Somerset Drops First Game In Newark

(PR) Newark, NJ – Brian Henderson put two on and Stephen Shults sent a shot into the left-field netting with the bases loaded off Casey Cahill in the seventh as the Newark Bears scored six unanswered runs, knocking off the Somerset Patriots 7-3 in the opener of a three-game series at Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium on Friday night.

Shults’ first home run of the season came at an opportune time. Henderson (1-1) had entered in relief of Jason Monti in the sixth inning where a Matt Hagen error allowed Shults to come in and score an unearned run, tying the game at 3-3. Shults would make a bigger impact the next frame as Henderson started the seventh and immediately saw Scott Spiezio double to left and move to third on a Daryle Ward groundout. After intentionally walking the left-handed John-Ford Griffin, Cahill came in to face former Patriot Teuris Olivares. Instead, left-hander James Cooper came in to pinch-hit for Olivares and was hit by Cahill, loading the bases, bringing Shults to the plate. After swinging and missing on the first pitch, Shults connected and lifted one deep to left field for a grand slam, giving the Bears their first lead of the night and one they would not relinquish.

Newark trailed 3-1 going to the bottom of the fifth where Monti allowed a run to score, beginning the Bear comeback. Monti was done after that, tossing five innings, scattering seven hits allowing a pair of runs, only one of which was earned.

The Patriots took a lead in the first inning off of Newark starter Vince Perkins, who last pitched in the Atlantic League in 2008. A pair of walks and a bunt single loaded the bases for a Hagen RBI groundout and a Joe Burke sacrifice fly. After Monti allowed an unearned run in the bottom of the frame, the Patriots added to their lead with a lone run in the fifth after Wayne Lydon scored an unearned run on a RBI fielder’s choice off the bat of Hagen.

Somerset (18-14) returns to Newark for game two on Saturday night as Mike Thompson (1-1, 2.35) squares off with James O’Donnell (2-0, 1.91). Coverage begins at 7:00 from Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium on WCTC-AM and online at http://www.wctcam.com and http://www.somersetpatriots.com.

NOTES: The loss marks the first time the Patriots have lost back-to-back games since May 12-13…Hagen has a team-leading 23 RBI, his fifth multi-RBI game of the season… Lydon hit leadoff for the first time since Sunday as the designated hitter…newly acquired JR Hopf came in at first base for Burke…five of the seven hits came from the bottom third of the order…Jeff Kennard pitched a scoreless eighth…Elliott Ayala committed two errors while Hagen had the other. The three errors ties a season-high.

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