Thursday: Still Stuck In Second

(PR) York, PA – As the top spot in the Freedom Division hung in the balance, the Somerset Patriots could only muster a pair of runs as the York Revolution maintained a 1.5 game lead with a 6-2 victory on Thursday night in the rubber match of a three-game series at Sovereign Bank Stadium.

The Patriot offense, the second-best scoring team in the league, got going early against York starter Derell McCall. A Michael Hernandez single drove in Noah Hall in the opening inning but Somerset would sputter for the next six innings. McCall (5-1) allowed hits in the 2nd and 3rd innings but stranded both runners at third base. The Patriots would not tally another hit until the 6th when Josh Pressley lined a single off the right-hander, moving Matt Hagen, who had walked, to second base pushing McCall out of the game. With two chances to bring home a run, both Jason Belcher and Joe Burke, a pair of lefties, were struck out by southpaw Jim Heuser. Somerset would have a similar opportunity in the 8th after back-to-back singles from Hall and Hernandez to lead the inning against Sean Stidfole. However, Matt Riley fanned Pressley and Burke with a Belcher RBI single sandwiched between the inning ending strikeouts. Somerset notched one hit from the 4th to the 8th, leaving eight men on base for the game, five in scoring position. McCall finished 5.1 innings allowing just five hits and one run while the York bullpen had another solid night over 3.2 frames.

Josh Miller was on the hill for Somerset and the 31-year-old matched a career-high with his second complete game, tossing 8.0 innings, scattering nine hits. But after his offense staked him to an early lead, the Revs came back to tie the game in the bottom of the 1st with an unearned run when Ramon Castro scored on a dropped two-out fly ball from Hernandez in left field. Two more unearned runs scored in the 3rd after a Hagen throw to first hit Scott Grimes in the back on his way to first. With runners at the corners, a botched fielder’s choice loaded the bases and a run would score, coming at the price of a double play. Ian Bladergroen added the second run on a base hit to right field, giving the Revolution all the offense they’d need. Three runs scored against Miller (5-4) in the 5th inning to make it 6-1. Miller saved the bullpen with an efficient rest of the night allowing just one hit over his final three innings of work. The right-hander allowed six runs, three earned, striking out a pair with just one walk.

Somerset (33-26) heads to Waldorf, MD for a matchup with the Liberty Division leaders, the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs. Mike Thompson will take the ball in the opener as coverage begins at 7:00 pm on 1450 WCTC-AM and online at http://www.wctcam.com and http://www.somersetpatriots.com.

NOTES: Somerset went 2-14 with runners in scoring position…The Patriots struck out 27 times in the series…Miller’s complete game was his second of the season but both have resulted in losses. In those games, the Patriots have scored just four runs total…it was the 10th complete game of his career in 123 starts…Belcher, along with Hernandez and Hall, had two hits…the 7-9 hitters (Burke, Elliott Ayala, Tim Raines Jr.) went a combined 0-12…the Patriots did not have a homer, snapping a streak of seven consecutive games where they went deep…after the longest nine-inning game of the year on Wednesday (3:47), the game was played in a brisk 2:25.

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