SUGAR LAND, Texas – It took a season-high 16 hits and their largest comeback victory of the year, but the Somerset Patriots (19-13) ended a five-game losing streak Monday night with a 10-8 victory over the Sugar Land Skeeters (18-15) at Constellation Field.
Sugar Land opened up the scoring with three runs in the bottom of the first on a Travis Scott RBI double and a two-run Andy Wilkins home run (7). Somerset responded the next half inning to trim the deficit to one on an Adam Donachie RBI single and an Alfredo Rodriguez sac fly.
The Skeeters increased their lead in the second with three runs, including an RBI double from Kevin Ahrens. The Patriots would once again respond quickly the third on back-to-back home runs from Aharon Eggleston (1) and Jerry Sands (8). Somerset then took their first lead of the game in the fourth on a two-run Sands single and an RBI base hit from Carlos Guzman.
Scott’s sacrifice fly in the bottom of the 4th evened the game briefly at 7-7 before Somerset plated three runs in the sixth to regain the lead. Justin Pacchioli was hit by a pitch with the bases-loaded, Rodriguez grounded into an RBI fielder’s choice and Scott Kelly laced a run-scoring single to provide the difference for the Patriots.
Sugar Land drew within two-runs on Wilfredo Rodriguez’s solo home run in the eighth, but their comeback effort ended there.
Neither starting pitcher factored into the decision. Duane Below (3-0) earned the win after allowing just one unearned run over 4.1 innings of relief. He entered the ballgame with two out in the bottom of the first.
“I just wanted to come in, throw strikes and get quick outs,” said Below after the game. “I told myself before going in: ‘just give us a chance.’ I knew with the doubleheader tomorrow, we are already short-armed, so my biggest goal was just to go out there and give team an opportunity to win.”
Andrew Johnstone (0-1) allowed three runs over two-thirds of an inning to take the loss. Jon Hunton (1) earned his first save of the season with a scoreless ninth inning.
The Patriots and Skeeters wrap up their three-game series Tuesday with a day-night doubleheader at Constellation Field. Righty Will Oliver (1-0, 0.00 ERA) takes the mound in game one for Somerset against Skeeters’ righty Brett Marshall (4-1, 6.62 ERA). Game two features RHP Jerome Williams (1-1, 4.09 ERA) against right-hander Michael Nix (2-4, 3.70 ERA).
Tickets to the 2017 Somerset Patriots Season presented by Ford, which includes the team’s 20th Anniversary, are on sale now. TD Bank Ballpark will be the host of the 2017 Atlantic League All-Star Game presented by RWJBarnabas Health and Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey July 12. For more information, stop by the ballpark, call 908-252-0700, or visit www.somersetpatriots.com.