BRIDGEWATER, NJ- The Somerset Patriots opened the 2016 season with a 9-3 victory over the Long Island Ducks at TD Bank Ballpark Thursday night.
Players from the 2015 team were presented their Atlantic League Championship rings during a ceremony prior to the game.
The Ducks took an early 3-0 lead in the first inning on an RBI single by Dan Lyons and a two-run double by Blake Tekotte.
Somerset cut the lead with two runs of their own in the bottom of the second inning. Matt Fields doubled and later came around to score on an RBI fielder’s choice that allowed Eric Farris to reach safely. Mycal Jones followed with a triple to plate Farris that made the score 3-2.
The next inning, Aharon Eggleston (1) tied up the game with a solo home run to deep right field to knot the game up at 3-3.
“I have to thank [Carlos] Guzman because I was watching his at bat before when he struck out and I asked him what the 3-2 pitch he threw him was. I thought it was a cutter, but he said it was a changeup. I was waiting on the 3-2 change up, he put it right there, I put good wood on it and got it out,” Eggleston said.
The Patriots later broke the game open with five runs in the bottom of the seventh inning. After a bases-loaded hit-by-pitch and walk, Farris drove in two more runs on a double to left. A sacrifice fly off the bat of Jones gave Somerset an 8-3 advantage.
“I think once we calmed down and settled in a little bit, you could tell our at-bats got better. We started seeing more pitches and then started scoring some runs,” said Farris.
Another bases-loaded walk in the eighth gave the Patriots the 9-3 final.
Reliever Efrain Nieves (1-0) picked up the win with three scoreless innings pitched. Eury De La Rosa (0-1) suffered the loss, allowing four earned runs on two hits without recording an out.
“Everybody contributed. One through nine in the lineup and our pitching staff did a great job. Mickey [Storey] did great after the first inning and the rest of the guys came in there. It’s good to get their feet wet because you never know how they are going to show out during the game. We have a lot of new guys in there and everybody contributed and did a good job,” said manager Brett Jodie.