For Nate Reed, it was a long time coming.
The Barnstormers left-hander fired six shutout innings on Wednesday night to lead his club to a 6-4 victory over the Bridgeport Bluefish in the middle game of a three-game series at Clipper Magazine Stadium. It was Reed’s first win of the season despite being his sixth quality start.
Combined with a Southern Maryland loss at York, the victory jumped the Barnstormers back to within two games of the division leading Blue Crabs with 12 games left to play in the first half.
Reed (1-4) allowed four hits and two walks in his six-inning stint. His defense turned three double plays behind him, two off the bat of Jonathan Galvez. He picked off another runner, facing only two batters over the minimum during his stint. Jose Cuevas, with a one-out double in the fourth, was the only Bridgeport batter to reach scoring position in Reed’s tenure.
Lancaster, which has struggled to support Reed, got two on the board in the bottom of the fifth without a base hit. Trayvon Robinson led off with the third walk of the game from Rainy Lara (5-3). Vladimir Frias laid down a bunt toward the mound which Lara fumbled and could not get an out. Tyler Clark also bunted, and Lara, attempting the force at third, threw the ball into left field, allowing the two runs to score. Rico Noel also sacrificed, but nothing else developed.
Two outs into the sixth, the Barnstormers managed their first hit off Lara. Lastings Milledge hit a high bounder down the third base line. Angelys Nina’s momentum carried him into foul territory, and his off balance throw went wide of the bag, allowing Milledge to reach base safely. Robinson followed with an RBI double off the signs in right center for a 3-0 lead.
Milledge’s bloop single to right with one out in the eighth drove in Blake Gailen with an insurance run. One out later, Frias drove a two-run homer off the tents in right.
The Barnstormers were hoping for a quick exit, but Bridgeport had other ideas. The Bluefish reached Anthony Carter for five consecutive hits, including a three-run homer by Daniel Fields, in the top of the ninth. Kevin Munson was summoned with the tying run at the plate. Munson retired both batters he faced for his first Barnstormers save.
Lancaster entertains Bridgeport for the rubber game of the three-game series on Thursday. Bryan Evans (4-2) will make the start for the Barnstormers against Cory Riordan (4-2). The game will be carried live on Blue Ridge Cable 11 and the Barnstormers YouTube Channel beginning at 6:30.
NOTES: Milledge extended his hitting streak to eight games (15-32, .469)…Gailen stole second in the eighth inning, the club’s first stolen base in four games…With that steal, Gailen ties Michael Woods for second on Lancaster’s all-time list with 75…Munson’s save was his first since 2015…Scott Shuman struck out at least one batter for the 22nd consecutive appearance.