NEWARK – The Somerset Patriots defeated the Newark Bears 10-3 on Thursday night at Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium.
Tim Raines, Jr. belted a three-run homer in the fifth inning, snapping a 1-1 tie. Raines took an offering from Bears starter Kelvin Villa (1-5) and deposited it over the left field wall to give the Patriots the lead for good at 4-1. It was Raines, Jr.’s fifth homer of the season.
Ben Grezlovski (5-1) pitched two and two-third innings in solid relief of starter Jonathon Ellis, who was pressed into service as a starter for the first time in pro baseball since 2006. Ellis went the first four innings, allowing only one unearned run, turning it over to the submarine righty Grezlovski, who shut the door on the Bears, allowing only one unearned run, striking out four. Ryan Houston, the last of five Somerset pitchers, pitched the final 1 1/3 innings to earn his Atlantic League-leading 18th save.
The Patriots got on the scoreboard first, scoring a run in the top of the first. Jeff Nettles delivered the first of his three hits with a single to left, and came around to score on Josh Pressley’s RBI double to left-center. Newark tied the game in the bottom of the frame as after Elijah Dukes reached safely on a fielding error by Ellis, Brian Barton brought him home on a RBI single.
Somerset took control in the top of the fifth with Jason Belcher drawing a walk and Pete LaForest reaching on catcher’s interference. With one out, Raines, Jr. took a 2-0 fastball over the wall for the game-deciding runs. The Patriots added a run in the sixth inning when Nettles singled, moved to second on an error and scored on a fielder’s choice by Noah Hall, pushing the lead to 5-1.
The Bears scored an unearned run in the home seventh, when Barton singled and came around to score on a wild pitch. Newark though would leave the bags full. Somerset added an insurance run in the eighth inning when Hall doubled and scored on a single by Belcher. Manny Mejia plated another unearned Newark run with a RBI double to center field. Again, the Bears threatened to get back into the game, but left the bases loaded for a second straight inning. The Patriots then broke the game wide open in the top of the ninth, when Iggy Suarez laced a bases-loaded double, scoring all three runs, increasing the Patriots’ lead to 9-3. The Patriots added their final run on an error. Barton and Daryle Ward had two hits each for the Bears. Nettles had three hits while Raines, Jr. and Pressley had two each for Somerset.
The series continues between the cross-state rivals on Friday night. Game time is set for 7:05 p.m., with the gates of Bears & Eagles Riverfront Stadium opening at 6:05 p.m.
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