BRIDGEWATER, N.J. ― For most of this season, things went well for the Erie SeaWolves, from exciting walk-off wins to getting help on the final day of the season to qualify for the playoffs.
Just about everything that could go wrong on Wednesday went wrong.
Somerset pitchers Randy Vasquez and Carson Coleman combined on a no-hitter and the Patriots spent more than two hours battering Erie pitchers in a 15-0 win in Game 3 at TD Bank Ballpark to win their second straight in the best-of-three series and clinch the Eastern League championship.
"I told the guys I appreciate everything they did this year. We had a great year. It wasn't the way we wanted to end it, obviously, but it was a terrific year nonetheless," SeaWolves manager Gabe Alvarez said. "I really appreciate the hard work each guy put in. It made it fun to come to the ballpark every day. It's a special group."
Danny Serretti was the first Erie hitter to reach base when he drew a walk in the seventh inning on a 10-pitch plate appearance. Corey Joyce was the only other Erie baserunner after he was hit by a pitch in the ninth. Vasquez went eight innings and Coleman pitched the ninth after a long delay in the bottom of the eighth inning because of an umpire injury.
The Patriots scored nine runs in the first inning including a three-run home run by Yankees prospect Jasson Dominguez. Dominguez, nicknamed "The Martian" for his other-worldly abilities, finished with two home runs and drove in six runs on three hits.
Andres Chaparro and Jeisson Rosario also hit home runs while Somerset built a 14-0 lead after three innings. Erie allowed a total of 15 runs, the most the 'Wolves ever have allowed in a playoff game.
“It’s an incredible moment,” Somerset manager Dan Fiorito said. “I’m so happy for the players and the staff. This group was incredibly talented, but the attitude and effort that they brought here every single day was incredible, and I’m so happy to be a part of it all with them.”
— Somerset Patriots (@SOMPatriots) September 29, 2022
The SeaWolves finished the regular season 80-58, reached the postseason for the first time since 2013 and earned the franchise's first playoff series win by sweeping Richmond 2-0 in the divisional round. Erie finished the postseason 3-2.
The SeaWolves have six months off before opening the 2023 season on April 6 at Akron. The home opener at UPMC Park is set for April 11 against Altoona.
Here are three key points from Game 3:
The SeaWolves needed a near-perfect game to beat Somerset, and the first inning was far from it in the field. Trey Sweeney led off with a walk, then Jasson Dominguez singled to left-center off the glove of shortstop Danny Serretti. If Serretti timed his jump perfectly, he might come down with a key out and stop what is to come in the inning. Austin Wells followed with a double-play ball, but Serretti's throw to first was offline to allow a run to score. If the double play is converted and Serretti robs Dominguez, the inning is over with no score.
Instead, Somerset scored nine runs. Elijah Dunham walked and Andres Chaparro and Jesus Bastidas singled. Mickey Gasper added a run-scoring double and Dominguez hit the first of two home runs during the nine-run binge, which was helped by several Erie errors.
Home-run derby in the third
Somerset led 9-0 after two innings. The Patriots extinguished all hope in the third inning, when Chaparro hit a solo home run and Dominguez and Jeisson Rosario each hit two-run homers to give the Patriots a 14-0 lead.
Keeping the no-hitter intact
Vasquez was dominant throughout the game. One sign that he was on his way to a big performance came in the top of the fourth inning. Serretti slapped a pitch the other way that looked like a clear base hit to left field. Chaparro leaped off one foot to snag the liner in shallow left field to rob Serretti of a hit.
This article originally appeared on Erie Times-News: Erie SeaWolves allow playoff-record 15 runs in Game 3 loss to Somerset