Malden – Lexington took a 3-0 lead in the top of the fourth and hung on for a 3-2 win to send the semifinal series to a game five Tuesday night in Lexington.
Scoring first for the third straight game, the Blue Sox plated two runs in the second inning, the first time either team scored before the fourth inning in the series. With one out Richie Burgos and Julian Alvarez each singled to start the rally. Ross Curley reached on a fielders’ choice, but all runners were safe due to an Alibrandis error. Dom Zaher followed with his fourth straight hit, and third RBI single to give the Sox a 1-0 lead. After the second out, Morgan Brown walked with the bases loaded to make it 2-0 Lexington.
The Sox made it 3-0 in the fourth when Zaher had his fifth consecutive single to start the inning. An infield out moved him to second and he scored from there on a double by Brown for his second RBI of the game and sixth of the series.
Alibrandis got on the board in the bottom of the fourth. A walk to Teddy Dziuba and fielder’s choices by David Lightbody and Bobby Barrett left the Alibrandis with two outs and Barrett on third due to an error by the Sox. Barrett scored on a second Blue Sox error and it was 3-1.
The home squad came right back in the fourth and with two outs Juan Parra walked. Parra stole second during Mike Maguires’ at bat, but then Maguire worked a work to put runners on first and second. Dziuba came through with a single to center that scored Parra, with his fifth RBI of the series, and it was 3-2 Lexington. Sox starter Alsis Herrera was lifted and Manny Delcarmen came in from the bullpen. Lightbody lifted a fly ball into right center and Sox right fielder Aaron Barbosa made a diving catch to end the rally and the inning.
Delcarmen gave up a single in the sixth and a walk in the seventh, but retired three batters on strike outs including Dziuba to end the game.
Herrera, made his second start of the series and pitched 4 2/3 innings. The lefty allowed three hits, two runs, one earned, walked four, and struck out five to even his record to 1-1. Delcarmen picked up his first save of the playoffs.
For Alibrandis, starter Sean Sullivan pitched a complete game, giving up 10 hits, the most by a team in the series. He struck out six and walked one, the least by a Alibrandis pitcher in the series.
The winner of game five will advance to the finals where Watertown awaits after defeating Wakefield 13-0 tonight to take that series 3-1.
Game five is Tuesday night in Lexington with an 8:00 pm start.
– Bruce Hack, ICL correspondent