BRIDGEWATER, NJ - The Somerset Patriots put their perfect record on the line against the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs at TD Bank Ballpark on Tuesday evening and improved to 12-0 after a 4-2 victory.
On a damp and chilly night, the combination of strong pitching and defense by the Blue Crabs helped keep Somerset in check for most of the game.
“We had some chances early, but they did a good job. They went to the pen early and played some matchups for a low scoring game and we couldn’t capitalize the first few times,” said manager Brett Jodie.
Trailing 2-1 in the eighth inning, Somerset took their first lead of the game. Mycal Jones reached on a fielder’s choice, Eric Farris singled, and an RBI single by Rob Kral plated Jones to tie up the game.
“Everyone is having a blast. There is no panic. Everyone’s been around the game for a long time and they know that throughout games there are ups and downs,” Kral said. “If you start off cold, it doesn’t mean you can’t come back and win later. Just keep on having good at bats and things will work out.”
Trayvon Robinson followed with the big hit of the inning - a two-run triple to deep left center field - that put the Patriots up 4-2.
“We are all here for one thing- to win. You look to the left and you look to the right and you can just trust that guy. That makes you comfortable and it all starts with that in the locker room,” Robinson said.
The Blue Crabs struck first with a run in the third inning on an RBI single by Steve Lombardozzi.
On the third straight run-threatening inning, the Patriots finally got on the board in the bottom of the sixth on a bases-loaded walk by Kral.
Southern Maryland broke the tie in the top of the eighth inning. Lombardozzi drew a walk to start the inning, advanced on a sacrifice bunt, and scored on an RBI single by Kuan-Jen Chen for a 2-1 lead.
Reliever Jeremy McBryde (1-0) picked up the win, allowing an earned run on a hit in an inning pitched. Justin Berg (0-2) suffered the loss, allowing three earned runs on three hits in an inning pitched. Jon Hunton pitched a perfect ninth inning to earn his fourth save of the season. Hunton is now just two saves from tying the Atlantic League career record.
Somerset starter Mickey Storey went six innings, allowing a run on five hits and five strikeouts in a no-decision.
The 12-0 start extends the record for the best start in Atlantic League history.
“They don’t want to quit. They want to keep going after it and get it done and scratch and claw to find ways to win. I’m proud of these guys,” Jodie added.
The 2016 Somerset Patriots Season presented by Ford continues with a day-night double header against the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs on Wednesday at TD Bank Ballpark. Game times are set for 11:05 a.m. and 7:05 p.m. For tickets visit www.somersetpatriots.com.