Patriots Lose In Squeaker On Long Island

(PR) Central Islip, NY – Jeff Nettles and Josh Pressley drove in ninth
inning runs but the rally was one score short as the Long Island Ducks
finished off a sweep of the Somerset Patriots, winning 8-7 on Thursday
night.

Trailing by three going into the top of the ninth, Joe Burke drew an
Ivan Maldonado walk to lead off the inning. Ryan Freel sent a tapper
to Maldonado who attempted to sidearm a throw to second base in hopes
of cutting down Burke. Instead the ball skipped into the outfield,
allowing Burke to reach third. Nettles stood in with one out and
banged a run-scoring double to left, putting Freel at third. Elliott
Ayala came into pinch-run for Nettles and reached third when Pressley
rolled a grounder to second, allowing Freel to score. With the tying
run 90 feet away, Noah Hall launched the first pitch he saw down the
right field line, hoping to even up the game. But the ball fell just
foul and Hall would eventually ground out to end the contest, giving
Maldonado the save. The three-game sweep is the first the Patriots
have suffered since dropping a trio to Southern Maryland, August 24-26
of last season.

Long Island starter Randy Leek pitched seven innings, spreading out
eight hits and five runs, four earned. Leek (1-1), who walked a pair
while striking out one, gave up a two-run Pressley home run in the
first inning, a game-tying, two-run triple to Matt Hagen in the
fourth, and a Burke RBI groundout in the sixth which gave the Patriots
a 5-4 edge.

Jason Monti smoothly got through two relief innings after starter
Justin Jones allowed four runs on seven hits in three frames. The lead
changed hands for the fourth time when, in his third inning of work,
Monti (0-1) saw a Matt Cavagnaro two-run shot head over the right
field fence, putting the Ducks in front 6-5. Two more Long Island runs
came in on a Matt Esquivel homer in the seventh off of Daryl Arreola.

Somerset has dropped five straight games for the first time since a
six-game skid, August 17-21 of 2008, four of those losses coming at
Suffolk County Sports Park. The Patriots (1-5) are off to their worst
start in franchise history but finally come home to open up the slate
at TD Bank Ballpark against the Bridgeport Bluefish. Mike Thompson
will get the start Friday for the Patriots against left-hander Paul
Oseguera in a rematch from six days prior. The game will be carried
live on 1450, WCTC-AM and online at http://www.wctcam.com and
http://www.somersetpatriots.com beginning at 7:00 pm. Gates open at 6:00 pm
as the Patriots will receive their 2009 championship rings prior to
the game. Pre-game festivities will also include the raising of the
championship flag and fans can stay afterwards for a post-game
fireworks show, courtesy of EmPower Somerset.

NOTES: Nettles has a hit in all six games this year…the two
ninth-inning runs are just the 2nd and 3rd the Patriots have scored
after the sixth inning…Brian Henderson pitched a scoreless eighth…the
Somerset defense turned three double plays…The Patriots pitchers
struck out seven batters, a season-high.

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