Lancaster, PA – The Somerset Patriots (3-4) won the rubber game of this three game midweek series against the Lancaster Barnstormers (3-4) 3-2 in 10 innings. Center fielder Johnny Drennen hit his second home run (2) in as many nights as his blast to deep right center field gave the Patriots a 3-2 lead in the 10th inning. Patriots closer Josh Rupe would pitch 2.1 innings to preserve the win.
Patriots starting pitcher Justin Cassel was brilliant as he tossed seven shutout innings scattering just two hits while striking out five batters but did not factor into the decision. Cassel faced one batter over the minimum in his seven strong innings of work.
The Patriots would score their first run of the game in the top of the third inning. Catcher Yusuf Carter hit a single up the middle and would steal second base. Shortstop Rex Rundgren hit a single to shallow left field and the ball was bobbled by left fielder Blake Gailen allowing Carter to score on the error.
The Patriots would take a 2-0 lead in the fifth inning thanks to a Rundgren sacrifice fly to center field to drive in Carter. Carter hit a leadoff double and was moved over to third base after Drennen executed a perfect sacrifice bunt.
In the eighth inning with one out, Barnstormer second baseman Brad Boyer hit a solo home run (1) to right center field to cut the deficit in half and make the score 2-1. Later in the inning with the bases loaded, Rupe threw a passed ball that got by Carter and plated designated hitter Fehlendt Lentini to tie the game at 2-2.
By playing in his 875th game tonight, Patriots third baseman Jeff Nettles broke Brad Strauss’s all-time record for most games played in the Atlantic League. Strauss played in a combined 874 contests from 2000-07 with the Atlantic City Surf, Long Island Ducks and most notably the Camden Riversharks.
Nettles also broke Drew Maness’s record for most at bats in Atlantic League history. With four at bats tonight, Nettles has registered 3,243 at bats throughout his nine year Atlantic League career. Maness totaled 3,242 at bats in 1999 with the Patriots and 2001-07 with the Riversharks.
Next on tap for Nettles is the all-time Atlantic League hits record. Nettles is just three hits away from tying Rolando Avila’s all-time Atlantic League hits record of 933.
The 2012 Somerset Patriots Season presented by Ford continues tomorrow night. The Patriots are home tomorrow night at 7:05pm at TD Bank Ballpark to take on the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs. The game includes a 15th Anniversary T-Shirt for the first 2,000 fans courtesy of ImClone Systems. For tickets call (908) 252-0700 or visit www.somersetpatriots.com.