NEW BRITAIN - It was not as bad as the night before, but the end result on Tuesday night was the same for the New Britain Bees.
Bees starting pitcher Jason Jarvis allowed three runs in the fourth and that, along with a defensive play, turned out to be all the Somerset Patriots needed as New Britain fell 5-3.
“Loses are tough,” Bees manager Stan Cliburn said. “But you have to look at positives. You feel good about what you’re seeing out there, tonight, they were just better than us. Is it discouraging? Yes, no one hates losing more than I do and the wins will come our way. But one play turned the whole game around.”
That play happened in the seventh when Patriots shortstop Alfredo Rodriguez saved a run after Bees first baseman Jovan Rosa hit a sharp-hit ball up the middle. The game from that point one swung the rest of the momentum in the Patriots’ favor.
After cruising for the first three innings - except for his balk in the second that moved runners to second and third - Jarvis struggled from the first pitch. The right-hander allowed three straight hits which brought home the Patriots’ first run of the game. A fielder’s choice from Tyler Bortnick one batter later gave Somerset its second run.
Another double and a walk ended Jarvis’ night with Kyle Simon taking his place on the mound. But his first pitch was wild, allowing Aharon Eggleston to touch home plate. Simon would get Alfredo Rodriguez to fly out to end the inning five pitches later.
In his first start of the season, Jarvis (0-1) went 3 2/3 innings and gave up three runs on five hits. He also struck out three and walked three others.
“Jarvis threw well,” Cliburn said. “There were two pitches he had that could have go either way in the fourth. But I like the way that he goes about his business. He’s a guy that can do anything you’ll ask him to do. He’ll start, he’ll relieve, he’ll spot start. I liked what I’ve seen from him.”
Somerset, however, was not done there. Four innings later, the Patriots added two insurance runs off former MLB All-Star Brandon League after Simon and Nate Roe tossed three scoreless innings.
After recording the first out of the inning, League gave up a double to Jerry Sands, who would score two batters later on a Bortnick double. Eggleston followed up with a double of his own, bringing home Bortnick.
And despite outhitting Somerset 11-8, the Bees’ bats were not able to do much after the fourth. The team had just three hits from the fifth inning on and struck out a total of seven times over the course of the night.
The Patriots had the biggest inning offensively, but it was the Bees who got on the board first after Steve Carrillo drove in Conor Bierfeldt with a sacrifice fly in the second. Bierfeldt had just missed his fifth home run of the season to begin the inning and settled for the triple instead.
After Somerset put up the three runs in the fourth, New Britain got a run back when Jake McGuiggan singled home Bierfeldt.
It was the Bees second baseman’s second hit of the night. McGuiggan came into the game with just one hit over his last 17 at-bats. He finished the game 2-for-3 to raise his average from .095 to .167 and his first RBI of the year.
New Britain did make a final attempt to win the game in the bottom of the ninth with Michael Crouse coming to the plate as the tying run with two outs. He struck out to end the game.
A batter earlier, James Skelton brought home Carrillo with a single off Somerset reliever Ryan Kelly, sending Crouse up to the plate.
The Bees will look to get their first win of the series this morning before closing out the four-game stretch against the Patriots on Thursday.
David Glovach can be reached at (860) 801-5085 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @DavidGlovach