BRIDGEWATER, NJ – The New Britain Bees (33-33) defeated the Somerset Patriots (36-31) 8-7 at TD Bank Ballpark on Thursday evening.

The Patriots have lost three straight and are down 1 game with 3 to go in the race for the First Half Libery Division Championship against the Long Island Ducks (37-30), who also lost Thursday by the identical score to the York Revolution 

Trailing 8-3 in the bottom of the eighth inning, the Patriots rallied for four runs to cut the lead to one run. Trayvon Robinson singled home a run and a Carlos Guzman three-run blast (7) put the Patriots in striking distance.

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“It really doesn’t make a difference if I hit a home run or not now because we lost,” said Guzman. “I just tried to put a good swing on the ball. He’s a good pitcher and I knew he was going to try to come at me.”

The Patriots took an early 1-0 lead in the first inning on an RBI single by Eric Farris, who would finish the game 3-for-4 with two runs scored and an RBI.

The Bees came right back with four runs in the top of the third inning to take the lead. Jovan Rosa hit a two-run double, Steve Carrillo scored on an error, and Jonathan Roof plated another run on a double for a 4-1 advantage.

New Britain added another run in the next inning on an RBI double by Jon Griffin.

Somerset cut the lead to 5-3 with two runs in the bottom of the frame on a wild pitch and an RBI groundout by Robinson.

Michael Crouse and Griffin opened the sixth inning with back-to-back doubles to plate one and a sacrifice fly by Craig Maddox made the score 7-3.

The Bees made it 8-3 on a wild pitch in the eighth inning.

 “We have to be a little more sound than that and we have to pitch better too. We can’t give up eight runs and expect to win ballgames. The last two nights our hitters came through and kept it close. You just have to minimize mistakes early because they always come back to get you later on,” said Somerset Patriots manager Brett Jodie.

Bees starting pitcher Cole Johnson (6-6) picked up the win, allowing three runs (two earned) on five hits in six innings pitched. Patriots starting pitcher Mickey Storey (1-5) suffered the loss, allowing seven runs (six earned) on ten hits in 5.2 innings pitched. Shawn Gilblair earned his fourth save of the season.

The Patriots close out the first half of the season with a three-game series against the Bridgeport Bluefish beginning Friday night; game time is 7:05 p.m. The July 2 and July 3 games feature post-game fireworks displays.