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Lancaster Defeats Sugar Land, 9-4

Kevin Ahrens already had plenty to smile about on Tuesday.

The Barnstormers starting shortstop was playing near home (he hails from Houston) and was enjoying his 27th birthday. His night got even better.

Ahrens went 2-for-3 with a homer and four RBI to lead the Lancaster Barnstormers to a 9-4 victory over the Sugar Land Skeeters as the Barnstormers improved to 5-1 on the season-opening road trip.

A five-run fifth inning, keyed by Ahrens’ three-run homer, proved to be the difference in the game. Caleb Gindl ignited the inning with a one-out double cranked into the right field corner. Sean Gallagher (1-1) retired Josh Bell on strikes, but Mike McDade snuck the second of his three singles through the right side to put Lancaster ahead, 3-2. McDade took second on a wild throw home by Jeremy Barfield. The Skeeters opted to walk Mike Jacobs, put Ahrens made them pay for the move by taking a 3-1 pitch off the tents above the left field deck.

Josh Whitaker continued the surge with a single up the middle and stole second. Charlie Cutler stretched the lead to 7-2 with a single lined into right center.

Ahrens added a bases loaded walk in the ninth inning to knock home his fourth run.

J.D. Martin (1-0) yielded five hits, four for extra bases, and three runs in his five-inning start. The former Washington Nationals right-hander walked two and struck out six in his Atlantic League debut.

Patrick Palmeiro went 2-for-4 with a double and a home run in the loss for the Skeeters.

Al Yevoli, Scott Gracey and Mark Lamm, three returning relievers, retired the final eight Sugar Land batters of the evening without the ball leaving the infield.

Lancaster will conclude the road trip on Wednesday evening with Bryan Evans (1-0) on the hill against right-hander Parker Frazier (1-0). Fans may tune into the Barnstormers YouTube channel beginning at 7:45 EDT.

NOTES: Jeff Kobernus and Mike Jacobs both extended hitting streaks to six games…Jacobs had an RBI single in the fourth for Lancaster’s first run…Kobernus laid a perfect bunt down the third base line to lead off the sixth…Gindl has hit safely in all five starts…Charlie Cutler ended the game by making a sliding catch in front of the Skeeters dugout on a foul pop up by Palmeiro…It was Cutler’s third catch of a pop up on the night, successfully battling winds in excess of 20 mph.