Lancaster's Darian Sandford broke for home as soon as the ball landed in the glove of Somerset second baseman Rey Navarro for the second out in the sixth inning Thursday night. Snadford's Barnstormers trailed, 2-0, and as he bolted toward the plate, Navarro delivered a strike, catcher Michael Ohlman applied the tag, and the Patriots left the inning unscathed on their way to a 3-0 victory.
It was the 13th loss in 15 outings for the Barnstormers (20-38), who were shut out for the third time this season on five hits. The win moved the Patriots (36-23) into a first-place tie with Long Island atop the Atlantic League's Freedom Division with 10 games left in the first half.
"I think we do have to start playing better when we get down," said Barnstormers manager Ross Peeples, "It seems like our energy's there, and then all of a sudden, when we give up a run or two, it seems like we fall into our shell a little bit, and we struggle to get it back."
Somerset survives the leadoff double from Sandford, who tagged and advanced to third on a flyout and was thrown out at the plate to end the threat. Patriots lead Lancaster 2-0 through six. pic.twitter.com/PVPsQV7Ma5— Tim Gross (@TimGrossLNP) June 28, 2019
Somerset struck in the top half of the first. Ramon Flores led off the game with a sharp single into shallow left field and later scored from third on a passed ball.
The Patriots tacked on another run in the fifth. After Lancaster starter John Anderson (5-4) had retired 12 consecutive Patriot batters, Ohlman led off the inning with a double to left-center and later scored on a two-out single from Alfredo Rodriguez. Will Kengor added an insurance run in the eighth inning with a home run to right-center.
In the meantime, Somerset starting pitcher David Holmberg (1-2) worked his way through seven shutout innings, allowing four hits and stranding four Lancaster baserunners. He needed six pitches to retire the Barnstormers in the fourth and five in the fifth.
"We've been too passive lately," Peeples said of his team's approach at the plate. "We're just trying to be a little bit more aggressive."
Mike Antonini strikes out K.C. Hobson for his 23rd save of the season, sealing Somerset's 3-0 win over Lancaster. pic.twitter.com/VKxvw6od2X— Tim Gross (@TimGrossLNP) June 28, 2019
Mike Broadway pitched a scoreless eighth, and Mike Antonini recorded his 13th consecutive successful save.
"We didn't hit," Peeples said, "especially in our chances with guys on base."
Anderson (5-4) pitched his way through six innings, allowing the two runs, one earned, on six hits while striking out three and walking one in the second quality start for a Lancaster pitcher in a loss in as many days. Buddy Baumann had pitched a complete game in Wednesday night's 2-1 loss.
"It's definitely promising," Peeples said. "Pitching has been putting us behind a little, so seeing our staff perform like this is a good sign. Anderson pitched very well today."
The 'Stormers remain at Clipper Magazine Stadium for a weekend series with the Maryland Blue Crabs, scheduled to begin Friday at 7 p.m.
Somerset threatens some more in the top half of the fifth with runners on second and third. Lancaster SP John Anderson limits the damage by getting Ramon Flores to ground out for the third out. Patriots lead 2-0. pic.twitter.com/tiMCIPOkUl— Tim Gross (@TimGrossLNP) June 28, 2019