Making It Raines…

(PR) Newark, NJ – Tim Raines Jr.’s three-run homer in the 5th inning was the big blow in the game as the Somerset offense put up 13 hits, en route to a 10-3 win over the Newark Bears in the opener of a four-game set at Bears and Eagles Riverfront Stadium on Thursday night.

Raines came to the plate in a tie game in the 5th after Jason Belcher had walked and Pete LaForest reached base on a catcher’s interference call. Raines took a 2-0 pitch from Kelvin Villa and launched it over the left field wall for his fifth shot of the year, putting Somerset up 4-1. Villa (1-5) had allowed the game’s first run in 1st inning on a two-out Josh Pressley RBI double plating Jeff Nettles. From there, Villa had retired nine of ten batters until walking Belcher and getting into trouble. Noah Hall brought home a run in the 6th on a fielder’s choice as Villa finished 7.0 innings, allowing just seven hits striking out three.

Somerset turned to Jonathon Ellis on Thursday as the 27-year-old made his first start in nearly four years. Ellis committed an error in the 1st allowing Elijah Dukes to reach base and the former Major Leaguer would come into score on an infield single from Brian Barton. Ellis – who had last made a start for the San Diego Padres double-A affiliate on August 29, 2006 – was spotless from there retiring nine of the next ten, just as Villa did, to finish out 4.0 innings of three-hit, one-run baseball without a walk to his name. Ben Grezlovski took over in the 5th, allowing just two hits over 2.2 innings, leaving the game in the 7th with two runners on. Carlos Hines threw a wild pitch, allowing a run to score to cut the lead to four, but ended the frame leaving the bases loaded. Somerset added a run on Derek Blacksher in the 8th with a Belcher two-out RBI to answer that run.

The Bears had a major opportunity in the 8th trailing 6-2 against Jeff Kennard. The right-hander walked three batters and gave up a RBI double to Manny Mejia, leaving the bases loaded for closer Ryan Houston. The all-star struck out Randy Gress as the Bears left the bags loaded for the second straight inning as Houston closed out a four-out save in the 9th.

Somerset gave cushion to Houston for his final frame after a four-run top of the 9th as Iggy Suarez landed the major punch. His first hit since returning from the disabled list, Suarez banged a bases-clearing double to right-center and would score an unearned run to give the Patriots 10-3 lead, one Houston would secure for the save.

Somerset (5-9, 41-43) looks for a second straight win against Newark (6-8, 27-57) on Friday when Justin Jones (4-6, 4.83) will throw for the Patriots. The lefty will be opposed by Ryan Glynn (2-0, 0.90) with coverage beginning at 7:00 pm on 1450 WCTC-AM and online at http://www.wctcam.com and http://www.somersetpatriots.com.

NOTES: Ellis, in his 266th professional appearance, made just his 10th career start…Houston’s four-out save was just his second of the year and his league-best 18th overall…Raines’ homer was his first since June 20, also against Newark…Suarez’s hit was his first since June 22 in his fourth game since June 1…Nettles went 3-5 with two runs scored…Elliott Ayala went 1-3 and left the game after the 7th. David Housel came in, singled in the 9th and scored…all of the three Newark runs were unearned against Patriot pitchers…the Patriot staff held Kennard Jones, the league-leader in hits to an 0-4 night with a walk…Somerset is 9-2 against Newark this year.

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