The Southern Maryland Blue Crabs (6-6) won game two of a four-game series with the Sugar Land Skeeters (5-7) 3-2, behind 8.2 strong innings from their starter Justin De Fratus (2-1).
De Fratus took the mound for the Blue Crabs in his third start of the season, coming off his first win as a Blue Crabs last Wednesday against York. The Blue Crabs gave him run support early, scoring two in the bottom of the second inning. Zach Cone took a pitch off of his hand for the first baserunner in the inning, with Patrick Palmeiro doubling down the third-base line to put runners on second and third with one out. With the infield playing in for Sugar Land, Edwin Garcia flipped a single to shallow right-center field, scoring both runners for Southern Maryland.
De Fratus took a no-hit bid to the fifth inning, before allowing a single to Chris Nelson with two outs in the inning. He stayed out of trouble until the sixth inning, when Josh Prince squared to bunt, which De Fratus picked up and threw down the right field line, allowing Derek Miller to score from first. De Fratus then struck out the next batter, and got the powerful Jeremy Barfield to roll over one to the mound, stranding Prince at third and holding the lead at 2-1.
“I felt like I had good control of my stuff all night and I was able to command both sides of the plate really well,” said De Fratus. “(Catcher) Mike Blanke called a great game behind the plate for me and kept me working at a really good tempo, which allowed me to work later in the game than I usually do.”
The teams traded scoreless innings in the seventh, before the Blue Crabs clean-up hitter, Michael Snyder, provided an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth on his first homerun of the year. “It felt good to get the big home run tonight and come through for my team,” said Snyder. “I knew off the bat it had a chance, and it definitely couldn’t have come at a better time for us.”
Working with a 3-1 lead, De Fratus returned to the mound in the ninth, looking for his first nine-inning complete game. He allowed a leadoff single to Lance Zawadzki, before recording back-to-back outs. Down to his last strike, Joe Benson singled to keep the game alive for Sugar Land. After a check swing with two strikes went his way and was called a ball, Chris Nelson singled up the middle to score a run and bring the score to 3-2 with runners on the corners. The Blue Crabs turned the game over to closer Cody Eppley (S,4), who got a ground ball down the third base line, which Palmeiro backhanded at third and made a running throw to get Anthony Giansanti by a step to end the game.
The Blue Crabs take on Sugar Land again Wednesday, May 3rd in game three of the four-game series. Southern Maryland will send veteran starter LHP Pat Misch (0-1, 10.38 ERA) to the mound, to face RHP Brett Marshall (2-0, 3.18 ERA) for the Skeeters. First pitch is scheduled for 10:35 A.M. on Wednesday for Baseball in Education Day at Regency Furniture Stadium.
For more information on the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, or to reserve your seat today for any of the Blue Crabs upcoming home games, please visit our website at somdbluecrabs.com or call us at 301-638-9788.