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Southern Maryland Takes Game Three

The Lancaster Barnstormers attempted another last ditch comeback on Friday night.

This time, Michael Wielansky and the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs would not let it happen.

Wielansky made a diving stop on a smash by Shawon Dunston, Jr. and turned it into the final out on Friday night to preserve a 7-3 Blue Crabs victory in the third game of the best-of-five North Division series, putting Lancaster on the brink of elimination.

With two outs in the ninth, Lancaster loaded the bases on consecutive two-out singles by Anthony Peroni, Jake Hoover and Trace Loehr off James Dykstra.  The Blue Crabs summoned their closer Endrys Briceno, who relinquished the four-run lead on Wednesday.  Dunston reached him with a hard grounder to the hole on the right side.  Wielansky made the diving stop to his left and was able to scramble to get the out on the speedy Dunston to end the game.

Southern Maryland built an early lead on walks and homers.  Nile Ball (0-1) issued two walks and made a bad pickoff throw in the second to give the Blue Crabs their first run.  Wielansky walked to open the third and scored in front of Zach Collier’s long homer to right.  Alex Crosby, just back from representing Great Britain in the WBC qualifying tournament in Germany cracked a homer in the fifth for a 4-0 lead.

Three more runs crossed in the bottom of the sixth.  Ball left after a leadoff walk and one-out single.  Bret Clarke yielded a pair of RBI singles and a walk.  Dominic DiSabatino walked David Harris to force home Southern Maryland’s seventh run before going on a strikeout rampage, fanning five in a row.

Alex Merithew (1-0) stymied the Barnstormers entirely for five innings before surrendering singles to Jake Hoover and Melvin Mercedes in the sixth.

For the second consecutive game, Jacob Barfield got the Barnstormers on the board with a two-out homer in the seventh, this time a solo shot.  Lancaster picked up a pair of runs in the eighth as Hoover led off with a walk, and a single by Loehr chased him to third and Merithew from the game.  Dunston drove home a run with a sacrifice fly.  Mercedes doubled inside first, and Andretty Cordero made it 7-3 with an infield out, keeping Lancaster within striking distance for the ninth.

Cameron Gann (9-8) gets the baseball on Saturday night to keep the Barnstormers alive.  He will be matched up against Eddie Butler (12-6).  Fans may tune into the Barnstormers YouTube channel, starting at 6:30.

NOTES:  Lancaster is 0-3 all-time in playoff games at Regency Furniture Stadium…They had scored only one run in the first 24 post-season innings at Southern Maryland…The Barnstormers have not scored in the first six innings in any game of the series (0 runs, 8 hits)…From the seventh inning on, the club has 12 runs on 16 hits…Mercedes and Hoover are the only ‘Stormers to have hits in all three games of the series…DiSabatino finished with six strikeouts in 2 2/3 innings after fanning nine in four innings on Sunday…Ball walked seven after not issuing more than four in any regular season start.