BRIDGEWATER, NJ – Scott Kelly hit a walk-off solo home run in the bottom of the 11th inning to lead the Somerset Patriots (1-0, 77-63) to a 3-2 win over the Long Island Ducks (0-1, 72-68) in Game 1 of the Liberty Division Series at TD Bank Ballpark yesterday evening.
“I’m just trying to get on base,” said Kelly, whose second professional home run was the game-winner. “We’re going to grind out wins. That’s how it is has to be against Long Island. We had great pitching and put up runs early. The home run was just another piece of the puzzle.”
The Patriots took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning on an RBI double by David Vidal.
The Ducks tied up the game in the second inning on an RBI single by Ruben Gotay. Long Island then took the lead in the top of the third inning on an RBI single by Anthony Vega that made the score 2-1.
Carlos Guzman hit an RBI double in the bottom of the sixth inning to tie up the game 2-2.
“I knew (Ducks starting pitcher John) Brownell doesn’t really walk a lot of people. He had walked (Kyle) Roller on four straight pitches so I knew he was going to try to leave something around the plate,” Guzman said. “Good pitchers don’t give you many pitches to hit and that was my pitch and I got a hold of it.”
Somerset starting pitcher Will Oliver scattered the two runs on eight hits in seven innings pitched in a no-decision.
“I thought Will did a good job in the first inning, hit a rough patch from the second to fourth, but then really did a good job in the fifth through seventh innings,” said Somerset Patriots manager Brett Jodie. “To be able to go back out there and throw that seventh inning helped keep our pen intact and obviously we needed those guys into the extra innings.”
Reliever Kyler Newby pitched his way out of a bases loaded jam in the top of the ninth inning, retiring the final batter after being behind 3-0 in the count.
“I haven’t lost command like that in a while, but it happens. I’m thankful [catcher Rob] Kral stayed with me and had the confidence for me to throw the slider there on 3-2 count after I had thrown six or seven of them for balls already. I was obviously emotional after I got the third out,” Newby said.
Efrain Nieves (1-0) earned the win with a scoreless inning pitched. James Lomangino (0-1) suffered the loss, giving up the game-winning home run to Kelly in the 11th.
The 2016 Somerset Patriots Season will continue with Game 2 of the Liberty Division Series at TD Bank Ballpark on this evening at 7:05 p.m. For tickets, call 908-252-0700 or visit www.somersetpatriots.com.