(Photo by Samara Rosenfeld - JSN)

Home Runs Fuel Patriots Come-Back Win Over Sea Dogs

It was a home run derby for the Somerset Patriots as the team hit three for 10 runs in the 15-3 rout over the Portland Sea Dogs at TD Bank Ballpark in Bridgewater, New Jersey on Thursday night.

Brandon Lockridge and Chad Bell each hit a three-run home run, while Derek Dietrich hit a grand slam in the come-back win.

The Sea Dogs took a 3-0 lead into the bottom of the fifth after Tyler Dearden hit his first Double-A home run, a three-run shot over the center field wall. Dearden attacked the first pitch he saw from reliever Barrett Loseke and connected to knock it out of the park.

But the Patriots’ bats came alive as they rallied for four runs in the home fifth to take the lead for good. Sea Dogs’ starting pitcher Victor Santos got into a jam after he walked Mickey Gasper and gave up back-to-back singles to Bell and Jesus Bastidas, loading the bases. Anthony Volpe hit a sac fly to bring home Gasper and put the Patriots on the scoreboard. Lockridge followed with a three-run home run to left center field to put Somerset ahead 4-3.

Both starting pitchers, Randy Vasquez and Victor Santos, opened the game hot, with Vasquez striking out five in the first two innings and Santos forcing five fly outs. Santos got into trouble in the bottom of the third after giving up back-to-back singles to Gasper and Bell and walking Bastidas, thus loading the bases. He got out of the inning unscathed though, getting Volpe to hit into a fielder’s choice and Lockridge to hit into a double play.

Vasquez was removed from the game in the top of the fourth with runners on first and third. Loseke conceded the home run to Dearden that put the Sea Dogs up by three.

Lockridge was able to redeem himself in the fifth inning, recording his second home run of the season.

Gasper, Bell, and Bastidas opened the bottom of the seventh with three singles in a row. Volpe added insurance runs after hitting a bases-clearing triple off relief pitcher Brendan Nail, making it a 7-3 game through seven innings.

"It is awesome to come up in those situations and get good pitches to hit," Volpe told media in a post-game interview. "Usually when it's bases loaded with nobody you only get a couple good pitches to hit. I'm glad I didn't miss that one."

In the eighth, Michael Beltre hit an RBI single and scored on Bell’s three-run home run to center field, putting the Patriots up 11-3. After the Sea Dogs gave up a walk and back-to-back singles to Volpe and Lockridge, Dietrich rocked a grand slam over the right field wall to make it 15-3.

Volpe finished the game with four RBI on two hits, while Bell went four-for-four with three RBI.

“I finally put some good at-bats together and it’s good to see some results. My swing hasn’t felt too bad, just haven’t seen the results this year. It’s definitely good to finally get out there and see some results. I just have to keep doing what I’m doing in the box and slowing the game down. Let it come to me and not do too much,” Bell told media after the game.

Loseke (3-0) got the win, pitching 2.1 innings of relief and allowing two earned runs on three hits with five strikeouts.

Series Continues for Patriots and Sea Dogs

The Patriots (11-7) look to keep their bats and pitching hot on Friday against the Sea Dogs (10-8).