Patriots force deciding Game 5 after 5-3 win over Long Island
Somerset staved off elimination and forced a do-or-die Game 5 after a win over Long Island.
Somerset Patriots manager Brett Jodie said over the last two days that there is no tomorrow for his team. With their backs against the wall and facing elimination in Game 4 of the Liberty Division Championship Series on Saturday night against the Long Island Ducks, the Patriots wasted no time taking their first lead of the series on a two-out RBI single from Ramon Flores in the first inning.
Receiving the start, Rick Teasley dodged in and out of jams through the first three innings thanks to some solid defense. In the bottom of the third, the Patriots provided some fireworks as Craig Massey cranked a solo home run over the right-field wall. With two outs, the red-hot Endy Chavez, fresh off a four-RBI night in Game 3, crushed a solo blast in nearly the same spot that Massey’s drive landed over the right-field wall.
“Nice to have a lead and it was the first time we had one in this series and be actually on top,” said Jodie. “We played some ball and to get some guys with hits and advancing runners. We used the long ball and that is actually fun. You can’t tell how you are going to get it done but we definitely will take it.”
“We were exactly asking that out of Rick. He only had a few starts in the second half and tried to build him up as much as possible and he started the last game of the regular season. To get one run that was a solo home run out of him was perfect. A great outing and gave us everything as far as we are concerned.”
Teasley’s only mistake in five innings on the mound was yielding a solo home run in the fifth. The rest of his line featured scattering six hits, walking one and striking out six. Turning the duties over to the bullpen, Ryan Webb came on in the sixth. Ducks left fielder Rubi Silva greeted Webb by hitting a solo missile over the left-center wall. After Webb issued back-to-back walks, Mike Antonini came on and promptly retired Daniel Fields on a deep fly out to center.
Mike Fransoso gave the Patriots some much need breathing room in the bottom half of the frame smoking a two-run blast deep over the right-field wall. In his last two games, Fransoso is 3-for-7 with three runs scored and three RBI’s.
“It’s been awesome. The guys in the clubhouse have been great after the Game 2 loss,” said Fransoso. “It’s easy to deflate and to lose Game 3, but we came into our home park without that mindset and said we’re going to win tonight. Guys are seeing the ball well and putting good at-bats together. We’re just taking what they give us and not trying to do too much up there. It’s about passing it on to the next guy, each guy has to do their job and unselfish baseball is what wins you playoff series. Little things stick out in postseason baseball.”
Even with a comfortable advantage late, Long Island refused to wave the white towel. In the eighth with runners at first & second and no one out, Somerset relief pitcher Logan Kensing escaped that jam unscathed striking out Silva and getting Dan Lyons to line out into a double play.
Called upon for a second night to close it out, Ryan Kelly was one out away from sealing the victory. Taylor Ard kept Long Island in it with an RBI double to left field. Facing the dangerous David Washington, who had homered three times in the series, Kelly reared back and struck out Washington. The Patriots’ win sends the series to a fifth and deciding game.
“Long Island was really coming back into the game at 3-2. We needed an answer and it was good to get a two-run answer from Fransoso,” Jodie said. “The bullpen was huge. The first couple of games, we didn’t have to use them but last two days used them a good amount.”
Now it all comes down to Game 5 on Sunday afternoon with first pitch at 5:05 p.m. The opportunity to advance to the Atlantic League Championship Series will be at stake.
“Whoever feels okay will be up and some guys are rested,” said Jodie. “Taking it one at a time to get it done. I feel good about who we have. They just need to bring their game tomorrow and give it their best shot. It’s always nice to play at home and have that final AB in the bottom of the inning. Long Island is a great opponent. It was a tough contest and I’m happy we’re in this situation.”
“It turned out to be a great series after all. That’s all we can ask for.”
Sunil Sunder Raj
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