The Somerset Patriots (11-0) completed their third straight sweep to start the season as they outlasted the Lancaster Barnstormers (5-6) 11-8 Sunday afternoon at Clipper Magazine Stadium. The Patriots fought for their 11thstraight win to extend a league record for most wins to start a season. The offense generated a season-high in runs and hits (19) as the Patriots tallied their fifth come from behind win of the season. Somerset trailed 6-4 after four innings but scored seven of the game’s final nine runs.
“Guys have been swinging the bat well, but sometimes in baseball, balls are hit hard and lined at someone,” said first year hitting coach Glen Barker. “But everything seemed to be dropping today. As long as good approaches are taken I know good results will show.”
Somerset jumped out to a 3-0 advantage in the first inning. Bryan LaHair slapped an RBI double, Carlos Guzman recorded an RBI sacrifice fly and another run crossed home via a Lancaster fielding error.
The Patriots tacked on another in the second inning when Matt Fields ripped an RBI single.
Starter Matt Bywater could not hold the lead as the Barnstormers scored six unanswered runs in the third and fourth innings. Caleb Gindl, Josh Bell and Mike McDade connected on three straight two-out RBI hits. The next inning Josh Whitaker pounded an RBI single and Gindl recorded an RBI fielder’s choice.
The Patriots persevered as they regained the lead in the ensuing half inning. They tallied five straight hits to start the fifth inning. The biggest two came via Mycal Jones, who clubbed a game tying two RBI triple, and Rob Kral, who finished with four hits including a go ahead RBI single in that inning.
“We never panic,” said Jones who’s one of 18 newcomers on Somerset. “Last night the pitchers picked us up when we went in a drought until the 12th inning. Today the offense rose to the occasion. Timely hits are the name of the game and we got a bunch of them today.”
The offense continued to sizzle as four more runs were put up in the sixth inning. LaHair became the seventh different Patriot to hit a home run (1) through the first 11 games. Eric Farris socked an RBI single as did Jones and Kral to make the contest 11-6.
The bottom third of the Patriots order consisting of Farris, Jones and Kral totaled 10 hits and six RBI.
“Our lineup was relentless today,” remarked manager Brett Jodie. “It started with Scott Kelly at the top and trickled down to the end.”
Lancaster cut the deficit to 11-8 when Whitaker drilled a two-run home run (1) in the bottom of the sixth off winning pitcher Connor Little (2-0). Little tossed 1.2 innings. Somerset’s bullpen currently boasts a 1.68 ERA this season.
Barnstormers star J.D. Martin (1-1) sustained the loss, tossing 4.1 innings yielding 12 hits and seven runs.
Jeremy McBryde, celebrating his 29th birthday, notched the save (1), throwing a scoreless ninth inning.
“We are a family. It’s that simple,” said a smiling Guzman who tried to digest this team’s perfect start. “We trust each other and let our natural abilities take over.”
The 2016 Somerset Patriots season presented by Ford continues on Tuesday, May 3rd when the Patriots return to TD Bank Ballpark for a 7:05 p.m. game against the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs. For tickets, call 908-252-0700 or visit http://www.somersetpatriots.com.