Saturday, April 26, 2014

L.I. Ducks: Somerset Patriots Outlast Defending Champs In Season Opener

From the desk of:  THE WEBBED SPIKES NINE

Friday Final
Patriots   3
15 innings

LONG ISLAND DUCKS: Somerset Patriots Need Overtime To Unruffle Flock In Season Opener.

Patriots fans attending yesterday's Opening Day game in Somerset were treated to, among other things, free baseball.  That's because the Somerset Patriots and Long Island Ducks dueled for 15 innings last night, until the Patriots finally prevailed almost 4 1/2 hours after the call to play ball.

That's perhaps no consolation for the way last season ended between these two clubs, but Friday night's victory over the Ducks was a small measure of revenge nonetheless.

Last year's Atlantic League championship series MVP, John Brownell climbed the hill for visiting Long Island, and was opposed by Somerset's Erik Arnesen.

The Ducks fell behind in the 2nd inning, when Patriots first baseman Dennis Raben led off the frame with a home run off John Brownell.

Long Island would take the lead on the 4th however.  Lead-off singles by Chris McClendon and Fehlandt Lentini set up first and third for Lew Ford, who's sac fly gave the Ducks their first run of the season.  Then Ryan Strieby's two out single scored Lentini to give the Ducks a 2-1 lead.

Somerset knotted the game in the 6th, on center fielder Johnny Tucker's one out single, and a triple by second baseman Nate Spears.

John Brownell lasted 6 full innings, allowed 2 earned runs on just 4 hits, walked none and struck out 5 before departing the game.  Patriots starter Erik Arnesen lasted 7 innings, and likewise allowed 2 earned runs on 5 hits.  He walked no batters and struck out 8 before exiting.

The teams then played the equivalent of a new game, with each bullpen dueling to a scoreless tie through the next 8 innings.  Somerset finally broke the deadlock in the bottom of the 15th inning. With one out and a runner on first, Johnny Tucker factored once again, this time with a double to plate the winning run.

Reliever Casey Barnes took the unfortunate loss for Long Island.


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