After winning the title quite literally on the road, the York Revolution seized the outright first half Freedom Division championship with a 4-3 win over the Lancaster Barnstormers on Friday night at PeoplesBank Park.
The Revs (39-29) kept pace for the top first half mark in the Atlantic League and downed the Barnstormers (33-34) to open the latest chapter in the War of the Roses presented by PNC Bank.
Micah Owings started on the mound for York and struck out the side on the way to three hitless innings. He walked one and struck out five before giving way to Matt Neil (3-0). Neil, who announced his retirement earlier in the day, scattered four hits over four scoreless innings, walking none and striking out two in what may be his final game.
Tanner Peters (3-3) took the loss after allowing three runs (two earned) on six hits in 5.1 innings. Scott Rice earned his first save of the season with a 1-2-3 ninth.
After a scoreless two innings to start the game, Michael Rockett singled to lead off the bottom of the third. A strikeout and flyout later, Kevin Rivers banged a triple off the wall in right field, bringing home Rockett to make it 1-0 York.
The Revs got a couple insurance runs in the bottom of the sixth. Michael Burgess led off with a double and came home on a Keith Castillo double two batters later. Castillo eventually moved up to third on a passed ball and dove into the plate on a wild pitch to give his team a 3-0 cushion.
Rivers followed up his RBI triple with a run-scoring double in the seventh, also with two outs, to make it 4-0.
Lancaster plated three in the eighth to get back into it. Kevin Ahrens broke up the shutout with an RBI groundout, then with two outs and a man on third, Josh Bell blasted a home run to right center to get the Barnstormers within one.
Rice needed just five pitches to close out the ninth and set up a wild clubhouse celebration.
Rivers led the way in his first home game with the Revs, going 2-for-4 with a double, triple, and two RBIs. Rockett went 2-for-5 with a pair of runs, and Burgess notched a single and a double with a run.
Bell and Sean Halton each went 2-for-4 for the Barnstormers.
Notes: York clinched the first half division title with a win at Long Island yesterday and losses by Sugar Land and Lancaster. The Revs’ team bus was somewhere in Queens at 11:39 p.m. when Southern Maryland finished off Sugar Land, clinching the division for York. The Revs won the first half division title for the third time in franchise history (2010, 2014) and clinched their sixth playoff berth in 10 seasons. June 30 marks the earliest York has clinched a playoff berth, beating the 2010 squad by a day. The Revs now have 100 regular season wins against the Barnstormers, marking the second time York has crossed the century mark against one Atlantic League opponent (Bridgeport). Scott Rice earned his second Revolution save five years and one month to the day of his first (June 1, 2011 at Southern Maryland). The Revs and Barnstormers will continue the War of the Roses presented by PNC Bank on Saturday night with Frank Gailey (2-0, 2.55) matching up against Mike Lee (3-2, 4.84).