NEW BRITAIN - The Somerset Patriots welcomed the Rainy Lara and the New Britain Bees back from their six-game road trip in a rude way on Monday night.
The Patriots launched seven extra base hits against Lara, two coming by home runs off the bat of Jimmy Paredes, to hand the Bees a 10-3 loss at home, the team’s fourth defeat in a row.
While Somerset pounced on Lara with a five-run fourth inning to take an early 8-0 lead, New Britain managed just one hit off of starter Thomas Dorminy through the first five innings.
The win for the Patriots kept them one game behind the first-place spot in the Liberty Division, while the Bees fell further back, now all but eliminated from first-half contention, trailing by seven in the loss column with seven games to go.
The Patriots jumped on Lara early thanks to a leadoff triple to the wall in right center by Ramon Flores. Paredes followed with a sacrifice fly to left, scoring Flores after Darren Ford’s throw from the outfield was just late getting to the plate, giving the Patriots an early 1-0 lead.
Flores got things started again for Somerset in the top of the third, drawing a leadoff walk to bring up Paredes, who yanked a deep drive that curled into foul territory before reloading to launch a two-run blast that stayed just inside the foul pole to put the Patriots in front 3-0.
Lara and the Bees were once again burned by the leadoff man in the fourth, when Dario Pizzano started the frame with a double that split the gap in right center field. After Lara forced Alfredo Rodriguez to fly out, Craig Massey lined a single in front of Alejandro De Aza in center. De Aza, who tried to come up firing on Pizzano as he made the turn at third for home, atempted to barehand the high bouncer and watched it glance off his hand, allowing Pizzano to score and Massey to advance to second.
Holding a four-run lead, the Patriots blew the game open on the next batter, when Michael Crouse blasted a 2-1 pitch over the wall in left center to increase Somerset’s lead to 6-0, as Lara continued to surrender hard contact.
One of the hardest-hit balls against Lara came later in the fourth, when a single by Flores brought up Paredes, who crushed a two-run home run into the trees in right field to extend the Somerset lead to 8-0, as Lara struggled to get anything by the Patriots lineup. Lara managed to retire the next two batters and escape a nightmare of an inning, but by the time the smoke cleared, the Patriots had hung five runs on six hits (two via the long ball), and Paredes had picked up two home runs and five RBI before the game was halfway done.
Meanwhile, the Bees had trouble generating any contact at all against Dorminy, who held the New Britain bats hitless through four innings while racking up six strikeouts. The first batter to reach base for the Bees came on a one-out walk to Bijan Rademacher in the bottom of the fourth, and Jonathan Galvez finally broke the Bees into the hit column with a single up the middle to lead off the bottom of the fifth and extend his hitting streak to 10 games.
Ari Kaufman replaced Lara in the fifth, but the Patriots kept slugging extra base hits. Rodriguez doubled and later scored on a triple by Crouse that just stayed fair along the third base line to put Somerset ahead 9-0, giving the Patriots a season-high seven extra base hits, and did it through just five innings.
The Bees broke through in the bottom of the sixth, loading the bases against a tiring Dorminy thanks to singles by De Aza and Darren Ford. Galvez drew a walk later in the inning to force in Bijan Rademacher, but the Bees stranded the bases loaded and managed nothing more.
Dorminy finished his night after tossing six one-run innings, allowing just three hits while striking out nine, while the Bees ended their night with catcher Tyler Clark on the pitcher’s mound, trying to eat up an inning in a game that had long since been decided. He surrendered a one-out single to Pizzano, giving the Patriots 16 hits on the night, a highwater mark for their season.