Once again a lack of execution in clutch situations leads to a Barnstormers loss. Going 0-7 with runners in scoring position, Lancaster dropped the series opener to Sugar Land 3-2 on Tuesday night.
Two situations in the eighth and ninth innings were especially detrimental for the Barnstormers. With the game tied at 2 in the eighth inning, Lancaster was looking find a way to push a run across the plate that would have given them the lead. Lance Zawadski and K.C. Hobson both reached base via walk and single. Travis Witherspoon then hit a bunt down the third base line that Skeeters catcher Travis Scott fielded perfectly and threw to third to get the lead runner (Zawadski) out. Immediately after, Charlie Cutler hit into a 4-6-3 double-play, which left the game tied heading into the ninth inning.
In the top of the ninth inning, Delwyn Young reach base via walk off of Scott Gracey. Travis Scott, who has hurt the Barnstormers before at Clipper Magazine Stadium, hit a double that scored Young to give Sugar Land the 3-2 lead. With their backs against the wall, the Barnstormers had one more inning to manufacture a run.
Lancaster would have to overcome a tough task at hand against a formidable pitcher. Sugar Land closer Derrick Loop (0.43 ERA) entered Tuesday night with only one earned run charged against him in 21 innings pitched. With one out, Lancaster got two runners on as Josh Whitaker and Josh Bell both walked. But after the long build-up, the game was over as Sean Halton flew out to left-center and Mike McDade struck out.
With the loss, the Barnstormers have now lost five out of their last six. The loss also gives Sugar Land second place in the Freedom Division. Lancaster falls to third place.
- McDade went 0-4 at the dish with three strikeouts, ending his hitting streak at 18 games, just two short of the tying the franchise record (Matt LeCroy, 2008).
- Scott Gracey took the loss for Lancaster. Gracey is now 2-3 in 22 appearances, and all three of his losses have occurred in the last week.
- Both starting pitchers went seven innings and allowed two runs apiece. Jake Hale allowed five hits and struck out nine; Bryan Evans allowed four hits and also struck out nine.
- Chris Rearick earned his second win of the season. In the eighth inning he allowed one hit and a walk, but got out of it with Witherspoon’s bunt and Cutler’s double-play. Loop earned his 13th save.
- Lancaster manager Butch Hobson was ejected at the end of the third inning after K.C. Hobson struck out on a questionable strike three call. Home-plate umpire Matt Beaver was inconsistent throughout the game and had several questionable calls.
The Barnstormers and the Skeeters will do battle in game two of this three-game series tomorrow night with first pitch at 7:00 pm at Clipper Magazine Stadium. The pitching match-up will be Sugar Land’s Sean Gallagher (5-3, 3.09 ERA) vs Lancaster’s Tanner Peters (1-2, 6.52 ERA).