Roy Merritt (left) pitched a complete game shutout in Game 5 with Patriots broadcaster Justin Antweil
A day after Will Oliver tossed a complete-game shutout win to force a deciding Game 5, Somerset Patriots starter Roy Merritt (2-0) followed suit on Sunday with a second-straight complete game shutout of the Long Island Ducks to win the Liberty Division Championship. With the 4-0 win, the Somerset Patriots will take on the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs in the Atlantic League Championship Series.
“Roy’s a big-game pitcher. Has been for a couple years for us. So come playoff time, we knew we wanted him for this. He picked up two wins for us in this series. The effort speaks for itself out there,” Somerset Patriots manager Brett Jodie said.
Pitching on just three days rest, Merritt scattered just four hits and struck out three in nine innings of work to catapult Somerset to the series win.
“I pounded the strike zone and threw strikes. I locked in with [catcher Adam Donachie]. Whatever Donnie put down, I went with. I’ve been with him for four years and I trust him,” Merritt said.
The Patriots damage was done on a pair of runs in each the fourth and fifth innings. In the fourth, Matt Fields singled and later scored on an RBI base hit by Nate Spears. After Robert Andino drew a walk to load the bases, Long Island starter John Brownell hit Aharon Eggleston with a pitch to plate Greg Hopkins.
Somerset scored on RBI singles by Ollie Linton and Adam Donachie the next inning to provide the 4-0 final.
Brownell (0-2) suffered the loss, allowing four earned runs on nine hits in 4.2 innings pitched.
The Somerset Patriots will take on the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs in the Atlantic League Championship Series beginning at home for Game 1 on Wednesday, September 30th at 7:05 pm. It will be Somerset’s record 10th appearance in the Atlantic League Championship, having won five previous league titles (2001, 2003, 2005, 2008, 2009).