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Long Island regains Liberty Division lead over Somerset

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. – Somerset entered probably the most important series on its schedule (June 28) tied with the Long Island Ducks for the Liberty Division lead.

Long Island stranded men in scoring position on multiple occasions throughout the game until the eighth inning when catcher Hector Sánchez blasted a no-doubt three-run homer on a 1-1 count en route to a 3-1 come from behind victory.

Nine days remain until the Atlantic League crowns its first-half champion and a few key things were on the line when the Patriots and Ducks played for the third time this month. The winner of the Liberty Division title earns an automatic playoff bid and a choice of whether or not they want home field advantage. With the season series tied 3-3 between the two clubs tonight every game counts.

Tasked with navigating his was through a tough Ducks lineup, Patriots pitcher Liam O’Sullivan quickly reached five strikeouts through four innings which would be the fewest innings needed for him to reach the mark.

The 27-year-old righty hurled finished with six scoreless innings and struck out a season-high seven batters. That brought the starting rotation’s scoreless inning count to 19 after Thomas Dorminy and David Kubiak tossed respective shutouts over the last two games

I had my cutter working tonight which was really nice. They were pretty aggressive the first time through the lineup,” O’Sullivan said after the game. “Second time through they were taking the first pitches. I was just missing, [threw the ball] outside of the plate and fell behind into some 1-0 counts and got myself into some jams.”

O’Sullivan even showed a bit of swagger defensively as Rey Fuentes hit a line drive to an unfazed O’Sullivan in the fifth inning. He caught the ball and turned as if the Somerset catcher Mike Ohlman had thrown it to him.

“It was a change up away, I kind of got the end of the barrel back at me,” O’Sullivan said through a smile. “When a ball comes back at you like that it kind of starts moving in slow motion a little bit so I just looked and got my glove up in time in order to catch it. It’s just a part of the game.”

Jimmy Paredes, who missed much of the season due to visa issues, set a spark for the Patriots as Ohlman would send him across the plate for the lone Somerset run.

Kubiak is set to toe the rubber for Somerset against southpaw Darin Downs at 7:05 pm.

Follow Dylan Manfre on Twitter for the latest on the Somerset Patriots and the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball.

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Dylan is a sophomore journalism major at Rider University in Lawrenceville, New Jersey and covers the Somerset Patriots and Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. He is also the Sports Editor of Rider's student newspaper, The Rider News.
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