Scoring runs and winning games for the Somerset Patriots against the York Revolution has been a difficult task. However, the Patriots were able to find the solution on Saturday night in front of 6,484 at TD Bank Ballpark, as they won 4-1 over the Revs.
Coming into this contest, Somerset had lost the previous five games in 2012 against the two-time defending Atlantic League Champions. Run production has been an issue, with the Patriots being held to one run over the prior three games against York – with two consecutive 1-0 shutouts during the current series.
Roy Merritt started for Somerset and walked two batters in the first, but battled through. York countered with recent signee Chris Waters and he would have his own battle in the second inning.
Third baseman Jeff Nettles led off with a single past the third baseman Ramon Castro’s glove and designated hitter Yunesky Sanchez singled to right field to give Somerset runners at first and second with one out. However, both runners were stranded and Waters got out of the jam.
York pulled Waters after two innings for originally scheduled starter Omar Javier in the bottom of the third inning, possibly due to a pitch count. Waters was signed Wednesday by York and is returning for Tommy John surgery.
Patriots shortstop Dan DeGeorge led off the third with a single to center field and right fielder Joe Holden drew a walk. Jonny Tucker grounded back to Javier, who threw to third to get DeGeorge. With one down, second baseman Freddie Bynum grounded out to first and Nettles hit a fly out to center field to strand another two runners.
Merritt would continue to pitch well, no hitting the Revolution through the first five innings. In the bottom half of the inning, Somerset scored their first runs of the series. DeGeorge led off with a double and Holden singled to short left field to give Somerset runners at the corners with no outs.
Tucker hit an RBI groundout to third base, scoring DeGeorge for a 1-0 Patriots lead. Bynum hit a line drive single to left field, putting runners at the corners again. Nettles came up and hit a sacrifice fly to left field, scoring Holden for a 2-0 Somerset lead. Bynum advanced to second on the throwback.
First baseman Jesse Hoorelbeke was up next and Javier threw a wild pitch, allowing Bynum to advance to third base. Hoorelbeke drew a walk and Somerset continued to apply pressure on Javier. Sanchez hit an RBI double next to the left field wall, scoring Bynum and increasing the lead to 3-0.
With runners at second and third, left fielder Johnny Drennen grounded to second to end the rally. This inning ended 24 straight shutout innings for York against Somerset, going all the way back to the last game of their opening series in May.
Merritt would continue his solid performance in the sixth inning, but surrendered a one-out hit to York first baseman Chris Nowak to end the no-hitter attempt. Coming out for the seventh inning, Merritt suffered cramping in both legs during his warm-up tosses. Manager Sparky Lyle would pull him for reliever Mike Solbach, who would get into a jam.
Designated hitter James Shanks drew a walk and catcher Salvador Paniagua singled to left field. Shanks advanced from first to third on the Paniagua hit. However, Revolution left fielder Brandon Haveman grounded into an inning-ending 4-6-3 double play.
Somerset brought closer Josh Rupe in for the save in the ninth inning, with the Patriots holding a 3-0 lead. Friday’s game against York was decided on the first pitch thrown by Rupe. Rupe surrendered solo home run over the left field fence to Revolution third baseman Ramon Castro, for the eventual 1-0 final. After striking out former Patriot Michael Hernandez for the first out, Rupe gave up a solo home run to second baseman Andres Perez over the left field fence. The shutout was lost but Rupe recovered and earned the save.
Somerset wins 3-1 and goes into the final game of the four-game set with a chance to split along with gaining another game on York in the Freedom Division standings. Merritt (4-1) threw six shutout innings, striking out six, walking four and yielding one hit. Javier (0-5) threw four innings, giving up six hits, three runs (all earned) and two walks. Rupe earned his ninth save of the season.
Somerset plays a Sunday afternoon game for Father’s Day, with first pitch scheduled for 1:05 p.m. After this game, the Patriots go on the road for six games against Southern Maryland and Bridgeport, before returning home June 25 for a seven-game home stand against Long Island and Bridgeport.
- SS Rex Rundgren was placed on inactive list; RHP Travis Bowyer on DL (sore right shoulder) and activated C Lou Santangelo from DL on June 14.
- Sanchez was acquired from the Laredo Lemurs on June 8 for future considerations. On the same day, LHP David Quinowski was released.
- Friday’s game was the second largest attendance in the history of Somerset at 8,326 and third largest all-time in the Atlantic League. The largest attendance for Somerset was 8,532 on July 3, 2009.
- Scheduled starters for Sunday’s game: Justin Cassel for Somerset vs. James Houser for York.