Historic Evening In The Garden State Keeps Bees Playoff Hopes Alive
(Bridgewater Township, NJ) - The New Britain Bees (36-32, 71-67) defeated the Somerset Patriots (26-40, 68-68) 5-4 at TD Bank Ballpark on Friday night in the opener of a three-game season-ending weekend series between Liberty Division rivals. The win, coupled with Long Island's 3-2 triumph over High Point at Bethpage Ballpark in Central Islip, New York gets the Bees to within two games of the Rockers in the wild card standings with a pair of games remaining, with New Britain owning the tiebreaker. The 71st victory overall also guarantees the boys from the Hardware City a winning record for the second time in the four-year history of the franchise, last occurring in their inaugural campaign in the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball back in 2016 when they went 71-69 under skipper Stan Cliburn.
New Britain starting pitcher Cory Riordan collected a no-decision in the contest after giving up three runs on five hits (two home runs) in five and one-third innings of work, walking two in the process. Somerset starting pitcher David Holmberg also did not factor in the game's final outcome, surrendering two runs (one earned run) on six hits across six innings on the mound, walking one, striking out five, and hitting a batter. For the second consecutive evening, Jim Fuller closed things out to notch his team-best 25th save in 2019.
Down 3-2 in the bottom of the seventh New Britain tied the game when Jared James drove home Darren Ford with a run-scoring base knock to centerfield after Ford began the rally with a leadoff walk and moved into scoring position by way of his second stolen base of the ballgame and 48th bag swiped of the campaign, third most in the ALPB. The Bees took a 4-3 lead one inning later with timely hitting and some fundamentally sound baseball as Logan Moore opened the frame with a booming double off the wall in right centerfield. The backstop advanced to third by way of a perfectly placed sacrifice bunt by Ozzie Martinez, and scored the lead run thanks to an RBI single from Rando Moreno as he snuck one by the infield on the right side that was playing in versus the shortstop. With the matchup all knotted at four in the top of the ninth, the visitors gave the game its final score of 5-4 in large part due to the hustle of Jonathan Galvez. With runners at the corners and one away, Galvez hit a comebacker to losing pitcher Duane Below (2-2), who proceeded to field the ball cleanly but made a low throw to his second baseman in Rey Navarro which needed to be scooped out of the dirt, and with Jason Rogers barreling into him, Navarro's return feed to Edwin Espinal at first was late and the fielder's choice allowed James to cross the plate with the go-ahead run after he began the inning with an infield single and a bag swiped. Fuller was able to do the rest as he retired the Patriots in order with save number 25 setting a Bees single-season franchise record, surpassing the 24 recorded by Evan Scribner back in 2018. Fuller's memorable performance made a winner out of Grant Black (1-1) as he walked away with his first ever victory in the Atlantic League. The milestones did not stop with Fuller as New Britain also stole six bases on the night, a new single-season franchise record. James, Galvez, Rogers, and Mike Carp each had two hits en route to the victory in a game that saw a combined total of six ties and lead changes, with four of them coming in the seventh inning or later.
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Atlantic League Stories from September 21, 2019
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- Veterans Lead Patriots to the Win - Somerset Patriots
- Blue Crabs Drop Second Straight Heartbreaker - Southern Maryland Blue Crabs
- Historic Evening In The Garden State Keeps Bees Playoff Hopes Alive - New Britain Bees
- Daryl Thompson's 162 Strikeouts Second Most In A Season In Atlantic League History - Southern Maryland Blue Crabs
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