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Hand Beats Evans, 2-1

Saturday night’s game at TD Bank Park was almost dead even. Lancaster had nine hits to Somerset’s eight. Each side hit a home run and two doubles. Lancaster drew one walk; Somerset had a batter hit by a pitch. Neither side was guilty of an error.

But when all was said and done, the host Patriots nipped the Barnstormers in the runs column, 2-1.

It was Somerset’s second consecutive one-run victory in the series and drops the ‘Stormers to 2-3 in the second half.

Runs were scarce against starters Donovan Hand (3-1) and Bryan Evans (3-5). Sean Halton launched a two-out solo homer in the fourth off his former Brewers teammate, his ninth long ball of the season.

However, the resultant 1-0 Lancaster lead did not last long.

Eric Farris led off the home fourth with the first of his three hits on the night. Evans hit David Vidal with a pitch, and Bryan LaHair ripped a single into right field to score Farris with the tying run. On an ensuing bunt attempt by Trayvon Robinson, Vidal thought Robinson laid the bunt down, but the ball had simply popped out of Charlie Cutler’s glove, and Vidal was thrown out heading into third. Evans struck out both Robinson and Matt Fields to escape the inning.

The Barnstormers were unable to bring their best opportunity of the night to bear fruit in the top of the fifth. K.C. Hobson led off with a bloop single down the left field line. Somerset second baseman Scott Kelly interrupted the flow with a diving catch of a liner by Mike McDade. Cutler doubled into the left field corner to put runners at second and third, but Hand struck out Caleb Gindl and retired Kevin Ahrens on a grounder to second to escape the inning.

Yovan Gonzalez homered to lead off the bottom of the fifth, and despite missing out on two huge chances to score extra runs Somerset held the lead for the remainder of the night against the stingy Somerset bullpen.

Jon Hunton pitched the only 1-2-3 inning of the night for the Patriots to pick up his 20th save of the year.

The two clubs finish the series on Sunday at 5:05. Terry Doyle (2-4) will make the start for Lancaster against Bryce Morrow (0-0). Fans may tune into the Barnstormers YouTube Channel starting at 4:45.

NOTES: Halton has hit safely in 11 straight (14-42, .333)…Farris has 26 hits in his last 11 games…Evans threw his sixth quality start of the season…Five have come since his last win on June 2…The right-hander added eight strikeouts and has 87 on the season, good for second in the league…The franchise record is 124…Hobson had a double in the second inning, his third extra base hit of the series.