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Somerset’s three-run ninth not enough against Sugar Land

BRIDGEWATER, N.J. – A battle between the Atlantic League’s top two teams produced a handful of tensions at TD Bank Ballpark as the Somerset Patriots hosted the Sugar Land Skeeters.

Down 6-2 in the bottom of the ninth, Somerset outfielder Ramon Flores hit a bases-clearing double which drove in three runs with two outs. The hit gave some life to Somerset despite a rough performance throughout. Skeeter’s pitcher Felipe Paulino was inserted to get the final out and did so on four pitches to hold Sugar Land’s 6-5 lead.

“We kept fighting too,” Somerset manager Brett Jodie said. “We showed a lot of  fight and grit right there to put together some good (at-bats) and stay within striking distance. That’s all you can ask when you’re down.”

In his fourth game, Patriots hurler Thomas Dorminy got into some trouble early but managed to escape multiple jams with runners on the corners. Through two and a half innings, he had thrown nearly 50 more pitches than Skeeters’ pitcher Michael Mariot, who entered the game with the lowest ERA of any pitcher with at least 18 innings (1.00).

Mariot had his own share of a duel with a batter after a 14-pitch at-bat to Patriots infielder Craig Massey which resulted in a walk which put infield Mike Fransoso in scoring position. Designated hitter Edwin Espinal followed up Massey’s lengthy at-bat with a single which scored Fransoso from second base in the home third inning.

The pitching matchup would not be the only duel Somerset faced. Skeeter’s outfielder Jared Mitchell took a wild pitch off his helmet which caused both the benches to clear. No punches were thrown and both teams were issued a warning. Mitchell went on to finish 3-for-3 to go along with two runs and a walk. 

Tensions settled down again and a sense of normalcy was restored. Sugar Land took a 2-1 lead thanks to an RBI single by Juan Silverilo and a Cody Stanley RBI double.

Both teams remained in rough waters as the benches cleared after yet another confrontation at the plate between Patriots’ catcher Mike Ohlman and Skeeter’s designated hitter Denis Phipps. Dorminy’s pitch nearly hit Phipps and Ohlman was ejected as a result. Yovan Gonzalez entered as a replacement for Somerset. 

The Patriots look toward a day-night doubleheader on May 22 at 11:05 am and 6:35 pm. MLB representatives will be at the morning game testing the new Trackman System for a second time.

The initial test came on May 16 against High Point.

Follow Dylan Manfre on Twitter for the latest on the Somerset Patriots and 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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