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‘Stormers Romp for Second Straight Night, 12-2

The Lancaster Barnstormers struck for nine runs in their final three trips to the plate on Saturday evening to pull away for a 12-2 victory over the Lexington Legends in the middle game of a three-game weekend series at Clipper Magazine Stadium.

Through the first three innings, the only run of the game was on a Kelly Dugan sacrifice fly in the third that scored Shawon Dunston, Jr. when the throw from left fielder Courtney Hawkins came out of the setting sun, blinding catcher Blake Swihart at the last second.

Trace Loehr would add a two-run homer onto the right field deck in the bottom of the fourth off Keyvius Sampson (2-2), and LeDarious Clark chimed in with a solo shot in the sixth for a 4-0 edge.

The true explosion began in the seventh, when the Barnstormers added four off reliever Brett Schneider.  Jake Hoover started the inning with a triple to left center.  Dunston walked and stole second, and both runners scored when Melvin Mercedes tore a double into the right field corner.  Mercedes advanced to third on a wild pitch during a walk to Dugan.  Andretty Cordero singled home one, and Colton Shaver temporarily capped the onslaught with a double inside the third base bag.

Lancaster’s eighth was similar against Andrew Kramer.  Hoover got it going with a single up the middle and raced to second on a passed ball.  One out later, Mercedes dropped a single into shallow center.  Dugan brought home one run with a force play grounder.  Cordero reached on a single behind the third base bag before Clark and Shaver banged out doubles.

Brooks Hall made his return to the Barnstormers, tossing the first four innings of three-hit shutout baseball on 39 pitches.  Brett Clarke (1-0) faced six batters over the next two innings to earn the win.  Cole Aker and West Tunnell tossed a scoreless inning each.

Then, with one out in the ninth, Phillip Ervin ruined the shutout with a two-run homer to right off Erik Cha.

Lancaster will seek the sweep on Sunday afternoon.  Oscar De La Cruz (2-0) will make the start for the Barnstormers against Lexington pitching coach J.J. Hoover (2-5).  Fans may tune into the Barnstormers YouTube channel or Blue Ridge 11 at 1:00 PM.

NOTES:  Shaver tied the club record with three doubles…Hall made his second Lancaster start since 2018…The South Carolina native made a start at Gastonia opening weekend in 2021 before his contract was purchased by the Brewers…Lancaster knocked out eight extra base hits for the second straight night…Lancaster pitchers have walked three and struck out 31 in the last three games.