Somerset Sweeps Doubleheader; Takes First Place In Division

(PR) Lancaster, PA – The Somerset Patriots scored four runs in their last at-bat to come from behind and steal a 7-6 win over the Lancaster Barnstormers in the nightcap of a doubleheader on Thursday at Clipper Magazine Stadium. The Patriots swept the twinbill, taking game one by a final of 4-1 and leapfrogging the York Revolution for first place in the Atlantic League’s Freedom Division.

Down three runs in the top of the 7th inning with just two singles to their name, the Patriots began a four-hit assault kicked off by a Vito Chiaravalloti knock with one out against Jason Simontacchi. The former St. Louis Cardinal had tossed a perfect 6th but with a pair of lefties due up, Barnstormer skipper Tom Herr opted for his southpaw closer Tim Hamulack (0-1). The Patriots answered as JR Hopf pulled a double down the line in right, moving Chiaravalloti to third. Joe Burke came up swinging on the first pitch, seemingly grounding out to the first baseman Ryan Mulhern to bring Chiaravalloti home. However, the play was ruled catcher’s interference after Josh Johnson impeded Burke at the plate. This became a major turning point, loading the bases, still with just one out in a 6-3 game. Wayne Lydon cracked a first-pitch fastball into left, bringing pinch-runner Zach Smithlin home and Tim Raines Jr. followed with a near-double play ball turned groundout, allowing the fifth Patriot run in Hopf to pass. Facing a 1-1 count, Noah Hall sent his third base hit of the day through the hole at short allowing both Burke and Lydon to come across, giving the Patriots a 7-6 lead, one they would not relinquish. Ben Grezlovski picked up his first Patriot save for a series win and a half-game lead in the division.

The Patriots overcame a 4-0 1st-inning deficit after starter Mike Thompson gave up a pair of long shots to Aaron Herr and Mulhern. Somerset climbed back to within one after answering with three 2nd-inning runs against Thompson’s high school rival and former teammate Sean Thompson. A sharp Chiaravalloti grounder ticked off of Herr’s glove at third allowing a pair of runs to score while Burke laid down a safety squeeze plating Elliott Ayala. But Lancaster banged out two more runs in the 3rd to take a 6-3 lead, one that would stay intact until the fateful 7th. Thompson battled back to retire the final eight men he faced, finishing 5.0 innings while Carlos Hines (1-0) pitched a perfect 6th to bridge the gap to the 7th. The only Lancaster hit over its last four innings was an infield single by Joe Gaetti in the final frame against Grezlovski, who sent down the last three batters in a row.

The win came on the heels of a 10-hit attack in game one where the Patriots scored all four of their runs in the final three innings. Josh Miller tallied another quality start, going 6.0 innings yielding just three hits, one of which contributed to the only run he allowed; a solo home run to Jason Perry three batters into the game. Despite the shot given up to the league leader in home runs, Miller was unfazed sending down the next dozen Barnstormers until a Michael Woods single snapped the streak in the 5th. Miller hit Gaetti and saw Reggie Taylor snap a single off of him in the 6th but retired the final three batters he faced in a row, stranding a pair of baserunners in the process.

Somerset trailed 1-0 all the way through the 4th until three straight hits broke the seal against Jose Sanchez (2-6) in the 5th. Ayala snuck to first with a single and Hopf followed with a hard-hit double off the wall in right-center, bringing Ayala home. Burke would come through with a base knock bringing home the go-ahead and eventual winning run. Matt Hagen added an RBI single in the 6th, plating Noah Hall while Michael Hernandez went deep for the fifth time this season, blasting an opposite field shot to lead off the 7th, providing some insurance for Ryan Houston who walked a pair but struck out two as well, en route to his league-best 11th save and a 4-1 Patriots victory.

Somerset (26-19) now heads to Bridgeport, CT in first place for four games in three days against the Bluefish. Coverage begins on Friday at 7:05 pm on 1450 WCTC-AM and online at http://www.wctcam.com and http://www.somersetpatriots.com.

NOTES: Chiaravalloti’s single was his first hit of the year and his grounder in the 2nd brought in his first RBI of the season…Grezlovski’s save was the 82nd of his professional career…every Patriot that started, except for Raines, tallied at least one hit in the doubleheader…Hines has now tossed 7.1 straight scoreless innings…the Patriots only stranded five batters in the twinbill…the win in game two was the Patriots seventh come-from-behind win and ninth in their last at-bat…all three runs against Hamulack were unearned, as were two of the runs against (Sean) Thompson in the 2nd…Miller has gone 6.0 innings in all 10 of his starts and has allowed two earned runs or less in each of his last six outings…the Patriots are 4-2 in doubleheaders this season…Somerset is 11-4 against left-handed starters.

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