Beginning their longest home stand of the 2012 Atlantic League season (10 games), the Somerset Patriots were looking to get back to .500 and gain ground on the wild card spot, reserved for the second-place team in the division.
Somerset trails York by 3.5 games for the spot, as the Lancaster Barnstormers (who won the 1st half title) are 12.5 games ahead overall and well on their way to winning both halves of the Freedom Division.
However, Somerset was unable to capitalize against the Camden Riversharks, losing two out of three in a mid-week series. Justin Cassel started for the Patriots on Tuesday evening, in front of 5,110 at TD Bank Ballpark.
Cassel has been one of the more reliable pitchers for Somerset, sporting a near 3.00 ERA in 2012, but has lacked run support from the offense, leading to his 3-8 record. Cassel held Camden to a run through six innings but the seventh led to his undoing.
Base hits by catcher Raul Padron and right fielder Steven Doetsch led to a two-run seventh, aided by an error by Patriots second baseman Freddie Bynum that kept Camden going. Cassel would leave after seven, surrendering nine hits, three runs and striking out seven.
For Somerset, they could not figure out Riversharks starter Bryan Corey, who sported a 6.14 ERA and has given up the most home runs in the AL this season coming into Tuesday’s game.
Corey had a one-hit shutout going into the seventh inning, but Bynum came up after his mistake and singled to center field and shortstop Yunesky Sanchez singled to right field to give Somerset a chance to answer. However, the Patriots were unable to bring the runs home.
Somerset made a charge the following inning, with catcher Adam Donachie leading off with a double to center field and left fielder Johnny Drennen reaching on an infield single to give the Patriots runners at 1st and 2nd.
A sac-bunt by right fielder Rian Kiniry moved the runners into scoring position and an RBI groundout to first by center fielder Joe Holden cut the Camden lead to 3-1. Somerset would not get any closer and took the 3-1 defeat. Corey took the win, pitching seven innings, giving up 4 hits, one run and striking out six Patriot batters.
A day game followed the night game on Wednesday, with Jon Kibler starting for Somerset and he was countered by Eddy Camacho for Camden. The Riversharks had a 3-0 lead through five innings, after an RBI single by designated hitter Eduardo Perez scored Pedro Feliz in the third inning. In the fourth, Camden tacked on two runs after an error by second baseman Dan Hennigan allowed Alvin Colina and Danny Santiesteban to score.
Somerset responded with a three-run sixth inning to tie the game. Hennigan drew a walk and advanced to third on a single by shortstop Dan DeGeorge. With runners at the corners, Sanchez doubled to left field, scoring two and cutting the lead to 3-2.
After a Camden pitching change, right fielder Corey Smith singled to center field, giving Somerset runners at the corners again. An RBI groundout by first baseman Jesse Hoorelbeke scored the third run.
The game was tied at three until the bottom of the ninth, where Somerset came up with some magic. Left fielder Yusuf Carter doubled to left field, Holden singled to shortstop and Bynum (as a substitution for Hennigan) drew an intentional walk, loading the bases for DeGeorge.
DeGeorge singled to left field, giving the Patriots a 4-3 win. Andrew Dobies took the win in relief, after pitching one inning and surrendering a hit. Zach Hammes took the loss for Camden, pitching 1.1 innings, giving up three hits, one run and striking out one.
Yesterday, the Patriots sent Sean Green to the hill and the Riversharks countered with Keith Weiser in front of 5,992 at TD Bank Ballpark. Green, who entered the game losing two straight decisions, giving up 14 earned runs and 22 hits in seven innings pitched, was better but not good enough.
Green would give up four runs (three solo-home runs) in six innings pitched, on five hits, three walks and striking out six Rivershark batters. Designated hitter Delwyn Young put Camden on the board in the first with a solo-HR to LF for a 1-0 lead. An RBI single by second baseman Lloyd Turner scored Perez and increased the lead to 2-0 in the second inning.
Somerset would load the bases in the second inning but Holden would strike out, stranding three. In the third inning, Young went deep to right field, for his second solo-home run of the night, increasing the Riversharks lead to 3-0. The Patriots would finally answer in the bottom half, after loading the bases again. Smith hit a sac-fly to right field, scoring Hennigan but the remaining runners would be stranded.
In the fourth, Perez continued the solo-home run train, taking Green over the left field fence and extending the lead to 4-1. Somerset would answer in the seventh and eighth innings, on an RBI fielder’s choice play by DeGeorge, scoring Holden in the seventh and a solo-home run by Smith in the eighth.
This would be the final as Weiser earned the win after pitching six innings, giving up one run on six hits, striking out six and walking four. Green took his fourth loss, pitching six innings, surrendering four runs on five hits, walking three and striking out six.
The Patriots home stand continues with a four-game weekend series against the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, with a scheduled 7:05 p.m. first pitch tonight. Saturday will be a double header, starting at 5:05 p.m. After the games end, there will be fireworks today and Saturday. Sunday’s game starts at 5:05 p.m. and there will be a pre-game autograph session.