Sports

Ace Lefthander Returns to Patriots After Year Pitching in Italy

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The Somerset Patriots have signed Matt Zielinski for the 2017 season. Credits: Courtesy Somerset Patriots
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BRIDGEWATER, NJ – The Somerset Patriots have signed 2014 Atlantic League Left-Handed Pitcher of the Year and 2015 league-champion Matt Zielinski for the 2017 season.

“The Somerset Patriots are a first-class organization,” said Zielinski. “I am excited for the opportunity to help replicate the success we had in 2015.”

Zielinski enters his third season with the Somerset Patriots and third in the Atlantic League. He previously played for the Patriots in both 2014 and 2015. In 2014, Zielinski was named the league’s Left-Handed Pitcher of the Year after he posted a 10-8 record with a 3.27 ERA (sixth-best in the league). He also started in the Atlantic League All-Star Game that season.

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The Southampton, PA. native followed up his strong 2014 season with an equally impressive 2015 campaign. Zielinski went 8-4 and finished second in the Atlantic League with a 2.86 ERA. Only teammate Sean Bierman, who finished with an Atlantic League-record 1.79 ERA, had a lower mark.

Additionally, the southpaw enjoyed a 17-start stretch from June 5th to Sept. 3rd in which he suffered just one loss that season. Zielinski later earned a win in Game Three of the Atlantic League Championship Series with 6.1 innings of three-run baseball en route to winning the championship, the team’s league-record sixth title.

Overall, Zielinski is 18-12 with a 3.06 ERA over 53 games (47 starts) in his two seasons with the Patriots.

“It is a pleasure to welcome Matt back,” said Somerset Patriots manager Brett Jodie. “Matt had some great years for us and was a vital part of the 2015 championship season. He will again compete for a spot in our rotation where he has had so much success in the past. Matt is not only a great left-handed pitcher, but he is a tremendous addition to our locker room. He understands what it takes to win and what it means to be a Patriot.”

Last year, Zielinski made 11 starts with Bologna in the Italian Baseball League. “Z” went 9-0 over his 11 starts with a 0.42 ERA (three earned runs over 64.1 innings): both of which led the league.

Zielinski spent three seasons with the Evansville Otters of the Frontier League prior to joining Somerset in 2014, including a 9-7 season in 2013 in which he led the league with 114 strikeouts.

The West Chester University of Pennsylvania alumnus owns a 35-28 record with a 3.03 ERA and 483 strikeouts over his six-year professional career.

Tickets to the 2017  Patriots season which includes the team’s 20th Anniversary and the Atlantic League All-Star Game at TD Bank Ballpark, are on sale now. For more information, stop by TD Bank Ballpark, call (908) 252-0700, or visit www.somersetpatriots.com.

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