NEW BRITAIN - The New Britain Bees had everything they needed heading into the ninth inning - a quality outing from their starter, enough offense and a lead - or at least they thought they did.
Bees closer Joe Beimel surrendered three runs, two with two outs, in the final innings as New Britain fell to the Somerset Patriots 3-2 Thursday night to complete a miserable four-game sweep.
During the series, Somerset outscored New Britain 25-7 and the Bees have now lost seven-straight home games.
Nursing a 2-0 lead, Beimel (0-1) ran into trouble immediately. After recording the final out of the eighth inning and sitting, the former major leaguer came back out and gave up a leadoff double to Jerry Sands, who was then brought home by Yovan Gonzalez two batters later.
The left-hander battled back to get the second out, but issued an walk before giving up a double to Darren Ford to left-center field with two outs, allowing pinch runner Justin Pacchioli and Scott Kelly to cross home plate.
The Bees were retired in order to end the game, wasting another strong outing from their starting pitcher, this time, it was Brian Dupra’s as well as the rest of the staff.
The right-hander tossed 5 2/3 scoreless innings and gave up just three hits while striking out two.
But after issuing back-to-back walks with two outs in the sixth, the right-hander was pulled for Brandon Fry.
The left-handed reliever got the final out of the inning and the first two outs of the seventh before he gave way to Nate Roe, who got the first two outs of the eighth before Beimel was brought in to try and seal the game.
Despite their lack of offense in the series, New Britain was able provide Dupra and staff some run support early with Craig Maddox and Conor Bierfeldt each driving in a run. And as a team, the Bees struck out a series-low six times.
For the first three innings, New Britain was unable to get anything going against Patriots starter Aaron Laffey. But in the bottom of the fourth, the Bees were able to do just enough to bring home their first run of the night.
Michael Crouse led off the inning with a walk and after stealing second, was advanced to third base on a fly ball to right field by Jovan Rosa. Swinging at the first pitch, Maddox grounded a ball to shortstop, allowing Crouse to come home easily.
It was three innings later when Maddox would play a part in New Britain’s second run of the night. After the designated hitter singled to left field to lead off the seventh, Bierfeldt stepped up to the plate two batters later and doubled just inside the left field foul line, bringing home Maddox all the way from first.
For Bierfeldt, it was his eighth RBI of the season. Laffey’s night was done after giving up the two runs on five hits in seven innings.
Against Alex Gouin and Ryan Kelly, however, New Britain managed just one hit over the final two innings.
Now, the Bees are hoping a change of scenery at a road ballpark for the next six days will do them some good.