For the first two innings Tuesday night, it didn’t matter that the Lancaster Barnstormers’ offense couldn’t find its rhythm. Starting pitcher Jared Lakind matched the zeros of his Somerset counterpart, keeping the Patriots off the scoreboard and the basepaths.
But then came the third inning.
Yovan Gonzalez dropped a bloop RBI single into center field and Jimmy Paredes hit a three-run homer as the Patriots slugged their way past the Barnstormers 14-3 at Clipper Magazine Stadium.
Keeping Lancaster off-balance was Somerset lefty Brett Oberholtzer, who tossed five innings of no-hit ball before Lancaster’s Parker Morin sent a two-run homer to right. That shot and another run in the seventh weren’t enough to stave off the Barnstormers’ fourth straight loss — their 11th in 12 games.
“The pitching’s been the thing that’s given us the most trouble,” Barnstormers manager Ross Peeples said. “Too many walks, not throwing enough strikes. We do have some guys coming off the DL, so we’re hoping that’s going to help.
“It’s tough watching,” he admitted. “It’s tough on us, so it’s got to be tough on the fans.”
While neither team managed a hit in the first two innings, Lancaster got the game’s first baserunner when Caleb Gindl drew a leadoff walk in the second. Oberholtzer got Joe Terdoslavich to ground into the 6-4-3 double play, however, and the Barnstormers wouldn’t get another man on base until the sixth inning.
Somerset (34-22) broke through in the third after a walk, a single and a double steal put runners on second and third. Gonzalez dropped a bloop single past the outstretched glove of second baseman Dan Gamache and into shallow center to make it a 1-0 game.
The threat looked to be over as Lancaster shortstop Michael Martinez knocked down a hard-hit grounder and threw to first to keep the runners from advancing while getting the second out. That changed five pitches later as Paredes dropped a 2-2 pitch over the wall in left field.
Somerset added runs in each of the next four innings, led by Paredes, who finished the game 3 for 5 with five RBIs.
Josh Bell gave Lancaster (19-36) its second baserunner of the night with a leadoff walk in the bottom half of the inning and scored on Morin’s knock, which had the crowd cheering from the crack of the bat.
The fans were back on their feet in the seventh as Gindl sent a ground-rule double down the third-base line. Advancing to third on a dropped third strike, the right fielder crossed home plate on K.C. Hobson’s grounder.
By the time Lancaster scored its third run, however, Somerset was already in the double digits.
Walks once again doomed the Barnstormers, who walked the bases loaded in both the sixth and the ninth innings and 11 batters total. A sacrifice fly would make it an 8-0 game in the sixth before Paredes connected for a two-run single to right field.
Leading 11-3 heading to the ninth, Somerset scored on a bases-loaded walk before an RBI single from Gonzalez and a sacrifice fly drove in the final runs.
“I think if we start pitching better, we’re going to start coming around a little bit more,” Peeples said. “We’ve got to fix our minds first. Mentally, when we get down, there’s not much fight from us. We have to pull together as a team, learn to play for each other.”