Quack, Quack, Quack, Mr. Ducksworth

(PR) Central Islip, NY – A three-run fourth inning gave Tom Mastny all the cushion he needed for a seven-inning performance as the Somerset Patriots defeated the Long Island Ducks 6-3 on Wednesday night at Suffolk County Sports Park, evening up a three-game series.

The Patriots took a 2-1 lead into the fourth against Long Island starter Sidney Ponson. The ex-Baltimore Oriole issued a leadoff walk to Elliott Ayala and allowed a single from Iggy Suarez, setting up a Wayne Lydon sacrifice bunt and a Joe Holden RBI single. Noah Hall followed with a sacrifice fly against Ponson (3-4) and Matt Hagen’s second double of the game capped off the three-run frame scoring Holden to give the Patriots a 5-1 advantage, a lead which would be plenty for Mastny (2-1).

The 29-year-old Mastny worked efficiently in his longest outing as a Patriot. Matt Esquivel hit his second home run of the series off Mastny in the second inning to tie the game at 1-1 but Mastny was spotless from there, allowing just four baserunners through his next four innings of work. After retiring the first two men in the seventh, Juan Francia drew a four-pitching walk. The Ducks finally got to Mastny with a Ray Navarette home run, cutting the deficit in half. But Mastny finished the frame, going seven innings, striking out a season-high four batters, allowing just three runs in his second quality start.

The Patriots added an insurance run in the eighth for Ben Grezlovski who threw a scoreless eighth, setting the stage for Ryan Houston’s perfect ninth as he saved his seventh game in as many opportunities.

Somerset scored early on Ponson with an unearned run in the second on an Ayala base hit, while Joe Burke gave the Patriots their final lead of the game in the third with an RBI single. Ponson also went seven, allowing nine hits and four earned runs as he lost his fourth start in five decisions.

Somerset (18-12) and Long Island (17-14) square off in the rubber-game of the series on Thursday night as southpaws Justin Jones (3-0, 4.26) and Randy Leek (5-1, 4.08) meet with coverage beginning at 6:30 on WCTC-AM and online at http://www.wctcam.com and http://www.somersetpatriots.com.

NOTES: Mastny is just the second Patriot starter to earn a win in the last 10 games. Jones is the only other, winning both of his starts…the six runs snapped a streak of four straight games of three runs or less by Somerset…the win also ends a streak of five-straight games lost to Long Island…the Patriots are 16-7 in May…Mike Hernandez pinch-hit for Lydon in the eighth, driving in the insurance run on an infield single. The hit was just the second by a Patriot pinch-hitter this season… Lydon returned to the lineup, going 0-2 with the sacrifice after exiting Sunday’s game with a groin injury…Josh Pressley played for the first time since May 2, starting at designated hitter and going 0-4. Pressley was pinch-hit for in the ninth by rookie Paul Bottigliero who popped out in his first professional at-bat.


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