Sports

Walk-off Homer Leads Patriots to Opening Day Win

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Yovan Gonzalez hits a walk-off homer in the bottom of the 10th inning to seal the Patriots Opening Day win. Credits: Courtesy Somerset Patriots
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BRIDGEWATER, NJ -  Somerset Patriots catcher Yovan Gonzalez hit a tenth inning walk-off home run to lead the Somerset Patriots to a 2-1 victory over the Lancaster Barnstormers at TD Bank Ballpark on Opening Day of the 2017 season.

“I felt like it’s a perfect night to hit a walk off. We got Opening Night and a lot of fans out there. Everything felt like it was supposed to be like that,” Gonzalez said. “In my at bats before I was a little late on everything. He got behind 1-0 so I was expecting something hard at me and I was lucky he left it up. I put a good swing on it. I knew the wind was blowing out. It was the right spot.”

Gonzalez led off the tenth inning with the solo shot off losing pitcher Kevin Munson (0-1). It was Gonzalez’s first-ever career walk-off hit.

“It’s the best feeling. As soon as I saw the ball touch the bat, I felt it. When it was up in the air I got really excited because I knew it had a chance. When I touched first base I lifted my right hand up and knew it was gone,” Yovan added.

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The Barnstormers broke a scoreless tie in the top of the sixth inning on an RBI double by Trayvon Robinson.

The Patriots evened up the score in the bottom of the seventh inning. After Zach Lutz was hit by a pitch, Scott Kelly was put in as a pinch runner. Aharon Eggleston advanced Kelly to third on a single. Kelly would come around to score on a wild pitch during Gonzalez’s at bat to tie the game up at 1-1.

Patriots starter Logan Darnell went five scoreless innings, allowing just four hits while striking out three batters for a no decision in his Somerset debut. Lancaster’s Bryan Evans matched Darnell’s effort, throwing five scoreless innings while striking out five batters and giving up just three hits.

“I thought it was exciting the whole way through with the pitching performances on both sides and some great defensive plays,” said  Patriots manager Brett Jodie. “It was a fun game to watch and be a part of. To have it end with a guy not as likely to hit a home run, especially after busting his tail behind the dish all game, felt like a great way to start the season.”

Patriots reliever Rick Teasley (1-0) picked up the win, allowing one hit in an inning of work.

The 2017 Somerset Patriots seasonl continues at home on Saturday night with a 5:05 p.m. double header against the Lancaster Barnstormers. The double header is a single admission event with tickets good for both seven inning games. The first 1,000 adults in attendance will receive a 20th Season T-Shirt presented by Flemington Porsche. For tickets, visit www.somersetpatriots.com.

The Somerset Patriots and TAPinto Flemington-Raritan are marketing partners.

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