Yankees prospect Ben Rice hits fourth consecutive home run for Patriots

Yankees' prospects Ben Rice and Spencer Jones hit home runs for Somerset on April 20, 2024.
Inna Zeyger
Sunday April 21, 2024

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Yankees prospect Ben Rice was the star attraction in the Somerset Patriots’ thrilling and high-scoring affair on Saturday night at TD Bank Ballpark. Though they fell short against the Hartford Yard Goats, losing by a score of 10-8, the rookie stole the limelight with his fourth consecutive home run.

Behind the plate, Ben Rice continued his offensive tear, going 2-for-4 with 2 RBIs, 3 runs scored, and a crucial home run. This marked the Yankees prospect’s fourth consecutive game with a home run, a career-best streak. Over this impressive four-game stretch, Ben Rice has compiled a scorching line of 9-for-21 with 4 home runs, 6 RBIs, and 7 runs scored.

Ben Rice’s power surge has propelled him to second place in the Eastern League for home runs, trailing only his teammate, catcher Agustin Ramirez. Furthermore, the Yankees prospect has established himself as a formidable foe for the Yard Goats throughout his career. In 14 games against Hartford dating back to July 19th, 2023, Rice boasts a remarkable .426 batting average with 9 home runs, 20 RBIs, and 16 runs scored.

Yankees' prospect Ben Rice celebrates after hitting back-to-back homers in the opening game for AA Somerset on April 5, 2024.

Yankees prospect on an offensive surge

The Patriots’ offense showcased a well-rounded effort, with five Yankees prospects recording multiple hits. Spencer Jones, Ben Rice, Elijah Dunham, Ben Cowles, and Alexander Vargas each contributed two hits toward the team’s total.

Despite trailing by five runs entering the bottom of the ninth, the Yankees’ Double-A affiliate displayed resilience, plating three runs with two outs. However, they were unable to complete the comeback, leaving the tying runs stranded on base.

Starting pitcher Blane Abeyta put forth a valiant effort, tossing a season-high six innings. Unfortunately, he was tagged for a career-high 10 hits and ultimately took the loss for the Patriots.

Designated hitter Elijah Dunham also played a pivotal role in the Somerset offense, going 2-for-5 with 3 RBIs, including a home run in the bottom of the first inning. The Yankees prospect has extended his hitting streak to six games, collecting 8 hits in 23 at-bats with 5 RBIs, 3 runs scored, 2 home runs, 2 doubles, and 2 walks during that span.

The Yard Goats displayed remarkable clutch hitting, scoring all 10 of their runs with two outs. They capitalized on these opportunities, amassing 14 of their 15 hits and both walks in similar situations.

While the Somerset offense responded with a season-high 13 hits, their pitching staff struggled to contain Hartford’s bats, surrendering a matching season-high of 15 hits. This performance tied their previous worst outing on April 12th against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats.

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