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Barnstormers Remain Tied in North

The Lancaster Barnstormers picked up two unearned runs on a dropped pop up in the top of the ninth inning to defeat the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, 6-4, in the opener of a three-game series at Regency Furniture Stadium.

With the win, the Barnstormers guaranteed themselves at least to remain in a first place tie with the Staten Island FerryHawks in the wild North second half race.

Thirteen Lancaster batters had been retired when Shawon Dunston, Jr. picked up a two-out walk off Andre Scrubb (1-2) in the ninth.  Jack Conley dropped a single into left center, chasing Dunston to third.  Conley stole second as Trace Loehr worked ahead in the count.  Then, the Lancaster third baseman lofted a towering pop fly over the right side of the infield.

Instead of the third out of the inning, and the Blue Crabs working to walk off, K.C. Hobson mysteriously had the ball squirt out of his glove.  Dunston and Conley scored easily to give Lancaster the two-run lead.

Mike Adams, pitching for the third straight night, closed out the game with a perfect bottom of the ninth for his ninth save.

Joseph Carpenter and Yeison Coca each belted a two-run homer off Southern Maryland starter, and one-time Barnstormer, Spencer Johnston for a 4-1 lead.

Matt Swarmer held that lead through six, allowing only four hits and a run in a quality start, but the Blue Crabs put together a two-out surge against the Lancaster pen in the seventh.  With two outs and a runner at first, Khalil Lee blasted a two-run homer to right center off Brian Marconi, cutting the deficit to one.  Jimmy Kerrigan greeted Bret Clarke with a double inside the left field line and scored on Alex Crosby’s single up the middle.  Conley made a picked attempt at first and misconnected with Andretty Cordero, sending Crosby to third.  Hobson walked, but Clarke was able to pick up the final out on a deep fly ball by Philip Caulfield.

Nick Duron (1-0) pitched a scoreless eighth for the Barnstormers to earn the win.

Lancaster will send Brent Teller (10-4) to the mound on Saturday evening against lefty McKenzie Mills (3-2, 4-3).  Fans may tune in on FloBaseball, beginning at 6:30.

NOTES:  The game was Lancaster’s seventh win in the final turn at the plate this season…All have come on the road…Melvin Mercedes opened the game with a single to extend his hitting streak to 14…He has reached base in 35 of his last 36…Coca’s homer was his third in seven games…Carpenter took the team lead with his 12th of the season…Duron has 20 strikeouts in his last 9 2/3 innings…Swarmer gave Lancaster its fourth quality start in the last seven games.