A long day at TD Bank Ballpark was a very productive one for the Somerset Patriots on Saturday night.
Eventually playing in front of what would be the largest crowd of the season, the Double-A affiliate of the New York Yankees swept their doubleheader with the Reading Fightin’ Phils by the scores of 7-2 and 6-1 in Game 1 and Game 2, respectively.
Zack Britton — there’s a whole other post on his final rehab outing with Somerset today — was likely the story of the opener, but Somerset got homers from Dermis Garcia, Oliver Dunn and the first professional shot for Aaron Palensky to help power them to the win.
The overall picture of the day became a lot more clear in the nightcap though, with Patriots starter Matt Krook pulled after five no-hit innings, and Dunn finished off strong with a highlight-reel catch at shortstop and a bases-loaded double that drove in three more runs to cap off one of the better days of his career.
With the short turnaround to the day game to finish the homestand on Sunday, here are some quick comments from Dunn and manager Julio Mosquera on the night’s events…
Dunn on his big doubleheader performance: “It was just one of those days. I’ve been scuffling a little bit and been doing a lot of work with Joe (Migliaccio), our hitting coach. I was looking for pitches I could drive over the middle of the plate, and I got some today and hit them, which was good. It just felt good to help the team win. (The adjustments are) just some mechanical things with where my bat starts before I start my swing, just things to clean up a little timing and things that will give me better chances on some pitches.”
Dunn on why the team’s been clicking: “We have an awesome group of guys, good atmosphere in the clubhouse, and we just play the game hard, which has been the most fun part. I’ve only been here a couple weeks, but we’ve made a ton of comebacks, we’ve played a ton of games where — and I think it’s a credit to us — when we go up big, we always keep pushing. It’s easy to take some innings of when you play a lot in a row, but the team has done a really good job of playing the game right way, and we play it hard. I think that’s contagious. When everybody is doing it, you start playing together and it makes winning easy and fun.”
Dunn on if the team noticed that they had a no-hitter going on through five innings of Game 2: “I’m not sure many of us noticed. When the hit happened, we looked up, saw ‘one’ and were like, ‘oh.’ Krook is so fun to play behind, he’s fast-paced, he’s going right at hitters and he’s got good stuff. I wasn’t totally sure, I realized it kinda, but it wasn’t something I was super aware of. Our pitchers are all so fun to play behind. Those dudes are really good, they make playing defense a lot of fun.”
Mosquera on pulling Krook after five no-hit innings: “It wasn’t difficult…we have a plan, and we have a lot of guys that haven’t pitched in a long time, so we have to try to get those guys in there. I thought he did a really good job, so I tried to get him out of there on a good note. We really don’t look at (the no-hitter). I’ll be honest with you, I didn’t even pay attention to it. I just follow what we need to do as an organization, and it’s something where we’re never going to jeopardize somebody’s development to try to get a no-hitter. We don’t look for that. We have a plan already in place, and we follow the plan.”
Mosquera on Dunn’s big day: “Oliver is a guy that’s going to go out there and grind. He’s working hard, he’s been trying to get better pitches to swing at and his swing is a lot more simple now, and that’s what he’s been trying to work on. It’s good to see, good results when guys work hard…it’s good to see him go out there and have success, and I’m very happy for him for the day that he had today.”