Trailing 7-1 in the seventh inning, the Patriots rallied for six runs to tie up the game. Matt Fields and Yovan Gonzalez each smacked two-run doubles to move Somerset into striking distance. A two-run single by recently re-signed outfielder Vinny Zarrillo knotted the game up at seven runs apiece.
“There were a ton of good at-bats put together by the team and when I got up there, I just wanted to keep it rolling. I was trying to find a good pitch, something I could hit hard and try to help us out,” said Zarrillo, a former Rutgers University Baseball standout.
With the bases loaded and two-out in the bottom of the eighth inning, Scott Kelly hit a perfectly placed single to drive home two and give the Patriots their first lead of the game at 9-7.
Patriots starter Darin Gorski struggled early on as the Blue Crabs jumped out to a 6-0 lead in the second inning. 11 batters came to the plate with matching two-run singles off the bats of Steve Lombardozzi and Darby Myers highlighting the scoring. Jamar Walton and Fred Lewis each added RBI singles during the frame.
“The first inning I thought started out alright. I was trying to attack guys. The second inning I kind of got a little away from that and some balls dropped in that put us behind the eight ball,” said Gorski. “That’s all part of it. You’re going to have games where they hit the ball on the screw and it goes right to people. You’re also going to have games where things drop in.”
Somerset cut into the lead with a run in the fourth inning. Mycal Jones reached on a walk and scored on a double by Randolph, NJ native Rob Kral.
Gorski settled down and remained in the game with three scoreless innings before finding trouble in the sixth inning and being replaced by Connor Little. Lombardozzi added to the lead that inning on a double to deep right center field. The RBI was Lombardozzi’s seventh of the series against Somerset, finishing 7-for-15 (.467) while also scoring four times.
Patriots newcomer Evan Meek (1-0) picked up the win with a scoreless inning pitched. Justin Berg (0-3) suffered the loss, allowing two earned runs on two hits in 1.1 innings pitched. Jon Hunton earned his fifth save of the season, which was also his Atlantic League career record-tying 134th save.
The 2016 Somerset Patriots Season presented by Ford continues on the road until Friday, May 13th when the team returns to TD Bank Ballpark for a 7:05 pm game against the Lancaster Barnstormers. For tickets visit www.somersetpatriots.com.