Somerset Patriots Ink All-Star RHP Cory Riordan

Bridgewater, NJ- The Somerset Patriots have signed 2017 All-Star right-handed pitcher Cory Riordan for the 2018 season. His rights were originally acquired in November through the Bridgeport Bluefish Dispersal Draft.

“I’m extremely excited to join Somerset,” said Riordan. “I’ve played parts of two years with Bridgeport and Somerset always struck me as an organization that does things the right way. They have always had great fan support and it’s somewhere I’m really looking forward to pitching.” Riordan-Blog

Riordan enters his first season with the Somerset Patriots and third in the Atlantic League. He played with the Bluefish in 2015 and 2017; the latter season in which he was named an All-Star. The Fordham University alumnus carried a 7-3 record with a 3.29 ERA and 88 strikeouts against just 11 walks over 93 innings pitched in his 14 starts with Bridgeport last year. Riordan’s contract was purchased by the Fubon Guardians (CPBL) shortly after the All-Star Game, where he finished the season.

The Killingworth, Connecticut native went a combined 5-6 with a 3.62 ERA over 18 appearances (17 starts) over two separate stints with the Bluefish in 2015. He parlayed that success into a season in the Detroit Tigers organization in 2016. There, he recorded six wins over 27 appearances (24 starts) split between Double-A Erie and Triple-A Toledo.

Riordan holds a 12-9 record with a 3.47 ERA and 170 strikeouts to 33 walks over 210 innings pitched in his two seasons in the Atlantic League.

“It is always fun when we can team up with a talented player from our league instead of continuing to face him, and that is what we have done in adding a quality starting pitcher in Cory Riordan,” said Somerset Patriots manager Brett Jodie. “Cory brings a wealth of experience from many levels of baseball, including overseas. He was part of our All-Star team last year and now our Patriots team this year. We are extremely happy to have his veteran leadership in the clubhouse as well as on the hill.”

Riordan spent the first seven years of his professional career in the Colorado Rockies organization, including stints at the Triple-A level in 2011-13. The former sixth-round draft pick holds a 61-66 record with a 4.31 ERA over 10 minor league seasons stateside.

The Somerset Patriots led the Atlantic League in attendance and made their 14th appearance in the playoffs last season. The Somerset Patriots will welcome their 7,000,000th fan in their 20th season at TD Bank Ballpark in 2018.  Tickets are now on sale for the 2018 Season presented by Ford beginning at home on Friday, April 27th. For more information, please visit www.somersetpatriots.com.

About The Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB)

The Atlantic League has been a leader in professional baseball and a gateway to Major League Baseball since 1998. Over 38 million fans have attended Atlantic League games and more than 900 players and 50 managers and coaches have joined MLB organizations directly from the ALPB. The Atlantic League emphasizes winning baseball games, showcasing the talent of top-caliber players and offering affordable family entertainment.

For more information, please visit www.atlanticleague.com.

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Somerset Patriots Bring Back All-Star LHP Duane Below

Bridgewater, NJ- The Somerset Patriots have re-signed 2017 Atlantic League All-Star left-handed pitcher Duane Below for the 2018 season. He marks the third Atlantic League All-Star to join the team this week.

“I’m grateful and excited that the Patriots wanted me back this year,” said Below. “I’m looking forward to getting back to Somerset and back to work. We have some unfinished business to take care of from last year.” Below-Blog

Below enters his second season with the Somerset Patriots and second in the Atlantic League. The lefty went 5-1 last year with a 2.88 ERA over 62.1 innings pitched. His 46 relief appearances ranked third on the Patriots, while his ERA led the team among pitchers with at least 25 appearances. Additionally, Below struck out 58 batters against just nine walks.

The 6’3 southpaw did not allow a run over his first nine relief innings with Somerset and carried a 2.21 ERA in the first half en route to an All-Star Game selection. Below tossed a scoreless inning of relief for the Liberty Division All-Stars at TD Bank Ballpark on July 12th.

Below shined at the end of the season as well. He did not allow an earned run over his final 12 outings (including the postseason) and did not allow a single walk over his last 14 outings (including the postseason).

The Britton, Michigan native appeared in 43 games (three starts) at the Major League level spread across three seasons (2011-13) with the Detroit Tigers and Miami Marlins. Below’s best season in the majors came in 2012 with the Tigers in which he went 2-1 with a 3.88 ERA and 29 strikeouts against just eight walks in 27 appearances (one start).

Below spent 2015 and 2016 with Triple-A Las Vegas in the New York Mets organization after spending eight of the first nine years of his career in the Tigers organization. He recorded nine wins with Las Vegas in 35 appearances (28 starts) over those two years, including a 2.19 ERA over 49.1 innings of work in 2015.

“Duane was one of our leaders in the bullpen and did a tremendous job in a variety of roles last year,” said Somerset Patriots manager Brett Jodie. “We see Duane helping our club in many ways again this year; he is ready for any challenge that is presented. Below is such a team-oriented guy who is unselfish and always looking to help those around him. He is a necessity for any club and pitching staff.”

The Lake Michigan College alumnus owns a 70-62 record with a 3.69 ERA over 248 appearances (182 starts) in 12 seasons in the minors.

The Somerset Patriots led the Atlantic League in attendance and made their 14th appearance in the playoffs last season. The Somerset Patriots will welcome their 7,000,000th fan in their 20th season at TD Bank Ballpark in 2018.  Tickets are now on sale for the 2018 Season presented by Ford beginning at home on Friday, April 27th. For more information, please visit www.somersetpatriots.com.

About The Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB)

The Atlantic League has been a leader in professional baseball and a gateway to Major League Baseball since 1998. Over 38 million fans have attended Atlantic League games and more than 900 players and 50 managers and coaches have joined MLB organizations directly from the ALPB. The Atlantic League emphasizes winning baseball games, showcasing the talent of top-caliber players and offering affordable family entertainment.

For more information, please visit www.atlanticleague.com.

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Somerset Patriots Re-Sign All-Star Catcher Yovan Gonzalez

Bridgewater, NJ- The Somerset Patriots have re-signed 2017 Atlantic League All-Star catcher Yovan Gonzalez for the 2018 season.

“I’ve been counting the days to get back on that field,” said Gonzalez. “This is our year. We want the trophy back.” Yovan Blogs

Gonzalez enters his third season with the Somerset Patriots and his third in the Atlantic League. He finished second on the team in batting (.291) last year (minimum 70 games) with three home runs and 31 RBI over 84 games as the team’s primary catcher.

Gonzalez led the Atlantic League in batting at numerous points in 2017, including a .325 batting average in the first half. He was selected as the starting catcher for the Liberty Division in the league’s All-Star Game hosted at TD Bank Ballpark.

The Puerto Rico native shined defensively as well, leading the league in fielding percentage (.997) among catchers for the second-straight year (minimum 650.0 innings). That equated to two errors over 659 chances.

The most memorable aspect of Gonzalez’s 2017 campaign, however, was his knack for clutch hitting. The former Cincinnati Reds prospect led the team with four walk-off hits, including a walk-off solo home run against the Lancaster Barnstormers on Opening Night.

Gonzalez hit .264 with two home runs and 30 RBI over 80 games in 2016 – his first season in Somerset – and was used as the team’s primary catcher.

Defensively, he led the Atlantic League in fielding among catchers who played in at least 650.0 innings with a .998 fielding percentage (one error in 645 chances). In addition, he finished third among all Atlantic League catchers in innings played (693).

Gonzalez spent the first seven years of his career in the Cincinnati Reds organization, including Triple-A service in Louisville in 2013.

The Wabash Valley College alumnus has always excelled defensively throughout his career. He has thrown out 33% of potential base-stealers (199-596) over his career, including two seasons (2009, 2011) of over 50%. Additionally, Gonzalez holds a career .991 fielding percentage behind the plate.

“We are very happy to have Yovan return as a part of our club,” said Somerset Patriots manager Brett Jodie. “Yovan brings an unmatched energy and passion to our team and clubhouse. He truly wants to win everyday and he does everything in his power to accomplish that goal. He does a tremendous job with our pitching staff and is an extremely clutch hitter. Yovan brings an excitement to our club that fans will want to see.”

Gonzalez has 20 home runs and 207 RBI over 547 minor league games.

The Somerset Patriots led the Atlantic League in attendance and made their 14th appearance in the playoffs last season. The Somerset Patriots will welcome their 7,000,000th fan in their 20th season at TD Bank Ballpark in 2018.  Tickets are now on sale for the 2018 Season presented by Ford beginning at home on Friday, April 27th. For more information, please visit www.somersetpatriots.com.

About The Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB)

The Atlantic League has been a leader in professional baseball and a gateway to Major League Baseball since 1998. Over 38 million fans have attended Atlantic League games and more than 900 players and 50 managers and coaches have joined MLB organizations directly from the ALPB. The Atlantic League emphasizes winning baseball games, showcasing the talent of top-caliber players and offering affordable family entertainment.

For more information, please visit www.atlanticleague.com.

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Somerset Patriots Re-Sign All-Star 1B/DH Kyle Roller

Bridgewater, NJ- The Somerset Patriots have re-signed 2017 Atlantic League Post-Season All-Star Kyle Roller for the 2018 season. Roller is the first announced signing for this year’s roster.

“I’m really excited to be coming back to Somerset for another year,” said Roller on his return. “I’m looking forward to putting in the hard work with the guys to go out there and compete for a championship!” Roller-Blog

Roller enters his third season with the Somerset Patriots and in the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. Previously, he spent the first six seasons of his career with the New York Yankees organization before playing the first half of 2016 with the Tampa Bay Rays organization.

Despite playing in only 90 games during the 2017 regular season, Roller led the Atlantic League in slugging percentage (.591), on-base percentage (.429) and OPS (1.020). The next closest player in slugging (Alonzo Harris, York) finished 61 points lower than Roller, while the next closest in on-base percentage (James Skelton, New Britain) finished 21 points lower.

Additionally, the former East Carolina University standout finished third in the league in batting (.326), sixth in home runs (22), tied-sixth in RBI (77) and tied-eighth in walks (55). Roller’s 61 runs scored were tied for the team-lead while his 102 hits ranked third on the team.

Roller went 5-for-5 from the plate in a historic performance on June 28th against Southern Maryland. That night, he hit two home runs and became just the second Somerset Patriot ever to record a cycle (Orlando Miller, 2002). In addition, became the fourth Patriot all-time to tally eight RBI in a single game, tying the franchise record with Ryan Radmanovich (2008), Emiliano Escandon (2003) and Greg Blosser (2001).

Roller notched a number of notable streaks during the season, including a 10-game stretch from June 25th through July 5th in which he went 18-for-36 (.500) with five home runs and 20 RBI. Roller also had a six-game stretch from July 29th through August 4th where he hit three home runs with nine RBI and a four-game stretch from September 3rd through September 7th in which he went 7-for-16 (.438) with three home runs, four runs scored and 10 RBI.

“We are thrilled to have Roller back with us for 2018,” said Somerset Patriots manager Brett Jodie. “He can be a true difference maker with one swing of the bat. Kyle is a top-notch teammate and is adored by our fans for his majestic home runs and great personality. It is truly great to have Kyle return for another season.”

The North Carolina native played in 52 games with Somerset in 2016 after joining the team in June. That year, he hit for a .284 batting average with 10 home runs and 40 RBI. Roller reached base at a .401 clip while serving as the Patriots primary first baseman/designated hitter.

Over his eight-year career, Roller holds a .272 career batting average with 133 home runs and 504 runs batted in over 862 career games.

The Somerset Patriots led the Atlantic League in attendance and made their 14th appearance in the playoffs last season. The Somerset Patriots will welcome their 7,000,000th fan in their 20th season at TD Bank Ballpark in 2018.  Tickets are now on sale for the 2018 Season presented by Ford beginning at home on Friday, April 27th. For more information, please visit www.somersetpatriots.com.

About The Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB)

The Atlantic League has been a leader in professional baseball and a gateway to Major League Baseball since 1998. Over 36 million fans have attended Atlantic League games and more than 800 players and 50 managers and coaches have joined MLB organizations directly from the ALPB. The Atlantic League emphasizes winning baseball games, showcasing the talent of top-caliber players and offering affordable family entertainment to metropolitan markets serving nearly 15% of the US population.

For more information, please visit www.atlanticleague.com.

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Somerset Patriots To Host National Anthem Auditions On March 3rd

Anthem BlogsBridgewater, NJ- The Somerset Patriots, along with Magic 98.3 FM and WCTC 1450 AM, have announced that the team will host National Anthem Auditions on Saturday, March 3rd from 12-4 pm at Bridgewater Commons Mall.

The event will be a fundraiser designed to benefit Operation Shoebox New Jersey, an all-volunteer organization dedicated to collecting donated supplies to ship care packages to U.S. troops based overseas.

There will be a $10 fee to audition, with 100% of the proceeds to benefit Operation Shoebox New Jersey. The $10 donation is tax deductible and all participants will have the opportunity to sign a letter that will be included in a care package to a soldier.

The Patriots will audition up to 100 soloists and small groups during the event with up to ten winners being selected to return as finalists to sing the National Anthem in front of judges at TD Bank Ballpark at a later date. During this time the judges will have the chance to hear the finalists sing the National Anthem and give final approval to perform at the ballpark during the season.

Interested individuals can register for the auditions by CLICKING HERE!

Please contact Nick Izzo at [email protected] for any additional questions.

The Patriots are looking for participants of all ages with no prior auditioning experience for the team. Past winners are asked not to audition again as the team already has their information on file to be used again when needed. Singers will be judged on vocal talent, stage presence and their ability to perform before a large crowd.

During the auditions, each singer will have up to one minute to sing, a cappella, the song of their choice. Contestants will not be permitted to sing the National Anthem at this time. All contestants will be required to perform a song that is appropriate for a family audience.

The team will also set up a waiting list to provide a chance for singers to fill in if a registered individual cannot make the audition. All participants must pre-register with the Somerset Patriots.

The event will take place at center court on the lower level of Bridgewater Commons. In addition to the National Anthem auditions, the event will include interactive games and contests for mall patrons to win prizes, special offers for tickets and merchandise, and the ability to interact with team representatives. Sparkee The Mascot and his pal Slider will be at the mall to entertain young fans.

Magic 98.3 FM and WCTC 1450 AM are the event’s media partner and New Jersey Broadcasters Association Hall of Famer Bert Baron will serve as emcee.

This is the 15th year the Patriots will be hosting National Anthem auditions and second time the event will take place at Bridgewater Commons.

Representatives from Operation Shoebox New Jersey will be on-site to help promote their organization and encourage additional donations for our troops.

Operation Shoebox New Jersey has shipped more than 130,000 total packages to U.S. military personnel serving in Iraq, Kuwait, Afghanistan and other posts in the Middle East. For more information, visit www.opshoeboxnj.org.

The Somerset Patriots led the Atlantic League in attendance and made their 14th appearance in the playoffs last season. The Somerset Patriots will welcome their 7,000,000th fan in their 20th season at TD Bank Ballpark in 2018. Tickets are now on sale for the 2018 Season presented by Ford beginning at home on Friday, April 27th. For more information, please visit www.somersetpatriots.com.

About The Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB)

The Atlantic League has been a leader in professional baseball and a gateway to Major League Baseball since 1998. Over 38 million fans have attended Atlantic League games and more than 900 players and 50 managers and coaches have joined MLB organizations directly from the ALPB. The Atlantic League emphasizes winning baseball games, showcasing the talent of top-caliber players and offering affordable family entertainment to metropolitan markets serving nearly 15% of the US population.

For more information regarding the Atlantic League, please visit www.atlanticleague.com.

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