The series finale in Long Island was a night that belonged to the pitchers. In the final game of a road heavy start to the season for Southern Maryland, this would be the final push before returning home for an eight game, seven-day homestand. The Blue Crabs knew coming in that they could use a victory to propel them after a bleak start to the 2019 campaign, and they fought with all their might, but it wouldn’t be enough in what ended as a 1-0 Ducks’ victory.
Brandon Cumpton (0-2) got the start for the Blue Crabs, and Darin Downs (1-0) for the Ducks. Neither starter gave an inch to the other, as they went back forth sawing off their opponents’ batsmen.
In what was the only multi-hit half inning of the game, the bottom of the third was dangerous as Ramon Cabrera singled, and Steve Lombardozzi did the same. The pair of hits looked as if they would spell the first run of the affair until Blue Crabs’ center fielder Cory Vaughn stepped in. When the latter of the singles was hit to Vaughn, he fired a laser to shortstop Edwin Garcia, who cut off the Ducks’ Cabrera on his way home to the keep the game scoreless.
Neither the Blue Crabs nor the Ducks could manage to string together any form of offense in a battle of defense and pitching. Downs lasted six scoreless innings, and Cumpton lasted seven, in a classic match of who will flinch first.
Southern Maryland had a chance in the top of the eighth to pounce on the Ducks when Vaughn singled to lead off the inning. Designated hitter Craig Maddox tried to move the speedy Vaughn into scoring position with a bunt, but Long Island was able to roll a double play on the sacrifice attempt, and the game would remain without a crooked number in the runs column.
The clash didn’t cease when the starters called it quits. Sean Nolin (W, 1-0) came into relieve Downs, and El’Hajj Muhammad (0-1) came in place of Cumpton, and the fantastic pitching continued as we headed into the ninth.
Southern Maryland opted for Ryan Chaffee (L, 0-1) to grace the mound in the bottom of the ninth. A Ducks’ leadoff double followed by a Blue Crabs error put the winning run at third base with no outs. Back-to-back strikeouts from Chaffee had the game one out away from extra innings, but a wild pitch brought home the game winning run, and Long Island walked it off on a 1-0 victory, their second walk-off of the series.
The Blue Crabs return home on May 10th to begin a seven-day, eight game homestand at Regency Furniture Stadium.