Patriots Drop Another To Ducks

(PR) Central Islip, NY – Josh Miller tossed an eight-inning complete game but it just wasn’t enough as the Long Island Ducks defeated the Somerset Patriots 3-2 on Tuesday night at Suffolk County Sports Park, snapping the Patriots’ four-game win streak.

Miller (3-2) allowed just three runs in his outing, the first complete game by a Patriot pitcher this season. The right-hander had not had much success on the road against Long Island and the Ducks got going early when Matt Esquivel sent a two-run homerun into left in the second, giving Long Island the advantage. The Ducks added an unearned tally against Miller in the third inning after Juan Francia led off the frame with a single, stole a base, reached third on a Miller error, and came home on a sacrifice fly. But after the base hit, the right-hander retired the next ten men, closing out with five scoreless innings pitched. Miller scattered seven hits, striking out five without issuing a walk.

As good as Miller was, Long Island starter Joselo Diaz was just as impressive. The thirty year-old allowed a double to Joe Holden leading off the game in the first, but did not allow another hit until the eighth when the Patriots finally got on the board. Jason Belcher led off with a ground ball single and Holden would return to the plate with a base knock of his own, moving Belcher to third. After Tim Raines Jr. reached on a two-out error which allowed belcher to score and extended the inning, Diaz (2-1) was removed and Ivan Maldonado came in for relief. He was rudely greeted by a Noah Hall liner to center, bringing Holden in to cut the deficit to one but that’s all the Patriots would get against the Ducks. Joe Esposito finished with a pair of strikeouts in perfect ninth inning for the save.

The Patriots only put six men on base in the first seven frames against Diaz, who walked three in 7.2 innings, allowing just three hits and a pair of unearned runs. The only true threat in those frames came in the third after back-to-back one-out walks to Iggy Suarez and Elliott Ayala. Suarez ended up at third after stealing two bases but was thrown out at home on a fielder’s choice which resulted in a collision with catcher Robinson Cancel. Cancel would exit the game due to an injury but Diaz was not deterred. Despite Long Island shortstop Matt Cavagnaro making three errors in the game and the Patriots stealing three bases, a double play and a couple of baserunning mistakes erased any other major chances against Diaz.

Somerset (17-12) and Long Island (17-13) meet again on Wednesday night as a pair of ex-Major League right-handers takes center stage. Tom Mastny (1-1, 4.00) will be opposed by Sidney Ponson (3-3, 5.70) as coverage gets underway at 6:30 on WCTC-AM and online at http://www.wctcam.com and http://www.somersetpatriots.com.

NOTES: Miller’s complete game was the first by a Patriot since Jim Magrane’s eight-inning complete game on August 8, 2009. That game also was played at Long Island and resulted in a 3-0 Ducks victory…Miller is now 3-4 in his career against Long Island and 1-3 at Suffolk County Sports Park…Raines, who reached twice on errors, had his six-game hitting streak snapped…Long Island has won all four games in the series this year…the Patriots were held to three runs or less for the fourth consecutive game, the fifth time in the last six contests.

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