The Somerset Patriots dropped three of four games against the reigning Liberty Division champion Long Island Ducks to kick off the 2012 campaign this past weekend. The starting pitchers were on a limited pitch count (80) and the coaching staff is still tinkering with the lineup to find everyone’s niche. This series had everything from offensive outbursts to defensive mishaps. Let’s take a brief look back at each game.
Thursday, April 26th: The Ducks defeated the Patriots 9-4. Patriots starter Mike MacDonald allowed no runs in his four innings of work, but the bullpen coughed up nine runs over the final five frames. Ducks veteran second baseman Ray Navarrete was the player of the game as he recorded a career high five base hits, three of them went for extra bases including his 23rd career home run against the Patriots.
Friday, April 27th: The Ducks defeated the Patriots 6-4. The Patriots came out flat the first seven innings but rallied in the 8th and 9th innings. Ultimately the Patriots would leave the tying run on second base to end the game.
Saturday, April 28th: The Patriots defeated the Ducks 14-3. On fireworks night at TD Bank Ballpark it was fitting that there was an offensive explosion. The Patriots tallied 15 hits as team. Every single starter in the lineup scored at least one run and recorded at least one hit. The flood gates opened in the 5th inning when the Patriots sent 11 men to the plate and scored seven runs, three of which game off the bat of Yusuf Carter after his towering three-run blast.
Sunday, April 29th: The Ducks defeated the Patriots 5-4. The Ducks overcame two different deficits and showed great resiliency rallying against Patriots closer Josh Rupe in the ninth inning to clinch the series. With the game tied 3-3 in the 8th, Patriots first baseman Jesse Hoorelbeke hit his second home run of the year to break the tie and give the Patriots their first lead since the first inning. In the ensuing half inning, the Patriots were unable to turn a relatively routine double play that allowed the Ducks to plate two runs and ultimately hang on to win the Sunday matinee.
Patriots center fielder Jonny Tucker. Tucker is off to a torrid start. The catalyst is 8-for-16 with 5 runs scored, 4 extra base hits, 2 stolen bases, and 1 spectacular web gem.
What’s not hot?
The clutch hitting. The Patriots had the tying run in scoring position with one out in the ninth inning on both Friday and Sunday and struck out in all four chances to drive the tying run in.
Nuggets You Need To Know…
The Patriots averaged an attendance of 4,968 on the opening weekend at TD Bank Park. The Patriots hit a home run in every game this past weekend (Aaron Mathews Thursday, Jesse Hoorelbeke Friday, Yusuf Carter Saturday, Jesse Hoorelbeke Sunday).
What’s On Tap…
Tomorrow at 7:00 pm the Patriots begin a three game midweek series against the Lancaster Barnstormers. The Barnstormers are coming off of a four game split against the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs. All three games will take place at Clipper Magazine Stadium. You can listen to all three games on the flagship station for Patriots baseball 1450 AM WCTC or wctcam.com as the voice of the Patriots Justin Antweil will bring you all the thrilling action.
Here’s a look at the pitching matchups for this Freedom Division showdown…
Tuesday: Patriots LHP Doug Arguello (0-0) vs. Barnstormers LHP Jon Halama (0-1)
Wednesday: Patriots RHP Mike MacDonald (0-0) vs. Barnstormers RHP J.D. Durbin (0-0)
Thursday: Patriots RHP Justin Cassel (0-1) vs. Barnstormers LHP Rich Rundles (0-0)