Southern Maryland first baseman Zach Wilson had three chances with the bases loaded on Tuesday evening. He only failed on the first.
Wilson launched a grand slam in the fifth inning and broke an extra-inning deadlock with a two-run single in the 10th to lift the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs to a 12-9 victory at Clipper Magazine Stadium in the middle game of a three-game series.
Edwin Garcia opened the top of the tenth with a walk and advanced on Mike Blanke’s bunt. Gary Brown singled through the right side to put runners at the corners. Anthony Carter (1-2) hit Danny Muno with a pitch to load the bases. He struck out Cory Vaughn for a crucial second out, but Wilson spanked a single to the right of shortstop Vladimir Frias to score the go-ahead runs. Zach Cone tacked on an identical single for an insurance tally.
Three homers had boosted the Barnstormers to a 5-1 lead against Daryl Thompson over the first four innings. Sean Halton and K.C. Hobson went back-to-back in the first, and Anderson De La Rosa chimed in with a two-run liner to right center in the fourth inning.
Nate Reed allowed only two hits and an unearned run over the first four innings, including an escape from the third when he retired Wilson on a tapper in front of the plate for the final out with the sacks full.
Reed then suffered a horrifying reversal of fortune in the top of the fifth. Garcia led off with a single to left center, and Blanke followed with a base hit to left. Brown took Reed to the base of the right field wall to cut the lead to 5-2. Muno beat out a dribbler along the third base line to fill the bags. Vaughn picked up a walk to force home one run. Wilson followed with his drive to right center, good for his second homer of the season and a 7-5 lead. The barrage continued as Cone singled to left, and Patrick Palmeiro slammed a two-run homer to left. Eight batters, eight runs.
Then, just as quickly as it started, the siege ended. Reed got the next three batters quickly to end the inning.
Lancaster, the Atlantic League’s top hitting team, fought back. Halton lofted his second homer of the night onto the picnic deck in the fifth, bringing Lancaster within three.
The Barnstormers added another run in the seventh when leadoff man Darian Sandford beat out an infield single, stole second and rode home on a Caleb Gindl single up the middle.
In the eighth, the Barnstormers tied the game. Trayvon Robinson picked up his second walk of the game and scored quickly when Kevin Ahrens drilled a triple off the batter’s eye. Ahrens waited at third with the tying run through two quick outs, but Sandford brought him home with an infield single to tie the game.
Robert Carson (2-0) notched the win with a perfect ninth inning on three fly outs to center. Cody Eppley recorded his seventh save with a 1-2-3 bottom of the tenth.
The two clubs play the rubber game of the three-game series on Wednesday morning. Lancaster will send Bryan Evans (0-1) to the hill against Brian Grening (1-0).
NOTES: Ahrens drove in a run for the sixth straight game, three shy of the franchise record…The Barnstormers reached four runs and eight hits for the 15th consecutive contest…Halton became the first Barnstormer with a two-hit game this season…Sandford, with a scoring change in the eighth inning, picked up the first four-hit game by a ‘Stormer this season…Frias lost a nine-game hitting streak…Gindl picked up his 19th RBI in 12 games…Sandford had his fourth multi-steal game.