It was only a matter of time before the York Revolution cobbled together a series of hits in one inning.
It may have taken nearly four full games, but the moment finally came, when the Revolution (2-2) scored five runs on four hits in the bottom of the eighth on Monday night, downing the Lancaster Barnstormers, 7-3, in the first game of the 2015 War of the Roses.
The big eighth helped York erase a 3-2 deficit and was keyed by two triples. The first came from Atlantic League triples record holder Eric Patterson, scoring Wilson Valdez from first to tie the game at 3-3. Then, after Patterson scored on a sac fly by Bryan Pounds to take the lead and Andres Perez scored on a hit-and-run, catcher Luis De La Cruz hit the second triple of the inning, plating two more and putting the game out of reach.
"We strung some hits together when we had some guys on base," Revs manager Mark Mason said. "I thought we hit the ball hard — even in the series against Long Island we had some hard outs — and tonight we found the gaps and that was the difference."
Josh Judy came on to finish things out, pitching a scoreless ninth to send the select few of the remaining 1,408 fans at Santander Stadium home happy.
The seven runs were a season high in the young season for York, matching the number of runs scored in the first three games combined against the Ducks.
In each of the three innings that York scored, one constant was Patterson crossing the plate. He went 3-for-4 on the night, scoring all three times he reached base and raising his average from .182 to .400.
"It's still early in the year," he said. "So, for me, it's just about seeing the ball and swinging at good pitches. The first few games, I felt like I've seen the ball OK, had some good swings, just wasn't connecting. You don't put too much stock into things early in the year."
Bryan Pounds got the scoring started for the Revs in the bottom of the fourth, scoring Patterson with a bloop single to shallow left after Patterson led off with a double. The Barnstormers (1-4) tied things up the very next inning, but gave it back in the sixth on an Andres Perez double that plated Patterson.
After tacking on two in the top of the seventh, Lancaster led 3-2 and held that advantage until the big eighth.
Mike McClendon pitched five innings of one-run ball for York, becoming the fourth straight starter for the Revs to only allow one run in his opening start.
"He was outstanding," Mason said of McClendon. "He really was. He actually went a little bit deeper than I thought he might pitch count wise."
Monday night was also the York debut of newly acquired reliever Leyson Septimo, who came on to relieve McClendon in the sixth and threw one scoreless inning, giving up one hit, one walk and recording one strike out.
Stephen Penney ended up collecting the win for the Revs, pitching a perfect eighth to keep the deficit at 3-2. Beau Vaughn was also used in relief for the Revs, pitching the seventh, surrendering two runs on two hits and two walks while striking out one.
The victory over Lancaster improved the Revs' overall record against their cross-river rival to 88-77 all-time and 85-72 in the regular season. But, more importantly, it got York back to .500, while sinking the reigning Atlantic League champs to 1-4 and drawing first blood in this year's War of the Roses.
"Early in the year, wins are wins," Patterson said. "It is nice beating those guys with them being in our division, but at the same time, we're just trying to win baseball games. It doesn't matter who's over there."
— Reach Patrick Strohecker at firstname.lastname@example.org