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SO CLOSE, YET…

Huge Rally Falls One Short

The Lancaster Barnstormers ran out of gas just short of the finish line on Saturday evening.

Trailing, 9-2, entering the bottom of the eighth, Lancaster rallied for three that inning and three more in the ninth, only to drop a 9-8 decision to the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs at Clipper Magazine Stadium.

In the eighth, Kelly Dugan produced a run with a sacrifice fly.  Colton Shaver doubled home Andretty Cordero with the second run, and Trayvon Robinson doubled inside the first base bag to produce a third run off Dalton Geekie.  Bradley Roney entered and gave up an infield single to Trace Loehr before striking out the next two to hold back the surge.

With one out in the ninth, LeDarious Clark walked and was allowed to advance to second.  Cordero picked him up with a single to center, prompting Blue Crabs manager Stan Cliburn to bring on closer Mat Latos.  Dugan connected for his second homer of the night to cut the lead to one.  Latos then struck out Shaver and got Robinson on a grounder to short to close the night.

The Barnstormers also got off to a flying start as Cordero and Dugan reached McKenzie Mills (5-1) for consecutive homers in the bottom of the first inning for a 2-0 lead.  After Loehr opened the second with a single into right, Mills threw six no-hit innings.  The lefty finished the night with eight strikeouts.

Cameron Gann (3-3), the second straight Barnstormer to pitch on three days rest, maintained the 2-0 lead into the fourth, when he allowed one run on a bases loaded grounder by Joe DeLuca.

The game got away in the fifth.  Michael Baca led off with a single to left and took second on a bobble by Robinson.  Jack Sundberg walked with Baca stealing third in the process.  Both runners scored when Ian Yetsko tripled to right center.  Zach Collier greeted reliever Cole Aker with a single to right, and before Aker could escape the inning, Alex Crosby also singled for a 5-2 lead. 

In the sixth, Yetsko followed a sacrifice fly by Sundberg with a two-run homer to take an 8-2 lead.  De Luca tacked on a sacrifice fly in the seventh.

The two clubs conclude the three-game series on Sunday at 1:00.  Lancaster will send Chase Johnson (1-3) to the hill for a spot start against the league’s all-time leading winner Daryl Thompson (4-2).  Fans may tune into Blue Ridge Cable or the Barnstormers YouTube channel, starting at 1:00.

NOTES:  Dugan has homered in three straight games against Southern Maryland and twice in a row off Latos…He took the league lead with 14 homers and 43 RBI…He has accomplished that in 14 games…Cordero has hit safely in 15 of 18…Clark has hit in 23 of 27…Tyler Suellentrop finished the game for Lancaster, throwing his eighth consecutive scoreless outing…Lancaster is 0-5 against Southern Maryland this season, despite outhitting the Blue Crabs in every game.