Southern Maryland has been led in large part by their starting pitching and offensive production in the middle innings this season. On a night in which the squad could get neither of their fortes to work to their advantage, the Ducks came out victorious 7-2 in the second of a three-game set.
Craig Stem (1-0) has arguably been the best pitcher in the Atlantic League to begin the young season. Coming into his start against Long Island he hadn’t allowed a single run on the season, and is fresh off an eight inning outing in which he allowed just one hit. He continued on his torrid pace today starting the game with two great innings, giving him 16 consecutive scoreless innings.
The Ducks would however tack on the first run of the game on a Kirk Nieuwenhuis RBI single in the third inning. As has become the norm in Blue Crabs games this season, the first three innings featured little offense from either side. Southern Maryland got their offense going in the following inning, when Rubi Silva extended his league high hit streak to 11 with a triple to left field, and Frank Martinez brought Rubi home to even things up in the next at bat.
Three straight Long Island base hits in the bottom of the fourth put up a pair to put the Ducks up 3-1 in the bottom of the fourth and after a scoreless fifth, Stem’s day was over, and it was yet again another fantastic performance. Andrew Johnston (0-0) and Miguel Nunez (0-0) would tag team in relief over the next 1 1/3 innings and allow four runs to give the Ducks a healthy 7-1 lead heading into the final third of the ballgame, continuing the trend of heavy scoring in the middle innings.
The Blue Crabs battled back in the top of the ninth to tack on one run but it wouldn’t end up being enough to muster a comeback. Long Island would end up taking down Southern Maryland by a final score of 7-2.
The Blue Crabs return home on May 10th to begin a seven-day, eight game homestand at Regency Furniture Stadium.