(Photo by Jeff Auger - JSN)

Patriots Take Three Games From Fisher Cats

Yankees Double-A affiliate Somerset Patriots took three games from the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Blue Jays affiliate) in a five game set this past week. The Patriots record improved to 16-7, putting them atop their Northeast League division. 

A rainy Memorial Day weekend led to multiple weather postponements, causing the Patriots to play two doubleheaders during the week (Thursday and Saturday) and leading to the cancellation of Sunday’s game.

Patriots pitchers dominated opponents throughout the series, as they struck out at least 14 batters in three of the five games. The Patriots currently lead all Northeast League teams with 280 strikeouts on the season, and a team ERA of 2.83. 

Starting pitcher Janson Junk propelled the Patriots to a 2-1 win on Tuesday, allowing no runs and only three hits in four innings while striking out seven. Lefty JP Sears came into the ballgame in relief of Junk, and shut the door with 4.2 innings of work in which he allowed only one run.

Luis Gil, Yankees #4 prospect according to MLB Pipeline, overpowered the Fisher Cats lineup in his start in game two of Thursday's doubleheader. Gil went six innings, allowing only two hits and one run while striking out eight, lowering his ERA to 1.69 on the season. 

Reliever Michael Gomez struck out five batters and allowed no baserunners in two innings of work on Saturday, and Greg Weissert struck out five and did not allow a hit or run in 1.2 innings of work through the series. 

The Patriots also got some help from two-time MLB All-Star and Yankees reliever Zack Britton, who threw a shutout inning on Saturday in a rehab assignment. Britton will throw for the Patriots multiple times through next week in preparation for a big league return following elbow surgery in March. 

Outfielder Michael Beltre led the offensive parade through the series, hitting .313 with two home runs over five games. Beltre also leads the team with 20 runs scored on the season, and has an 11 game on base streak going.

Dermis Garcia added his team leading seventh home run of the season on Thursday night, while Isiah Gilliam hit his second home run of the season on Saturday with a solo homer into the left field parking lot. 

Matt Pita hit .308 during the week, stealing two bases and driving in five runs over four games played.  “The team started off hot with Beltre leading it off and we just kept rolling,” Pita said (via Mike Ashmore of patriotsbaseball.com). “We are a very dangerous squad when the bats are hot and we are having fun. Our pitchers always shove so it's up to us to get things going,” he added. 

After an off day on Monday, the Patriots will welcome the Reading Fightin’ Phils to TD Bank Ballpark for a six game set.

Eli Fishman

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