NEW BRITAIN - A Michael Crouse three-run homer in the sixth inning turned a deficit into a lead for New Britain, then a two-out Conor Bierfeldt RBI single in the ninth inning of a tie game gave the Bees a walk-off 5-4 victory at New Britain Stadium on Sunday afternoon over the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs.
Southern Maryland took an early lead when it scored two runs in the top of the second inning of New Britain starter Mike Lee.
Zach Cone started the rally for the Blue Crabs with a leadoff single to left field, later steaking second base and moving to third on a throwing error. Patrick Palmeiro then delivered an RBI double to put the visitors ahead 1-0. With two outs, Edwin Garcia hit an RBI single to right field for the 2-0 lead.
New Britain got on the board in the bottom of the fifth, cutting the lead in half thanks to some sloppy Southern Maryland fielding.
Jordan Hinshaw led off the inning with a solid single to left field, then was replaced on the bases as Crouse hit into a fielder’s choice. Crouse then stole second base and took third on a wild pitch before Jamar Walton hit an infield grounder. The Blue Crabs went for the play at the plate and were unsuccessful, as Crouse scored and Walton reached first on the fielder’s choice.
Yusuke Kajimoto singled and James Skelton walked to load the bases later in the inning, but the Bees were unable to get the tying run across.
Then in the sixth inning, Jon Griffin was hit by a pitch and Hinshaw singled with one out to set up Crouse’s three-run blast. Walton doubled after the homer, but was left stranded.
Lee, Brandon League and Nate Roe combined to keep Southern Maryland’s hitters at bay, maintining the 4-2 lead through the eighth inning, but Windham native Shawn Gilblair faltered in the ninth.
Ryan Wiggins greeted the New Britain reliever with a home run to start the inning before Gilblair retired the next two batters. Then Zach Wilson hit a game-tying blast. Gilblair gave up a pair of two-out walks after that, but managed to get a ground out to end the inning with the score tied.
Thanks to that, Gilblair (2-2) ended up getting credit for the win as the Bees rallied for the walk-off.
With Southern Maryland sending Jesse Beal to the mound, Skelton started the inning with a single to center field. A ground out and a strikeout left Skelton on second base with two outs. Bierfeldt then hit a 2-2 pitch into center field for the walk-off base hit.
It was the first loss of the season for Beal (5-1).
The walk-off single was Bierfeldt’s second walk-off hit of the season, and the first walk-off win for the Bees since May 28, also against Southern Maryland. … The Bees have now won back-to-back series at home. … Crouse has hit two three-run homers in his last three games. … Hinshaw had three hits in the game, his first three-hit game as a member of the Bees and his 12th multi-hit game overall. … League has not allowed a run in six consecutive outings. … New Britain has driven in eight runs via the long ball through their last three games. … The game was the first that New Britain’s opponent did not score in the first inning since July 5 (six games).