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Reed, Gailen … Carry Lancaster to 5-3 Victory
Nate Reed and Blake Gailen, the two longest-tenured Barnstormers, were the driving forces behind Lancaster’s Game One victory on Tuesday night.
Reed fired eight shutout innings and was backed by a pair of homers by Gailen as the Barnstormers took a 5-3 decision from the Sugar Land Skeeters in the opening game of the best-of-five Freedom Division Series.
The left-hander from Reading, who had pitched shutout baseball over his last four starts during the regular season, continued his brilliance into the playoffs.  He faced the minimum of 19 batters over the first 6 1/3 innings before Anthony Giansanti grounded a single into left, breaking up a no-hit bid.  Derek Norris followed with a walk, and Juan Silverio lined a single to left to load the bases.  Reed clamly got out of the inning with a strikeout and Matt Chavez and a harmless fly to center off the bat of Albert Cordero for the third out.
Reed has been with the ‘Stormers since 2013 and ranks as the club’s all-time strikeout leader.
Gailen belted homers off Dallas Beeler in consecutive at bats in the middle of the game.  The seventh-year Barnstormer connected following a Tyler Bortnick walk in the third for a 3-0 lead.  In the fifth, he launched another drive off the Haller tent in right field for Lancaster’s final run of the night.
Lancaster’s initial run came in the second.  Conrad Gregor, the Barnstormer DH, grounded a single up the middle with one out.  Gregor stole second and scored when Trayvon Robinson blasted a double over the Giansanti’s head in center.
The Barnstormers also struck in the fourth.  Gregor led off with a single and was forced at second by Robinson.  K.C. Hobson reached on catcher’s interference, moving Robinson to second.  Vladimir Frias picked up the run with a single slapped just beyond the reach of shortstop Alvaro Rondon’s backhanded attempt.
Sugar Land made the Lancaster crowd fret in the top of the ninth.  Giansanti led off with a single and took second on a wild pitch by Huascar Brazoban.  Derek Norris walked on a 3-2 pitch.  With Juan Silverio batting, Brazoban balked on the 2-0 pitch, sending the runners to second and third.  Silverio sent the next pitch onto the right field deck to cut the lead to 5-3.
Kevin Munson took over and hit Matt Chavez with his first pitch.  Munson struck out switch hitting Albert Cordero.  Tony Thomas made everyone in Barnstormers red skip a heartbeat with a blast down the left field line that barely hooked foul.  Thomas still delivered a single to right center, but Munson struck out Denis Phipps looking and got Rondon on a game-ending force play grounder to short for the save.
The second game of the series will be played at Clipper Magazine Stadium on Wednesday at 7:00.  Lancaster will send right-hander Jonathan Albaladejo (9-7 during the regular season) against Sugar Land lefty James Russell (8-4).  Russell led the league in ERA at 2.37.  Tickets are still available for the game.  Fans may tune into the Barnstormers YouTube Channel, beginning at 6:45.
NOTES:  Reed won his playoff start in 2015 also…Gailen has seven homers and 20 RBI in 17 post-season games as a Barnstormer…The game was faster than any nine-inning game played by the Barnstormers in the regular season.