Your First Place Somerset Patriots

(PR) Lancaster, PA – Somerset scored three runs off Charlie Weatherby in the 7th for a comeback victory as the Patriots defeated the Lancaster Barnstormers 3-2 on Saturday night at Clipper Magazine Stadium. With their ninth win in their last 11 games, the Patriots took sole possession of first place for the first time since June 12 in the Atlantic League’s Freedom Division.

Behind Jason Monti’s 6.0 innings of one-run baseball, Somerset stayed within striking distance all night until the 7th inning. After back-to-back base hits for Matt Hagen and Noah Hall, Elliott Ayala’s base hit to right field tied the game at 1-1. Jason Belcher laid down a sacrifice bunt moving Ayala and Hall up a base but Weatherby (1-4) muffed the ground ball allowing Belcher to reach safely, loading the bases for Iggy Suarez. A walk to Suarez brought Hall home, putting the Patriots in front while knocking Weatherby out of the game. Joe Burke grounded out against Pat Overholt, bringing Ayala in for the third run putting Monti (3-6) in line for the win.

Lancaster got to within one with a Bryant Nelson RBI groundout in the 8th against Scott Williamson, a run charged to Ben Grezlovski. Grezlovski pitched a scoreless 7th but put leadoff man Lloyd Turner on base. Williamson entered with one out, saw Nelson come home, and struck out Aaron Herr ending the frame. Williamson struck out two men in the 9th after putting the tying run on base for his third Patriot save. Monti struck out five batters, scattering five hits, going 6.0 innings for the first time since June 12 and picked up his first win since June 7.

The Barnstormers scored the game’s first run in the 3rd while starter Ben Fritz tossed 5.0 scoreless innings, yielding just three hits and walking three, but inducing two double play balls to keep the Patriot offense at bay. Fritz – the league ERA leader but just a three-game winner – got little help from the offense but danced his way out of trouble multiple times, including loading the bases in the 5th with one out, only to wiggle his way out of the jam. Ross Peeples tossed the 6th without damage before Somerset got to Weatherby in the 7th.

Somerset (21-22, 57-56) looks for the series sweep against Lancaster (19-22, 50-61) on Sunday night in the final meeting of the year between the clubs. Jon Ellis (2-2, 3.34) faces Jason Simontacchi (4-6, 5.61) with coverage beginning at 5:55 pm on 1450 WCTC-AM and online at http://www.wctcam.com and http://www.somersetpatriots.com.

NOTES: Jeff Nettles went 0-4, still stuck at 499 career Somerset RBIs… the Patriots assured themselves of a winning season against Lancaster, now 11-8 against the Barnstormers with one game left. The Patriots have never had a losing year against Lancaster…Grezlovski has allowed runs in three straight outings after 8.0 scoreless innings…Ayala went 3-4 with a run scored and an RBI.

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