CENTRAL ISLIP, NY – Jon Hunton set the Atlantic League career saves record at 135 as the Somerset Patriots (15-4) snapped the Long Island Ducks (10-7) nine game-winning streak with a 4-1 victory Tuesday night at Bethpage Ballpark.
“As a competitor I’m always trying to win, but if I’m fortunate enough to be around great people that allow me to break records then that’s great,” said Hunton on his record breaking night.
“I’ve been given the opportunity to come to Somerset where I grew up [in North Plainfield] and be the closer and that means a lot. I’m just fortunate to be with great teammates who allow me to be in closing situations which I love doing.”
Hunton’s now has 126 saves with Somerset while the other nine were with Long Island. Hunton broke Jim Ed Warden’s career Atlantic League saves record as he amassed 134 from 2010-14 with Southern Maryland.
“It was extra special knowing I had my wife and seven-month old son in the stands to see me get the record,” said the emotional Hunton.
The Patriots broke the scoreless tie in the top of the third inning when the bottom of the batting order strung together three consecutive hits. Eric Farris slapped a single then Rob Kral smashed a double. With runners on second and third Scott Kelly roped a two-run double to give the Patriots a lead they would never relinquish.
Vinny Zarrillo, who came in for an injured Trayvon Robinson, poked an RBI single and Farris added another RBI hit in fifth and sixth innings respectively making the contest 4-0.
That cushion was more than enough for starter Jeremy Horst (2-0), who hurled a gem and got the win. The southpaw tossed six scoreless innings, while only scattering three hits. He struck out three and walked one.
“I just tried to throw strikes and get ahead in the count,” said the former big leaguer with the Reds and Phillies. “I wanted to be aggressive because I knew I was up for a challenge knowing that I was facing a good club in the midst of a long winning streak.”
The Ducks lone run occurred in the bottom of the seventh inning when Mike Blanke hit a home run (1) to make the score 4-1 which would be the final.
Bobby Blevins took the loss (1-1) with 5.2 innings, allowing four runs on seven hits. It was Hunton’s seventh save this year in eight tries.
The Patriots remain perfect against the Ducks in 2016 with a 5-0 record.