Defending their Atlantic League championship has not been easy for the Sugar Land Skeeters.
Following all the pomp and circumstance of Opening Day festivities, which included presenting championship rings to the players, the team fell flat and got crushed by the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, 9-1, Thursday night.
The drubbing continued into the second game on Friday when the Skeeters fell behind 6-0 in the top of the seventh. The momentum swung the Skeeters way in the bottom of the inning when they scored five runs. The Skeeters tied it up in the eighth when C.J. McElroy singled in Cody Asche. They then got the walk-off win in the ninth when James Loney’s pop-up was mishandled by third baseman Frank Martinez, allowing Juan Silverio to score from third.
“I was thinking I just missed that pitch and when I heard the crowd roar, I knew it was a walk-off winner. That’s always a good feeling,” Loney said.
Reliever James Dykstra earned the win for the Skeeters.
The momentum continued into Saturday’s game at Constellation Field as the Skeeters ran ahead 6-0 through three innings and then held on to win, 6-3. Roy Merritt got the win and Felipe Paulino notched his first save.
Unfortunately for the Skeeters, the change in momentum continued for the Blue Crabs as Southern Maryland scored five unanswered runs through seven innings. The Skeeters did pick up a run in the eighth but lost 5-1 to even the series 2-2.
The Skeeters and Blue Crabs were to continue their seven-game series through Wednesday before the Skeeters take to the road to face the new High Point Rockers for four games beginning Thursday. The first game will be the inaugural home game for the Rockers at the new BB&T Point Stadium in High Point, N.C.
From there, the Skeeters will have the day off on Monday before playing a pair of games against the Lancaster Barnstormers. The team returns home May 10 for a 10-game homestand. They host the Long Island Ducks the first three games and then face the York Revolution for the remaining seven.
On May 10 there will be a post-game fireworks show and on May 11 there will be a Pete Incaviglia/Game of Thrones bobblehead giveaway.
Atlantic League standings
Wins – Losses – Games back
Sugar Land Skeeters 2-2-0
S. Maryland Blue Crabs 2-2-0
Lancaster Barnstormers 1-2-0.5
York Revolution 0-3-1.5
Long Island Ducks 3-0-0
High Point Rockers 2-1-1
Somerset Patriots 2-1-1
New Britain Bees 1-2-2