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Barnstormers Fall, 11-8, in Series Finale

The Lancaster Barnstormers put together an exciting comeback from an early deficit.

It still was not enough to defeat the surging Somerset Patriots.

Somerset banged out 19 hits on Sunday afternoon at Clipper Magazine Stadium to complete a sweep of the host Barnstormers, 11-8, on the fourth straight dreary day on the opening homestand.

After the Patriots built an early 4-0 lead, the Barnstormers roared back in the third.  Michael Crouse lined a double into the left field corner to trigger the rally and stole third with one out.  Patriots starter Matt Bywater got through Jeff Kobernus but walked Josh Whitaker to add a second runner.  Caleb Gindl cracked a long two-run double to the batters’ eye in center, slicing the lead in half.  Josh Bell doubled high off the wall in right to plate another run, and Mike McDade tied the game with a single up the middle.

Whitaker put the Barnstormers ahead, 5-4, with a broken bat line drive single in the bottom of the fourth inning.  Gindl picked up his third RBI of the day on a force play grounder, and the Barnstormers found themselves ahead by two.

J.D. Martin (1-1) could not hold the lead.  Carlos Guzman opened the fifth with a single to right but was thrown out stealing.  That was the first of five straight hits by the Patriots.  Mycal Jones tied the game with a two-run triple to left center, the fourth of the five.  He scored on the second of Rob Kral’s four hits, a single to right, and Somerset was back on top.

The Patriots scored four more off Mike Lee in the sixth.  Former Chicago Cub slugger Bryan LaHair slammed a homer to right for an 8-6 lead.  With two outs, Guzman singled to right and took second on a wild pitch.  Mike Kerns, who pinch ran in the fifth, drew a walk after a prolonged at bat.  Eric Farris, Jones, and Kral took turns driving in runs on singles for the 11-6 cushion.

Lancaster got two back as Josh Whitaker homered to right center off Connor Little (2-0) in the bottom of the inning.  Suddenly, the offensive spigots were shut, and the two clubs managed only one hit between them the rest of the day as the Patriots held on for their 11th straight win.  The loss was the fifth in a row for the Barnstormers.

Following an off day on Monday, the Barnstormers head to Long Island to open a three-game series against the Ducks on Tuesday.  Austin Bibens-Dirkx (1-1) will take the mound for Lancaster against lefty Darin Downs.  Fans may tune into the Lancaster Barnstormers YouTube Channel, beginning at 6::20.

NOTES:  Gindl’s hitting streak reached seven games, and he has hit safely in all 10 starts…McDade has hits in five straight games…Justin Jackson, who played shortstop on Saturday night, retired all seven he faced in relief, striking out three…There were 80 strikeouts in the four-game series…The Barnstormers trail Sugar Land by one game in the division, the first time this season that the club has not held at least a share of the top spot.