Somerset Win Streak Reaches 10
It has, without question, been a frustrating homestand for the Lancaster Barnstormers.
Playing in a chilly drizzle for the third straight night, the Barnstormers pulled off an exhilarating bottom of the ninth rally, only to see the winning run left in scoring position in three straight innings. Somerset, with fresh life, exploded for eight runs in the top of the 12th inning to defeat the Barnstormers, 10-3.
For the Barnstormers, it was the fourth consecutive loss. Meanwhile, the defending Atlantic League champion Patriots reeled off their 10th consecutive win to start the season.
Mike McDade stroked a single to center, his third straight hit, with one out in the bottom of the ninth to trigger a rally off Somerset closer Jon Hunton. Mike Jacobs forced pinch runner Justin Jackson at second, but Kevin Ahrens kept the hopes alive with a single up the middle. Charlie Cutler took a 3-2 pitch into the right field corner for an RBI single to bring Lancaster within a run. Michael Crouse fought Hunton and singled up the middle to score Jacobs, tying the game.
Jeff Kobernus was retired to end the inning on a line drive scalded into the glove of second baseman Eric Farris.
The Barnstormers built another chance in the 10th. Travis Witherspoon reached on a bad throw by shortstop Mycal Jones, and Caleb Gindl followed with a single through the right side. Both runners moved ahead on Josh Bell’s fly to moderately deep center. That brought up Jackson, a former infielder who had converted to the mound, to the plate for the first time since 2012. He was caught looking at a third strike by Arik Sikula (1-0). Somerset pitched around Jacobs, and Sikula got Ahrens to fly out to shallow right to end the threat.
In the 11th, the Barnstormers had another chance. Cutler led off with a single and moved to second on Crouse’s sacrifice. Kobernus flied out to center. Witherspoon drew a walk, but Gindl popped to third on the first pitch of his at bat as the Patriots’ winning streak again survived.
Al Yevoli (0-2) got a weak line drive to third out of Rob Kral to open the 12th, the fourth straight out for the lefty. Trayvon Robinson singled to left. Aharon Eggleston worked out a full count walk, and Bryan LaHair punched an 0-2 pitch into left to load the bases.
Mark Lamm came in and walked Matt Fields on four pitches to force in the lead run. Jones lashed a single into right for a 4-2 lead, and Brad Snyder belted a long grand slam to right center.
By the time it ended, nine straight Patriots reached base. After Jason Stevenson struck out Robinson for the second out, Eggleston capped the scoring with a two-run flare to left.
Jacobs launched his first Atlantic League home run in the bottom of the 12th.
The series concludes on Sunday afternoon at 2:00. J.D. Martin (1-0) is slated for Lancaster against left-hander Matt Bywater (0-0). Fans may tune into the Barnstormers YouTube Channel, starting at 1:45.
NOTES: Bryan Woodall allowed two runs in seven innings as the starter…It was his 11th quality start in his last 12 appearances as a Barnstormer…Somerset scored in the second, the first run off of Woodall in his last four Atlantic League starts…The right-hander walked two, the most in his last seven starts as a Barnstormer…Kobernus lost a hitting streak at nine games…Gindl has hit safely in all nine starts, and Jacobs has reached base in all ten games…The Barnstormers have 31 hits in the series but only six runs…They are 4-for-26 (.154) with runners in scoring position and 27-for-92 (.293) otherwise…There have been 62 strikeouts in the three games.