Somerset hammers Erie to even the Eastern League championship series

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Somerset Patriots 9, Erie SeaWolves 2 (box)

In a must-win game for the Somerset Patriots, they jumped all over Erie SeaWolves pitching to run away with Game 2 of their best-of-three series for the Eastern League championships.

Starter Chance Kirby took the brunt of the Somerset assault. After the SeaWolves went 1-2-3 in the top of the first, Kirby got into trouble immediately as the first two batters in the bottom half reached base, and Yankees’ catching prospect Austin Wells sprayed a line drive three-run homer to right. A walk and a single allowed led to a fourth run before Kirby could stop the bleeding.

Corey Joyce got Erie on the board in the top of the second with a solo shot to left center after Danny Serretti led off the inning with a single. However, that was all the offense Erie could really muster in this one.

Kirby allowed a leadoff single in the bottom half of the inning, and after recording a strikeout was lifted for right-hander Carlos Guzman to face Jasson Dominguez. The outfield prospect greeted Guzman rudely with a two-run homer to center, and the rout was on. Guzman surrendered a second two-run homer in the inning, and it was suddenly 8-2.

From that point on, Somerset pitching had their way with the SeaWolves. They wouldn’t get another hit until Michael De La Cruz led off the seventh with a single. Three quick outs followed, telling the story of the Erie’s night. Good pitching from starter Yoendrys Gomez and reliever Barrett Loseke kept them in check until the game was out of reach in the late innings.

Joyce: 1-3, R, 2 RBI, HR

Nieporte: 1-3, BB, SO

Kirby (L, 0-1): 1.1 IP, 5 ER, 5 H, BB, SO

Coming Up Next: They’ll play for the whole thing on Wednesday night in Bridgewater, NJ with first pitch set for 6:35 p.m. EDT. No starters have been announced, but both teams will have all hands on deck for this one anyway.

Toledo Mud Hens 7, Iowa Cubs 5 (box)

The Mud Hens continued their end of the season storming of the International League with their second consecutive win over the Cubs. The Hens have now won 17 of 19 games stretching back to September 8. Their 87-62 record still won’t be enough to catch Nashville in the International League East, as they hold a 4.5 game lead with just one to play.

Starter Elvin Rodriguez’s season is not ending on a high note, which doesn’t bode well at all for him holding a spot on the 40-man this offseason. After a solid start to his night, the right-hander surrendered three in the third inning, and two in the second, as the Cubs took a commanding 5-0 lead.

However, that isn’t enough against the hot Hens lineup. In the top of the fifth, Zack Short led off with a single and Brendon Davis cranked his 14th with the Hens, 20th overall, home run to straightaway center. That got the Hens within three, and they came right back for more in the sixth.

Kody Clemens led off the sixth with a walk, and Dylan Rosa reached on an error. Josh Lester walked as well, and when Zack Short was hit by a pitch it forced in a run. Davis struck out with the bases loaded, but Andre Lipcius came up big with a line drive double to left that drove in two runs. The Cubs went to their pen, but their new arm didn’t fare much better. Ali Sanchez doubled to left with two outs, scoring Short and Lipcius, and it was 7-5, Hens. The bullpen did a nice job locking down the Cubs from there.

Davis: 1-3, R, 2 RBI, HR, BB, SO

Lipcius: 1-2, R, 2 RBI, 2B, 2 BB, SO

Short: 1-3, 2 R, RBI, 2B

Clemens: 1-4, R, 2B, BB, SO

Coming Up Next: RHP Daniel Ponce de Leon (4-3, 4.23 ERA) will get the ball for the season finale at 1:08 p.m. EDT on Wednesday. The Cubs haven’t announced a starter.

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