Bridgewater, NJ – Tonight the Somerset Patriots (0-0, 77-63) host the Long Island Ducks (0-0, 72-68) for Game One 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. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. from TD Bank Ballpark. Download today’s comprehensive game notes. There will be a Postgame Fireworks Extravaganza, plus the game will be broadcast via SPN.TV.
UPDATE: Audio of Scott Kelly’s Game One Walk-Off Homer as Patriots defeat Ducks 3-2 in 11 innings to grab a 1-0 series lead in the best-of-five matchup.
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
Righty Will Oliver (7-2, 3.30 ERA) toes the rubber for Somerset while fellow right hander John Brownell (10-8, 3.30 ERA) will toss for Long Island. Oliver has yielded three runs or fewer in 14 of his 16 starts and has not tallied a loss in his last nine starts. Last year in the playoffs he was 2-0 with 1.13 ERA. Brownell is the reigning Atlantic League Pitcher of the Year. He was named the 2013 Atlantic League Championship Series MVP. This year against Somerset in three starts he is 1-0 with a 3.32 ERA.
The Patriots and Ducks went 10-10 against each other this year. 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.
Eric Farris has played six different positions for Somerset. He hit .377 in 15 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.