HAGERSTOWN, MD - The BlueClaws are going back to the finals! Lakewood held off Hagerstown, stranding the bases loaded in the eighth, and topped the Suns 5-2 on Friday night to advance to the South Atlantic League Championship Series.
Lakewood won the series opener 6-1 on Wednesday and swept the series with a 5-2 win Friday. The Championship Series opens on Monday night at either Rome or Charleston. The series between the Braves and RiverDogs is tied 1-1 after Charleston took a 4-3 win Friday. Games one and two are at the Southern Division Champion with Game Three in Lakewood on Thursday night.
The BlueClaws jumped out to a quick 2-0 first inning lead off Tyler Watson when Wilson Garcia delivered a two-out, two-run double. However, Hagerstown's Ian Sagdal homered off Jose Taveras leading off the bottom of the first inning to cut the lead to 2-1.
Lakewood added a run in the third when Mark Laird scored on a fielding error by third baseman Tyler Beckwith. Beckwith atoned for the mistake with a safety squeeze in the fifth to bring Hagerstown within 3-2. After the bunt, the Suns had two-on with one-out, but Ian Sagdal lined out into a double-play - shortstop Emmanuel Garcia to second baseman Grenny Cumana - to end the threat. Laird would finish the night with four hits and a walk for the BlueClaws.
Hagerstown starter Tyler Watson was lifted after 4 2/3 innings, allowing three runs, two earned, on two walks with four strikeouts.
The BlueClaws extended their lead with two enormous insurance runs in the seventh inning. After Jake Johansen put two runners on base, Damek Tomscha hit a two-run triple off Mariano Rivera III to give the BlueClaws a 5-2 lead. Tomscha had a two-run double in the series opener Wednesday at FirstEnergy Park and reached base four times in Friday's game (two walks, a hit batsman, and a triple).
Taveras pitched into the eighth, coming out with none out and two on. Jacob Waguespack got two outs in the inning and Zach Morris got Rhett Wiseman to fly out with the bases loaded. Sutter McLoughlin threw a 1-2-3 ninth inning for the save.