- The Enterprise
- The Recorder
Southern Maryland Blue Crabs pitcher Ian Marshall was on a roll through the first five innings of Sunday’s finale of a three-game series with York at Regency Furniture Stadium in Waldorf.
Marshall had not allowed a hit in those five innings.
However, the tides turned in the top of the sixth as York scored four runs on four hits and held on for the eventual 4-0 victory. The loss snapped the Blue Crabs’ three-game win streak.
Despite the loss, it was the second straight series win for Southern Maryland, as it took two out of three games against the Camden Riversharks after a 1-0 victory on Thursday and then two of three versus York, defeating the Revolution 4-2 on Friday and 8-5 on Saturday before Sunday’s loss.
The Blue Crabs (15-21), seven games back of Lancaster for the top spot in the Freedom Division, started a four-game, three-day series at Camden on Tuesday, which finished too late for inclusion into this edition. Game 2 be at 7:05 tonight, then the teams will play a day-night doubleheader on Thursday.
The team returns home for a five-game series spanning four days against Long Island beginning Friday, which includes a traditional doubleheader on Sunday to make up an April postponement.
“York pitched well today. We pitched well, we just didn’t get any big hits,” Blue Crabs manager Lance Burkhart said. “We didn’t get many opportunities. It was a great homestand for us. We pitched outstanding and we swung the bats this series and played good defense.”
York’s Salvador Paniagua broke up the no-hitter with a single to left field to lead off the sixth. Former Blue Crab Sean Smith then reached first base on a throwing error by Marshall trying to get the force out at second base.
York then loaded the bases on a Justin Greene bunt single with one out.
Ofilio Castro broke open the scoreless affair with a two-run single to right-center to give York a 2-0 lead. Eric Patterson followed with a two-run triple to right, his only hit of the series, to cap off the scoring.
Marshall, who dropped to 2-4 on the season, went 5 1/3 innings and gave up four runs, three earned, on four hits with two strikeouts and did not walk any batters.
“In that sixth inning, we didn’t execute on defense on a bunt play and it happened on the next play,” Burkhart said. “That puts you behind the eight-ball when you have bases loaded and nobody out. You just try to minimize the damage and Ian threw a lot better than the numbers showed today.”
York starter Corey Thurman, who won his second straight start, retired the last 10 batters he faced. Thurman threw seven innings scattering just three hits.
“To Thurman’s credit, he really kept the ball down and changed speeds and that kept our hitters off balance a bit,” Burkhart said.
Saturday saw the Blue Crabs debut of outfielder Jonny Kaplan, who drove in three runs on two hits in the contest.
Kaplan broke a 5-5 tie in the sixth with a two-out RBI single to center. With the Blue Crabs still leading by a run in the eighth, he provided some insurance with a two-run single to left to make it 8-5.
The ninth belonged to Warden, who retired York in order in the ninth to give the Blue Crabs their third straight win. He broke the all-time Atlantic League career saves record at 123 in Thursday’s win.
“We had a tough road trip before our homestand versus Camden and York, so I think we took a step in the right direction by winning three of our last four games,” Warden said. “At home, this is what you have to do and right now we have to try to win every series to get back where we need to be.”
Southern Maryland, which had 11 hits in Saturday’s win, nearly batted around in the bottom of the first to go up 4-0.
With the bases loaded and one out, third baseman Jake Opitz cleared them with a three-run triple to right and, with two outs, scored on an error by third baseman and former Blue Crab Travis Garcia.
York didn’t go away as Smith crushed a two-out, three-run home run, his fourth blast of the season, to make it 4-3.
The Blue Crabs got one of the runs back in the bottom half as first baseman C.J. Ziegler’s two-out RBI single to left scored shortstop Angel Sanchez.
Chad Tracy singled home Wilson Valdez with one out in the sixth, bringing an end to the night for Blue Crabs starter Gaby Hernandez. Tracy scored on a sacrifice fly to right by Castro, tying the game at 5.
Eduardo Morlan, the third pitcher used in the inning, ended up with his first victory of the season as all five runs in the game were charged to Hernandez.
Friday’s game was knotted at 2 when the Blue Crabs scored twice in the bottom of the eighth and held on for the two-run victory in the series opener with York.
Opitz’s ground ball down the first base line snuck by Tracy to score Sanchez to give the Blue Crabs the lead. Opitz quickly scored on a double by designated hitter Tony Delmonico, who finished 2 for 3 at the plate, to make it 4-2.
Eric Massingham got around a single and a walk to get his first save of the season. Charlie Manning allowed York to tie the game in the seventh, but still picked up the win, his first of 2014.