the diving catch, and the ball bounced past him to the wall, sending Peroni to third as Barfield scored.

Nile Ball (10-5) had his only stumble in the bottom of the fourth inning.  The right-hander hit Scott Burcham with his first pitch of the inning.  Edwin Espinal followed with a long double off the wall in right to score the first run.  With one out, Tyler Blaum, who went 3-for-4, singled into right to send Espinal to third.  A bad pickoff throw produced the tying run.

Lancaster took advantage of Charleston errors in the fifth.  Melvin Mercedes reached on a one-out walk.  Robinson hit a ground ball but survived when Burcham made a wild throw to first.  The throw went out of play, sending Robinson to second.  Andretty Cordero rolled a grounder to short, but Angel Garced threw it away to enable Robinson to score the lead run.  Sandoval followed with his fifth homer as a Barnstormer, a line drive over the boards in left.

Robinson doubled home Loehr with the final run in the seventh.

Ball worked six, yielding six hits, while walking one and striking out five.  Brandyn Sittinger, Josh Graham and West Tunnell threw a single scoreless inning each, though Graham and Tunnell both needed 6-4-3 double plays to escape jams.

Cameron Gann (7-8) will start for the Barnstormers on Saturday against right-hander Alec Kisena (0-3).  Fans may tune into the YouTube Channel, starting at 6:30.

NOTES:  Ball’s quality start was his 10th…Sandoval has six extra base hits in his last three starts…Robinson has 17 hits in 12 games played on the extended trip…The Barnstormers are now 8-5 on the trip with two games left to play.