Late Home Runs Sink Somerset

(PR) Central Islip, NY – Ray Navarette and Javier Colina hit homers in the bottom of the 8th inning, propelling the Long Island Ducks to a 5-2 win in the opener of a four game series at Suffolk County Sports Park on Monday night.

In a well-pitched affair, the game went tied to the 8th inning 2-2. Carlos Hines, after getting the leadoff man out, got behind of Navarette in the count and watched the defending Atlantic League MVP launch a shot over the right field wall, giving Long Island a 3-2 lead. Three batters later, after a two-out walk to John Rodriguez, Javier Colina rocketed a home run of his own into left off Hines (2-1), giving the Ducks a three-run cushion going into the 9th. The Patriots put the first two men on base against closer Ricardo Gomez, but the right-hander got Jason Belcher to ground out into a double play – the fourth twin-killing of the night from Somerset’s offense – and struck out Michael Hernandez to end the game.

Neither starter factored into the decision as Randy Leek – making his 14th career start against Somerset – went 7.0 solid innings, allowing just five hits and two runs (one earned). Despite walking three batters and hitting a Patriot, Leek induced three of his own double play balls to erase runners. Jason Monti – on a pitch count making his second start back from the disabled list – tossed 5.0 innings, yielding just one run on five hits without a walk, striking out four. Monti retired the last eight men he faced, using just 63 pitches over his outing. The only run against him came in the 2nd on a Matt Cavagnaro two-out single, driving in Robinson Cancel.

Meanwhile, Leek faced the minimum through three innings, giving up his first hit to Wayne Lydon in the 4th. After a check throw to first sailed into right field moving Lydon to second base, Josh Pressley knocked a run-scoring hit to center to tie the game. The game remained tied until the 6th when Casey Cahill took over for Monti. After retiring the first two men in the frame, Rodriguez stood in and belted a homer to right, putting Long Island in front 2-1.

Somerset would answer back in the 7th against Leek with a Noah Hall double and a Pete LaForest game-tying base hit to bring Hall home. Somerset had the go-ahead run in scoring position but Tim Raines Jr. lined a double play ball to Colina at third, ending the inning. The Ducks nearly regained the edge in the bottom of the frame against Cahill when Cavagnaro served a two-out hit into right with Cancel coming home. A hectic play sent Cancel scrambling back to third with Cavagnaro caught in a rundown. After Cancel broke for home again, Raines threw to Belcher who applied the tag at the dish, ending the inning. Bill Simas (1-0) tossed a perfect 8th while Gomez finished the 9th after the three-run Long Island assault for the save.

Somerset (6-12, 42-46) continues its series with the Long Island Ducks (9-9, 45-43) on Tuesday night. Jonathon Ellis (1-0, 1.64) will make his 11th career start and second for Somerset against former Bridgeport right-hander Kyle Jackson (0-1, 5.79). Coverage begins at 7:00 pm from Suffolk County Sports Park on 1450 WCTC-AM and online at http://www.wctcam.com and http://www.somersetpatriots.com.

NOTES: Somerset’s four double plays is second to when the Patriots hit into a season-high five double plays against Long Island in Monti’s last start on June 17 against Long Island…Hines had not allowed a run since July 1, having tossed seven straight scoreless outings…the Patriots are just 3-8 against Long Island this year and 2-8 in their last 10 in Long Island dating back to last season…Jeff Nettles went 0-4, snapping his six-game hit streak…LaForest and Pressley have combined for 36 RBI in the last 21 games…Andrew Dobies – signed and activated before the game – made his Patriot debut, replacing Hines in the 8th and getting Cancel to ground out on two pitches…Elliott Ayala, who left Sunday’s game with an elbow contusion, pinch-ran for Pressley in the 9th…the game was the shortest the Patriots have played this year (2:20).

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