NEW JERSEY — On a warm Saturday evening capped with a firework show, the Somerset Patriots prevailed 3-0 against the Sugar Land Skeeters (28-28). Led by a solid pitching and hitting performance, the Patriots improve to 39-16 on the season and 23-8 at home TD Bank Ballpark.
It was Somerset’s five-man pitching effort that held Sugar Land scoreless for 9 innings, an effort that featured starter Brett Barch, Paul Smyth, Anthony Collazo, Kyler Newby, and closer Jon Hunton. Barch pitched 5 solid innings, allowing just one hit with four strikeouts and three walks. It was easily his best performance of the season, and also his longest by two innings. The 26-year-old righty entered the game with a 0-0 record and a 5.40 ERA in 3 starts, but managed to stifle the Skeeters’ offense enough for a win.
“I don’t know if it’s the mound or whatever, but it seems to be that I pitch well (in Somerset),” Barch told MyCentralJersey’s Mike Ashmore after the game. “(Tonight), my two-seam fastball (was working). That’s mostly what I threw a lot. Early on, it was up, but later in the game I got it down and was able to move it in and out.”
On offense, the Patriots’ were largely stymied by the Skeeters’ Shane Loux, who lasted seven innings with three strikeouts in the defeat. Somerset managed to knock in three runs on seven hits, with two scores coming in the first inning. A leadoff homer from outfielder Jonny Tucker began the action and infielder Greg Hopkins closed the scoring in the fourth inning. It wasn’t a lot of offense, but more than enough for the win.
As another anecdote, the game featured the 100th save in a Patriots uniform from closer Hunton. He boasts the Atlantic League record for saves in a season with 49 (set in 2014) and also is the two-time reigning Atlantic League Reliever of the Year. “Honestly, I had no idea (about the milestone),” Hunton admitted to Ashmore.
Saturday represented the second game in a four-game series between Somerset and Sugar Land; the teams next meet on Sunday at 1 PM ET.