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Pitching Holds Off Southern Maryland, 6-5

Melvin Mercedes opened the Barnstormers offense with a leadoff home run, and the club added two more on Wednesday afternoon as Lancaster captured its exhibition opener, 6-5, over the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs at Clipper Magazine Stadium.  The game was halted after 7 ½ innings.

Along with Mercedes’ homer onto the picnic deck in right, Trace Loehr hit a two-run shot off Southern Maryland ace Daryl Thompson into the same neighborhood in the third inning for a temporary 3-2 lead.

However, it was Colton Shaver’s bomb onto the hillside in left off reliever Dalton Geekie in the fourth that gave the Barnstormers the lead they never lost.

Lancaster put two insurance runs onto the board in the bottom of the fifth.  Devon Torrence led off with a smash off the foot of Crabs right-hander Patrick Baker.  One-time Barnstormer Pedro Echemendia took over.  Torrence promptly stole second and rode home to score when Mercedes grounded a single into right.  Mercedes took second on the throw home and went to third on an infield out by Loehr.  He scored when Mark Zagunis doubled to deep left.

The Blue Crabs, who picked up a two-run homer from Jared Walker onto the bridge in right center in the first inning, initially tied the game in the fourth on an infield single by Connor Lien, a pop fly double down the left field line by Alex Crosby and a sacrifice fly by Ryan Haug.

Mercedes, who had moved from second to short, made a run-saving stop up the middle against Braxton Lee to close the fifth, an inning which began with a superb play on a deflection up the middle to Loehr.  Southern Maryland would narrow the gap in the sixth on singles by Lien and Austin Rei, and a two-run double into the left field corner by Scotty Burcham.

Chase Johnson struck out the side around an infield single by Jack Sundberg in the seventh, and Ben Wanger retired the side in order in the eighth on a fly ball to center and two strikeouts to earn the save.

Dominic DiSabatino pitched the top of the fourth to earn the win for Lancaster.

NOTES:  Each of the seven Barnstormers pitchers struck out at least one for a total of 12 on the afternoon…Mercedes scored three runs and drove in two…Torrence reached base on all three of his plate appearances with a single, double and walk…Cameron Gann, the only Lancaster hurler to go beyond one inning, retired all six batters he faced…The Barnstormers take on York at People’s Bank Park at 2:00 on Thursday afternoon.