The Southern Maryland Blue Crabs (25-32) took the series opener against the New Britain Bees (29-29) 6-4, behind a strong start from Craig Stem (3-3).
Neither team could mount any offense in the first two innings, with a single from New Britain’s Jason Rogers serving as the only hit early. David Lyon started the third inning with a double for the Blue Crabs, but Mark Hamburger (5-5) responded with three straight outs to strand the runner in scoring position. A pair of two-out singles in the bottom of the inning put runners on the corners for the Bees, but Stem forced a flyout to finish the frame.
The scoreless tie broke in the top of the fourth, as Southern Maryland put three runs on the board. Angelo Songco drew a one-out walk, moving up to third on a single from Teodoro Martinez. Songco came home on a groundout from Devon Rodriguez, opening the scoring on the night. Martinez scored on a double from Angelys Nina, with a single from Lyon allowing Nina to cross and take a 3-0 lead.
Stem, who was making his first start of the season after serving as a reliever all season, continued strong. The right-hander shutdown the Bees offense, allowing just four hits through five scoreless innings. The five-inning outing was Stem’s longest since August 23rd of last season, and he exited still with the three-run advantage.
The offense added a few more to their lead in the top of the sixth, putting up three more runs off Hamburger. Rodriguez doubled with one out in the inning, moving up to third on a single from Nina. A popup brought the Bees an out away from finishing the inning, before a walk to Francisco Rosario loaded the bases and extended the inning. Hamburger then issued a walk to Ryan Strausborger, bringing home Rodriguez and ending the night for the New Britain starter.
Elvin Ramirez came on for the Bees, inheriting the bases-loaded two-out jam. Ramirez immediately allowed a single to Craig Maddox, the first batter he faced on the night. The hit from Maddox allowed both Nina and Strausborger to score, pushing the lead out to 6-0 before Ramirez picked up a strikeout to finish the inning.
The Bees began to battle back in the bottom half of the inning, putting up four runs against the first reliever they faced. A walk and a single put the first two men in the inning aboard, before the first out of the inning was recorded. Rogers followed that with a single, scoring Darren Ford to put the Bees on the board. Two batters later, Matt Tuiasosopo cleared the bases with a three-run homerun to cut the lead down to just two runs.
A seven-run sixth inning was followed by a pair of quiet innings. Neither team got anybody on base in the seventh or the eighth, sending the game to the ninth still at 6-4. Southern Maryland sent closer Cody Eppley (S,5) to the mound in the ninth, looking to lock down the series opener. Eppley quickly retired the first two batters in the inning, before an infield single from Jonathon Galvez brought the tying run to the plate. The closer bounced back to force a groundout to second, finishing the 6-4 victory.
The Blue Crabs return to action Saturday, June 30th for the second game in the series against the Bees. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 P.M. on Saturday at New Britain Stadium.
For more information on the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, or to reserve your seat today for any of the Blue Crabs upcoming home games, please visit our website atsomdbluecrabs.com or call us at 301-638-9788.
About the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs
The Blue Crabs play 126 regular season games in the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball Clubs. The Blue Crabs play at Regency Furniture Stadium in Waldorf, Maryland with affordable family fun. The franchise will begin its 11th season in April 2018. Please call 301-638-9788 or visit http://www.somdbluecrabs.com for more information.
About the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB)
The Atlantic League has been a leader in professional baseball and a gateway to Major League Baseball since 1998. Over 38 million fans have attended Atlantic League games and more than 900 players and 50 managers and coaches have joined MLB organizations directly from the ALPB. The Atlantic League emphasizes winning baseball games, showcasing the talent of top-caliber players and offering affordable family entertainment.
For more information, please visit www.AtlanticLeague.com.