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Ahead of the Curve

Game 1: Gray Fenter (2-2, 4.62 ERA) vs. (Brad Case 1-0, 1.84)

The home dugout at TD Bank Ballpark (Chris McCormack)

Baseball is back in Bridgewater for the next two weeks! After a strong road trip to Hartford, where the Patriots took five out of the six games against the Yard Goats, they return home with a record of 34-22—just a half-game back from the Eastern League-leading Portland Sea Dogs. The Altoona Curve road into town to begin a 6-game set. Gray Fenter got the nod and quickly gave up 3 runs, and Somerset was down early 3-0. Fenter did not look right to start; he called out Manager Raul Dominguez and the trainer and quickly left the game with an apparent injury.

After Fenter’s exit, a combined effort of four Patriots relievers—including Steven Jennings, Lisandro Santos, Alex Mauricio, and Zac Houston—combined to go 6.2 IP, allowing 0 ER and 4 H with 8 K. The offense began to pick it up as well. Trey Sweeney (2-for-5, RBI) put Somerset on the board with an RBI single in the 3rd, plating Jeisson Rosario. Sweeney extended his hit streak to a season-high 10 games, over which he’s 14-for-46 with 4 RBI.

After a wild pitch scored Aaron Palensky in the 5th, Austin Wells (1-for-4, RBI) put the Patriots in front with a two-run double in the 5th inning. Tuesday marked Wells’ 10th multi-RBI performance of the season, tying the team lead. TJ Rumfield (1-for-4, HR) extended Somerset’s lead to 6-4 with an opposite-field solo blast in the 8th. It was the 4th game in a row that Rumfield homered, as he continued his scorching hot streak at the plate. The Patriots put together 10+ hits for the fourth time over their last six games and struck out 10+ for the eighth straight game. Somerset extended its win streak to five games by overcoming an early 3-0 deficit to take down the Altoona Curve by a score of 8-4 in the first of a six-game series at TD Bank Ballpark.


Game 2: Blane Abeyta (4-3, 6.48 ERA) vs Jared Jones (1-3, 2.21 ERA)

The Wednesday night crowd saw Harrison Bader come to town again on a rehab stint. Bader struggled in his first game back—going 0-4 in this one—but it is good to work out the kinks now before returning to the show. As for the game, the Patriots defeated the Altoona Curve by a score of 5-4 in the second of a six games series at TD Bank Ballpark. 


Blane Abeyta got the start and earned his 5th win of the season, going 6.2 IP, 2 R, 7 H, 3 K. Trey Sweeney got the scoring started in the 2nd inning, ripping a double to the left-scoring Anthony Seigler. TJ Rumfield (2-for-4, HR) extended Somerset’s lead to 3-0 with an opposite-field blast in the 5th. Rumfield has now homered in five straight games, serving as the only Eastern League player to accomplish the feat this season. Trey Sweeney (3-for-4, HR, 2 RBI) added to the lead by hitting a Solo Shot in the bottom of the 5th, extending the lead to 4-0. 

Altoona cut the lead to 4-3 before Austin Wells stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the 7th. Wells (3-for-4, HR, 2 R) provided the late-inning heroics for the Patriots with a solo home run, which would serve as the game’s deciding run. Wells’ homer traveled 420 FT with an exit velocity of 106.4 MPH. Wednesday marked Wells’ third three-hit game of the season, the most of any Patriot. Wells also extended his on-base streak to a season-high 10 games.

Danny Watson (1 IP, 0 R, 0 H) was credited with his second save of the season for a no-hit 9th inning of relief. The Somerset win moves them into a tie for first place in the Eastern League’s Northeast Division.


Game 3: Yoendrys Gomez (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs. Aaron Shortridge (3-4, 6.29 ERA)

Trey Sweeney and Max Burt (Chris McCormack)

The third game of the series saw the Pats battle back from behind once again! Yoendrys Gomez got the start and threw well, going 2 IP, 1 ER, 2 H, 1 K. Somerset, however, found themselves down 3-0 through the first 6 innings as the offense could not get going early on. Then, in the 7th inning, it became the Eric Wagaman show. 


Wagaman (2-for-4, 2 HR, 6 RBI) serving as the DH, put Somerset on the board with a two-run blast in the 7th inning, before crushing a go-ahead opposite-field grand slam in the 8th inning for his second home run of the game. He became the first Patriot to register 6 RBIs in a game this season. He became the second Patriot to club two homers in a game this season—joining Jeisson Rosario, who accomplished the feat on 4/23 vs. New Hampshire. Wagaman homered twice in the same game for the fourth time in his career and knocked in six runs for the second time in his career. Over his last three games played, Wagaman is 6-for-12 with 7 RBIs.

The Patriots bullpen trio of Edgar Barclay, Justin Wilson, and Tanner Myatt combined to allow 0 ER over 7 IP with 6 K. With Myatt getting his third win of the season, the Pats came back to beat the Curve 6-3 and extended their winning streak to 7 games! 


Game 4: Richard Fitts (3-4, 4.25 ERA ) vs. Sean Sullivan (2-0, 2.89 ERA)

Friday night lights came back to Bridgewater as Somerset looked to extend its winning-streak to 8 and clinch a series win against The Curve. Harrison Bader made a second rehab start in center field and went 1-for-4 with a 108.2 MPH single in the 1st inning.

Richard Fitts came into the game pitching well, and he continued that trend going 7 IP, 3 R, 7 H, 8 K and registering his 5th quality start of the year. 


It wasn’t enough, though, as the Somerset bats went cold—only scoring 2 runs on 8 hits. Both runs came via the long ball. Caleb Durbin went yard in the bottom of the 2nd to tie the game at 1, but Altoona then scored 5 unanswered runs extending their lead to 6-1. Jasson Dominguez (2-for-4, HR) cut Somerset’s deficit to four runs with a solo blast to left field in the 8th inning. The Yankees’ top prospect has now homered at least once in each of Somerset’s last ten series this season. Mickey Gasper did have 2 hits as well, going 2-for-4 and putting together multiple hits for the third straight game. This extended his hit streak to a season-long six games. Somerset fell in this one, however, with a score of 6-2 heading into Saturday—still looking to ultimately clinch the series win. 


Game 5: Clayton Beeter (5-2, 2.13 ERA) vs Anthony Solometo (0-0, 0.00 ERA)

Saturday nights in Bridgewater mean post-game fireworks, and the Patriots once again brought fireworks of their own in this one. Clayton Beeter got the call to start and, as he has been all year, was nothing short of brilliant! Beeter went 5.2 IP, 1 R, 3 H, 7 K and earned his fourth straight win and sixth of the year, tying for the Eastern League lead. Over his last five starts, Beeter is 4-0 with a 0.33 ERA and 33 K in 27 IP. Beeter now leads the Eastern League with a 2.08 ERA, is 2nd with 76 Ks, and 6th with a .204 opponent average. Beeter has struck out 6+ in eight of his 12 starts this season.

As for the offense, Tyler Hardman continues his power surge this year by going deep not once but TWICE. Hardman went 2-for-4, 2 HR, and put Somerset on the board. This tied the ballgame at one with a solo blast in the 2nd inning, before his 7th-inning solo homer capped off the scoring. Hardman’s first blast left the bat at 108.8 MPH, and his second at 103.3 MPH, clearing the batter’s eye in center field and traveling 438 ft. This marked the second two-homer performance of Hardman’s career, with the first occurring as a member of High-A Hudson Valley on 6/15/22. Hardman joins Eric Wagaman (6/15) and Jeisson Rosario (4/23) as the only Patriots with multi-homer games this season. Trey Sweeney (1-for-4, 3 R HR) went back-to-back with Tyler Hardman in the 7th inning, crushing a three-run blast for his sixth homer of the year and second of the series. Sweeney has been red hot this month and has been a key leadoff hitter for the club. Aaron Palensky (2-for-3, 3 RBI) has also been scorching the baseball this month, as he registered multiple hits for the 17th time this season and third as a member of the Patriots. Palensky’s .337 average leads the Yankees organization this season, while he ranks second in HR (14), RBI (42), 2B (14), R (43), and third in XBH (30), and TB (115).

The Pats cruised in this one, lighting up the night with plenty of offense and great pitching! This win solidified the series “W” and showed how quickly they can bounce back after a loss. 


Game 6: Chase Hampton (0-0, 0.00 ERA) vs Brad Case (1-0, 2.04 ERA)

Chase Hampton goes 6 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 8 K in his debut start in Double-A (Chris McCormack)

A very Happy Father’s Day to all the dads out there! This one was a little more special for me, as my daughter should be born any day now! (Hopefully, by the time my next article comes out after the New Hampshire series) 


A capacity crowd of 7,389 were on-hand for a Father’s Day matinee at TD Bank Ballpark, and they got to see one hell of a baseball game! Chase Hampton, the high-ranked pitching prospect, was called up from Single-A Hudson Valley and made his Double-A debut. He looked like he belonged right away; he kept his poise and, after giving up a run in the first inning, he only allowed one more earned run through 6 innings of work. Hampton’s final line was 6 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, 8 K as he struck out 8+ for the fourth straight start and 8th time this season. Hampton’s 85 strikeouts in 53 IP this season lead all Yankees minor leaguers. He becomes the first member of the 2022 MLB Draft class to debut with Somerset. Ian Hamilton was also in town making a rehab appearance; he threw a solid 7th inning, allowing no runs on one hit and striking out two.

As for the offense, Austin Wells and TJ Rumfield each had RBIs in the bottom of the 1st to put Somerset up 2-1. The bats went quiet for a bit after and Altoona was able to take a 3-2 lead in the 6th by way of a fielder’s choice and throwing error and, suddenly, the Pats trailed. Trey Sweeney then stepped up to the plate in the bottom of the 7th and launched a go-ahead 3-run missile over the center field wall! This was Sweeney’s (2-for-3, HR, 2 RBI, 2 R) 7th blast of the year, and it came at a huge moment. Sweeney has now homered in back-to-back games for the first time this season. The two-hit performance marked Sweeney’s team-leading 13th multi-hit game of the year. Sweeney finished the six-game series 9-for-26 (.346) with 3 HR, 4 R, and 8 RBI. In the month of June, Sweeney is hitting .296 with 4 HR, 11 RBI, and a .894 OPS.

The home run was all the Patriots needed to cap this one off, as Ian Hamilton earned the win and Tanner Myatt locked down the save for his 4th of the year. The Patriots improved their record to 39-23 and now have a game-and-a-half lead over Portland for first place in the Northeast Division! This week they begin a 6 game set with New Hampshire as Carlos Rodon begins his rehab assignment getting the start Tuesday night! Barring my wife going into labor, check out my Twitter account (@bsantoro112) for game updates and a press conference with Rodon after his start.

Written By

Father, Husband, Baseball Writer

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