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 Somerset Patriots

Rice Polishes Off Vrieling's No-Hit Masterpiece with Walk-Off Homer

April 19, 2024 - Eastern League (EL)
Somerset Patriots News Release

Somerset Patriots' Ben Rice in action
Somerset Patriots' Ben Rice in action
(Somerset Patriots)

The Somerset Patriots shut out the Hartford Yard Goats on Friday night, pitching a one-hitter and winning in walk-off fashion by a final score of 1-0 at TD Bank Ballpark.

The result marked Somerset's first walk-off win of the season after a Double-A franchise record eight walk-off wins in 2023.

With their second straight win over Hartford, the Patriots evened out their six-game series with the Yard Goats 2-2 and they improved to 43-14 all-time over Hartford.

Somerset starter Trystan Vrieling carried a no-hitter two outs into the eighth inning, before reaching 100 pitches and being lifted in favor of Kevin Stevens.

Vrieling's performance marked the latest the Patriots have taken a no-hit bid since their last no-hitter on September 26, 2022 in the decisive third game of the 2022 Eastern League Championship Series when they win via a 15-0 no-hit shutout.

Vrieling and Stevens, who combined on the one-hitter, entered the 2024 season with five combined games of career pitching experience for the Yankees (Stevens 5, Vrieling 0).

Following the game, three Patriots starters (Bailey Dees, Zach Messinger, Trystan Vrieling) tie for second in the Eastern League in strikeouts with 18 through three starts each.

Out of the Patriots' Eastern League-leading 17 home runs hit this season, 12 have been hit by their trio of catchers (Agustin Ramirez 7, Ben Rice 4, JC Escarra 1).

The game took two hours and six minutes to complete, making it the Patriots' shortest nine-inning game of the season and matching the length of their shortest game in the 2023 season (August 11, 2023 vs. Binghamton).

RHP Trystan Vrieling (7.2 IP, 0 R, 0 H, 2 BB, 6 K) made his third career start, and became the first Eastern League pitcher this season to pitch into the eighth inning, allowing only two baserunners.

Vrieling's 7.2 innings pitched and 100 pitches were both career-high marks in his third professional outing and his six strikeouts matched his season and career-high mark.

Through three starts this season, Vrieling ends the day as the Eastern League leader in innings pitched with 18.2. He also ranks among the league leaders with a .082 BAA (2nd), 18 K (T-2nd), 0.59 WHIP (3rd) and 0.48 ERA (T-5th).

RHP Kevin Stevens (1.1 IP, 0 R, 1 H, 1 K) allowed the game's only hit with two outs in the eighth inning, four pitches after replacing Vrieling.

Stevens improved to 2-0 in what was his third appearance of the year, lowering his season ERA to 1.42 with 8 K in 6.1 IP.

1B Ben Rice (2-for-4, RBI, R, HR, 2 K) secured multiple hits and a home run for the third straight day.

The occurrence marks the second time in Rice's career that he's homered in three straight games (7/8/21, 7/12/21, 7/14/21 while playing for Single-A Tampa.

Rice is the second Patriot this season to homer in three straight games, as Agustin Ramirez has accomplished the feat twice (4/5-7 and 4/11-13).

The walk-off homer for Rice signaled his third career walk-off hit for the Patriots and his second walk-off home run, both of which have come against the Hartford Yard Goats.

Rice's last walk-off home run was also against Hartford on August 22, 2023. That game also marks the last time the Patriots were scoreless entering the ninth inning. After the game went scoreless through nine innings, Rice hit a walk-off grand slam to defeat the Yard Goats 4-1 in 10 innings.

In 13 career games against the Hartford spanning back to July 19, 2023 (the day of his Double-A debut), Rice is now 24-for-57 (.421 AVG) with 8 HR, 18 RBI and 13 R against the Yard Goats.

Images from this story

Somerset Patriots' Ben Rice in action
Somerset Patriots' Ben Rice in action


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