WALDORF, Md. - The Somerset Patriots (20-21, 62-49) split Saturday’s single-admission doubleheader with the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs (16-25, 55-56) at Regency Furniture Stadium. The Patriots took game one 3-1 before dropping game two 2-1.
Aharon Eggleston (3) opened the scoring in the top of the third inning with a leadoff solo home run to right field. Kyle Roller added an RBI fielder’s choice later in the inning to double Somerset’s lead to 2-0.
Southern Maryland responded in the bottom of the third on a two-out Tucker Nathans RBI double to right-center field, trimming the deficit in half.
Somerset later added an insurance run on a Roller sacrifice fly in the top of the seventh inning to regain a two-run lead. Ronnie Shaban then tossed a one-two-three bottom of the seventh to close the door.
Lucas Irvine (8-3) allowed one run over six innings with six strikeouts to earn the win. Eric Fornataro (0-6) yielded two runs over three innings to take the loss. Shaban (10) worked a scoreless seventh for the save.
Game two featured every sense of the anticipated pitchers duel between the inter-division foes. The game remained scoreless until an Adam Donachie sacrifice fly broke the ice in the top of the fifth inning.
Somerset starter Mike Antonini carried a no-hitter into the bottom of the seventh. He was in search of becoming the first pitcher in Somerset Patriots history hit to hold the opponent hitless.
“I knew we were three outs away from [a no-hitter], but it was still a one-run game, so I was just trying to get the leadoff guy out and take it from there,” said Antonini on his mindset going into his final inning on the mound. “My main goal was to throw strikes and get a win for the team. I just wanted to get three outs and help out our team.”
Antonini walked the leadoff batter Michael Snyder before Brian Bistagne came in to pinch run at first base. With Devon Rodriguez at the plate, the Blue Crabs put a hit-and-run in motion. Bistagne took off from first, drawing shortstop Alfredo Rodriguez towards the second-base bag. Southern Maryland’s Rodriguez then took advantage of the vacated shortstop spot, dribbling an otherwise-routine ground ball through the left side of the infield for the first Blue Crabs base hit.
Antoninii then exited the game for Dustin Molleken, who allowed a pair of RBI singles to Cory Vaughn and Ryan Wiggins to give Southern Maryland a 2-1 victory.
Despite the tough loss, Antonini was quick to give his teammates credit for his impressive start.
“Our defense was great. [Outfielder Justin] Trapp was unbelievable out there, and working with [catcher Adam Donachie] is like we have been working together for years. He knows the hitters in the league, and it has made me very comfortable on the mound.”
Cody Apply (2-4) earned the win with a scoreless inning of relief. Antonini (1-1) suffered the loss after he allowed two runs on one hit in six-plus innings of work. Blue Crabs starter Gaby Hernandez received a no-decision despite just one run allowed over five innings.
The Patriots and Blue Crabs conclude their three-game series Sunday afternoon. David Kubiak (5-10, 3.92 ERA) toes the rubber for Somerset against Blue Crabs righty Brian Grening (7-6, 3.43 ERA). First pitch at Regency Furniture Stadium is scheduled for 2:05 p.m.