Bridgewater, NJ – Tonight the Somerset Patriots (1-0, 77-63) host the Long Island Ducks (0-1, 72-68) for Game Two of the Liberty Division Series. It’s a best-of-five series with the first two games being played in New Jersey and the back three games being played in New York. The Patriots lead the series 1-0. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. from TD Bank Ballpark. Download today’s comprehensive game notes. The game will be broadcast via SPN.TV.
Game One Recap
Shortstop Scott Kelly clubbed walk-off home run in the bottom of the 11th inning to send 5,124 fans home happy as Somerset edged Long Island 3-2. It was the third year Patriots just second career home run, his first occurring last month in his 219th professional game. This was his 240th professional game. Prior to that home run, he had 178 hits, and 177 of them were either singles or doubles or triples.
Last night it was David Vidal who legged out two infield singles and stole a base while it was Scott Kelly who clubbed the home run. That’s why baseball is amazing because you go to the yard and expect something new every day.
The Somerset Patriots secured a postseason slot by claiming the Second Half Liberty Division Title. It’s the franchises fourth straight playoff appearance and 13th time qualifying for the postseason in the franchise’s 19 years of existence. The Patriots are eye balling their seventh Atlantic League Title as they also hoisted the hardware in 2001, 2003, 2005, 2008, 2009, and 2015.
Starting Pitching Matchup
Lefty Nik Turley (5-1, 2.02 ERA) toes the rubber for Somerset while right hander Matt Larkins (1-0, 3.21 ERA) will toss for Long Island. Neither pitcher began the year in the Atlantic League. Turley was in the Boston Red Sox organization pitching for the Portland Seadogs as a reliever in AA. Larkins was a starter in the American Association for the Lincoln Saltdogs.
The Patriots and Ducks went 10-10 against each other this year in regular season. 15 of the 20 games were decided by three runs or fewer. Three of the contest went to extra innings. It’s the third time in the last four years these squads match up in the playoffs. The all-time series is 164-162 in favor of Somerset as the fierce rivalry began in the year 2000.
Eric Farris has played six different positions for Somerset. He hit .377 in 15 regular season September games with 15 RBI and 3 HRs.
David Vidal is second in the Atlantic League lead in home runs with 26. That’s also a career-high. He has three multi-homer games this year. He had 12 homers all of last year. He has 11 go ahead home runs this year. Only Jeremy Barfield of Sugar Land has more home runs at 27. Barfield has played in 50 more games than Vidal and received 194 more at bats. Vidal has blasted six home runs against Ducks pitching this year.
Patience Is A Virtue
The Patriots have drawn 74 more walks than the next closest team in the league
LaHair Hammering Competition
Bryan LaHair finished second in the Atlantic League in RBI with 86. He bats .353 with RISP and .375 with two outs and RISP.
Somerset has swiped the most bases in the league with 166. That’s 22 more than the next closest team. Scott Kelly is fourth in the league with 38.
Jim Miller, the former big leaguer with the Yankees, Orioles, Rockies and A’s, has yet to allow an earned run in 26 relief appearances (25.0 innings). He has 24 Ks and 2 BBs. He has yielded eight hits (two extra base hits) all year.
Jon Hunton is 7-for-7 in his career in postseason save situations. He led the league in saves with 37. It’s his fourth straight year of at least amassing 30 saves. He is the league’s all-time saves leader at 165.
Be sure to follow the Patriots on twitter @SOMPatriots for immediate updates. Listen the Patriots play-by-play voice Justin Antweil broadcast the game starting at 7:05 p.m. eastern on 1450 AM WCTC or www.wctcam.com. Download the free new Patriots App by searching Somerset Patriots in the App Store on your phone or tablet.