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Patriots drop second straight to Long Island, trail LDCS 2-1

Long Island can take series with win on Saturday

In front of an Atlantic League Playoff attendance record of 8,131 at TD Bank Ball Park on Friday night, the Somerset Patriots attempted to regain the momentum with the Liberty Division Championship Series tied at one game apiece with the Long Island Ducks.

However, the Ducks put a damper on the good vibes quickly. In the first inning, against Patriots starting pitcher Will Oliver, Lew Ford hit a chopper over a leaping David Vidal into left field bringing in Giovanny Alfonzo. Marc Krauss followed by lacing a single into left center field scoring Elmer Reyes. Angelo Songsco capped off the scoring with an RBI fielder’s choice.

Oliver managed to settle down after the rough start, retiring seven in a row at one point. Long Island starter Jake Fisher kept Somerset’s offense in check, breezing through the first five innings, striking out five while tossing 36 pitches.

“He (Will Oliver) was throwing strikes early but just let some balls up and they took advantage of it and left two strikes up,” said Somerset Patriots Manager Brett Jodie. “Their pitcher (Jake Fisher) was good, we had a good scouting report on him and knew what he liked to do and was effective. To come into this environment and throw a complete game like that you have to give him credit.”

The best scoring chance for the Patriots against Fisher came in the fifth with runners on the corner and two outs but catcher Adam Donachie flies out to deep left field. In the sixth, Oliver was one out away from an unscathed frame but Alfonzo dashed those hopes, bashing a double off the left center field wall scoring Alex Burg from third base. Oliver departed after five innings having yielded five runs on 10 hits while fanning four and walking one.

Aiming for the complete game victory in the ninth and well over 100 pitches, David Vidal spoiled Fisher’s shutout bid walloping a double that glanced off Ford’s glove on the warning track in left field allowing Kyle Roller to scoot around the bases from the first. On his 115th pitch of the night, Oliver recorded his ninth strikeout of the game, against Joe Maloney.

“We hit three balls in the first inning and got nothing for it,” Jodie said. “Wish we could have made the adjustments more than we did and had a couple of good AB’s against him (Jake Fisher) but could not push anything across and didn’t threaten too much. He did a good job and take nothing away from him. They beat us in all facets of the game.”

Somerset will attempt to keep its 2017 season alive at TD Bank Ball Park in Game 4 on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. After hammering seven runs and 16 hits in game one of the series, Somerset has mustered just two runs on 12 hits. Last season, Long Island faced an 0-2 deficit in the Liberty Division Championship Series to the Patriots, only to rally and win last three games of the series.

“We have been down 0-2, been up 2-0 and everything in between,” said Jodie. “Look, every game is unique and different day. It’s pretty simple, not the smartest guy and know what needs to be done and no room for error and go get a win tomorrow. It’s a loss, we’re down 2-1 and best of five series.”

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Sunil Sunder Raj

Since July of 2014 Sunil Sunder Raj has been with In The Zone. Sunil has experience covering minor league baseball, high school and college sports. A beat writer for the Rockland Boulders for six years, Ramapo College men’s basketball for four years, NJIT men’s basketball and Seton Hall women’s basketball. Now focusing on feature articles about athletes, coaches and sports media professionals. A graduate of Ramapo College of New Jersey with a bachelor of arts degree in journalism.
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