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BARNSTORMERS LOSE IN CRAZY EIGHTH

Southern Maryland Avoids Sweep on Balk, Wild Pitch

The Southern Maryland Blue Crabs found a bizarre way to win their first game of the season.

Three walks, a balk and a wild pitch led to the tying and winning runs in the bottom of the eighth inning as the Blue Crabs grabbed the finale of a doubleheader and four-game series, 6-5, Saturday evening at Regency Furniture Stadium.

Lancaster took the opener, 3-0, behind a complete game, one-hit masterpiece by Andrew Albers.

After Josh Whitaker raced home all the way from second on a Cody Eppley wild pitch in the top of the eighth inning to give Lancaster the lead, Mike Lee entered to close out the game in the home half of the inning.

Lee retired Zach Wilson on a fly out to deep center and survived a drive by Michael Snyder that hooked barely foul down the left field line.  Snyder eventually struck out, but Lee walked Bryant Nelson on a full count pitch and did likewise to Jamar Walton.  Angel Flores walked on five pitches to load the bases, and with Fred Lewis due as a pinch hitter, lefty Matt Reynolds came on to face him.

Reynolds again had the Barnstormers within one strike of the win against Lewis, getting the count to 2-2.  On the second strike, a pitch on the inside corner, Lewis turned around to bark at plate umpire Bryan Childe.  Lewis backed out again.  Childe called Reynolds for a balk, and Nelson trotted home with the tying run.

The next offering bounced past catcher Scott David, and Walton raced home with the winner as the Blue Crabs entered the win column for the first time.

Travis Witherspoon and Snyder exchanged two-run homers in the first inning, and Southern Maryland took a 3-2 lead on a throwing error by starter Phil Coke in the second.  Whitaker leveled the score at 3-3 in the top of the fourth with a double to right center.  

Southern Maryland took its second lead in the home fifth when Gary Brown scored from third on Zach Wilson’s grounder.

Lancaster was within an out of defeat in the seventh when Kevin Ahrens lined a single to left, scoring Witherspoon with the tying run.  Jamar Walton threw out Josh Bell at the plate to prevent Lancaster from jumping ahead.

In the opener, it was all Albers.  The lefty from Saskatchewan yielded a leadoff walk to Brown in the first and a one-out single to Nelson in the second.  He picked Nelson off first and proceeded to retire the final 16 batters.  He struck out nine in the gem.

Jeff Kobernus and Caleb Gindl produced sacrifice flies off Jon Leicester (0-1) for a 2-0 lead.  Kobernus singled home an insurance run in the top of the seventh, plating Witherspoon, who had doubled.

The Barnstormers are off on Sunday then open a three-game series in Texas against the Sugar Land Skeeters on Monday at 7:05 CDT.  Bryan Woodall will make the start for the Barnstormers against ex-Lancaster lefty Bryan Morgado.

NOTES:  Witherspoon was 5-for-7 with two doubles, a homer, and two steals in the doubleheader…Kobernus and Mike Jacobs hit safely in all four games…Witherspoon has a hit in all three of his games…The Barnstormers failed to match the 4-0 start of the 2006 championship team…Lancaster managed 48 hits in the opening series…The first game took 1:52; the second 2:54.