The Somerset Patriots opened the second half of the Atlantic League season with a 6-4 win over the Camden Riversharks in front of 7,709 people at TD Bank Ballpark Friday night.
Coming off winning the last four games and six out of eight to end the first half, Somerset was primed for a good performance. Somerset’s bats were hot early in the game, especially with two outs. Atlantic League all-stars Jeff Nettles and Jesse Hoorelbeke would reach base in the first and third innings, with two down in each inning.
In the third, Nettles doubled off the left field fence to set up Hoorelbeke, who was making his return after being on the disabled list since June 21 (back). Hoorelbeke followed by hitting his 12th homer over the left field fence to give Somerset a 2-0 lead.
Doug Arguello started for the Patriots and was on early. Coming off a win in his last start at Southern Maryland July 6, Arguello struck out four and only allowed one base runner through 3.2 innings on Friday.
The Patriots southpaw surrendered his first hit to Camden’s Pedro Feliz in the fourth inning – however, he was tagged out at second base after attempting to take second base on a wild pitch.
Somerset made it 4-0 in the bottom of the fourth via solo home runs by Yusuf Carter (9) and Jonny Tucker (2). In the next inning, the Patriots would continue the onslaught against Camden starter Keith Weiser. Newly acquired Jake Fox reached on an error by Camden shortstop Jake Eigsti and Aaron Mathews hitting his fourth home run of the year over the left field fence for a 6-0 Somerset lead.
Weiser’s night was through after throwing 4.1 innings, giving up eight hits, six runs (one unearned), three strikeouts and one walk. For Somerset, this was the first time the team has hit four home runs in a game since May 7, 2011 at home against Lancaster.
While all looked well for Arguello and Somerset, the momentum would shift in the next half inning. Arguello’s command was starting to wane and Carter was having issues handling pitches behind the plate. Like Somerset, Camden’s damage was done with two away.
Rivershark second baseman Paddy Matera drew a two-out walk and designated Eduardo Perez followed by being hit by a pitch. Feliz came up and smashed a three-run home run over the left field fence, cutting the Somerset lead in half: 6-3.
Camden first baseman Raul Padron reached first base, after striking out but Arguello’s wild pitch and mishandling by Carter allowed him on. Rivershark catcher Alvin Colina reached on an error, after a ball hit down the first base line went through the legs of Fox, to give Camden runners at the corners. Padron eventually scored on another wild pitch to cut Somerset’s lead to 6-4.
Arguello’s night was over after six innings, giving up four runs (one unearned) on two hits, walking three and striking out seven Rivershark batters. Josh Rupe came in for the ninth inning and earned his 15th save of the season, as the Patriots got over .500 for the first time since May 27. Arguello won his fifth game of the 2012 season, while Weiser took his fifth loss.
Somerset continues their series against Camden at 7:05 p.m. on Saturday and 5:05 p.m. Sunday, before going on the road for seven games against Long Island and Southern Maryland.
- Outfielder Johnny Drennen (concussion) and pitcher Travis Bowyer (shoulder) started the second half on the disabled list. Drennen went on the list June 29 after hitting the wall and knocking himself out attempting to field a fly ball. Bowyer has been on the DL since June 14.
- Two of Somerset’s top starting pitchers in the first half: Paul Phillips and Mike MacDonald, moved on to greater opportunities. The Lamigo Monkeys of the Chinese Professional Baseball League in Taiwan purchased Phillips’ contract. Phillips was in line for an All-Star game appearance after going 8-2 in his first year as a Patriot. The Boston Red Sox affiliate Portland Seadogs in Double-A, the, picked up MacDonald’s contract.
- Outfielder Rian Kiniry was acquired from York as part of the Michael Hernandez trade that took place in the off-season on July 2. Former Mets pitchers Sean Green and Toby Stoner signed on the same day.
- Fox signed with the team on Friday. Patriots catcher Lou Santangelo was released to make room for Fox on the roster.