In their first game as the Double-A affiliate of the New York Yankees, the Somerset Patriots used four pitchers to shut out the Harrisburg Senators, 6-0, at TD Bank Ballpark on Tuesday night.
It marked the first Double-A managerial win for Julio Mosquera.
“It was an exciting day today, something we’ve been waiting for for a long time,” he said. “The players, they were excited about it, and it’s something they’ve been working for for a long time. I could see it in their eyes, as soon as we walked out of this clubhouse, that they were ready to go…they came ready to pitch, they came ready to hit and they did a tremendous job.”
In his first regular season Double-A at-bat — and the first ever at-bat by the Somerset Patriots as an affiliated club — Estevan Florial hit a no-doubt homer to right field that, incredibly, hit the billboard of late franchise owner Steve Kalafer’s Flemington Car and Truck Country in right field, and Luis Gil looked sharp over 3 2/3 innings in what was his Double-A debut as well.
Gil threw just 63 pitches (38 strikes) and racked up six strikeouts along the way, using a hard fastball that he was elevating right around the letters or a tick higher to blow away Senators hitters.
“I liked what I saw,” Mosquera said. “He mixed his pitches a lot and didn’t just rely on his fastball, so that was good.”
Ron Marinaccio was excellent in relief of Gil, spinning 3 1/3 frames of hitless ball with seven strikeouts, while Stephen Ridings and Greg Weissert threw scoreless eighth and ninth innings, respectively, to close it out.
Marinaccio is a Toms River native who said he was able to have some friends and family at the game, but surely anyone in attendance would have liked what they saw out of the 25-year-old righty on Tuesday night, with the possible exception of when he says he turned his ankle a little bit after landing awkwardly after a pitch to the last batter he faced, Osvaldo Duarte, whom he eventually struck out anyway.
Other than that? All good.
“I felt really good, I had the changeup working, which has been a pitch that I discovered to be a better pitch than I thought this year,” he said. “I’m starting to mix that in a little bit, and I kept hitters off balance with that today.”
The outing also provided some unexpected length out of the bullpen, as Marinaccio has averaged less than two innings in his pro career so far. To go 3 1/3 was a welcome surprise.
“For me, whenever they need me, I’m ready to go out there and get as many outs as I can get,” he said. “I’ve been in the back end (of the bullpen) in previous years, and I’m ready to do that, and I’m ready to go out there and throw as many pitches as I can too. I’m feeling good and I’m ready to throw.”
Thomas Milone was the only Patriots player to record multiple hits, but broke the game open against Senators starter Tim Cate early on, smacking a three-run homer in the first inning, followed by a double later in the game.
After seven years in the Rays system, in which he topped out at Double-A, Milone signed with the Yankees as a minor league free agent prior to a 2020 season that never happened. So, this was his first actual game in an organization he’s been in for two years, and he was asked after the game about the importance of finally getting to make a good first impression.
“I’d say it was really important for me,” Milone said. “I hold myself to high expectations every single game, and I want to go out there and play the best I can. I wouldn’t say there was any added pressure, but yeah, it felt pretty good to come in and make a good first impression.”