CENTRAL ISLIP, NY – The Somerset Patriots (16-5) put together their most complete performance of the season as they defeated the Long Island Ducks (11-8) 8-1 Thursday evening at Bethpage Ballpark in the rubber match of a three game series.
Scott McGregor (2-1) hurled the Patriots first complete game of the year. The right-hander was stellar, facing three batters over the minimum. He retired 20 of the final 21 batters he faced. He struck out three and walked none.
“I have a lot of confidence because of my teammates. It’s a great group who keep everything loose. Tonight we had great hitting, great defense and I used my fastball a lot,” remarked McGregor who tossed 87 of his 92 pitches for fastballs.
The offense recorded a season-high four home runs as both David Vidal and Bryan LaHair each hit two.
LaHair crushed a solo home run (2) in the second inning that gave the Patriots an early lead and they never looked back.
“The last couple of days me and [hitting coach Glen Barker] have been working in the cage making some adjustments to my swing. It was all based on hand placement. Today I was able to drive the ball and find a comfort zone. The key is to just work hard and stay positive,” said LaHair, a 2012 MLB All-Star with the Chicago Cubs.
The following inning, Eric Farris picked up his team leading 13th RBI of the season with an RBI single.
Long Island cut the deficit to 2-1 in the bottom of the third inning as third baseman Matt Wessinger ripped an RBI double.
Somerset would score the final six runs of the game. Vidal hit two-run home runs (3) in the fourth and sixth innings. LaHair added another solo home run (3) in the eighth inning. Aharon Eggleston legged out an RBI infield single in the ninth inning.
“It just feels great to contribute,” said Vidal, who missed 14 games with an injury before returning this series. “I was trying to simplify stuff. I love my teammates and glad to be winning.”
Mark Blackmar (2-1), who came into the game with the second best ERA in the league at 0.50, suffered the loss. He yielded four runs in 4.2 innings of work while walking four batters.
This was the Patriots fifth series win of the six series they’ve played this year.
The 2016 Somerset Patriots season presented by Ford continues tomorrow night when the team returns to TD Bank Ballpark for a 7:05 p.m. game against the Lancaster Barnstormers. For tickets, call 908-252-0700 or visit www.somersetpatriots.com.