Double-A Somerset crowned by Martian's power, no-hitter

September 29th, 2022

It's truly the Yankees Universe right now.

On the same night that the baseball world was mesmerized by Aaron Judge's 61st home run in Toronto, a pair of Yankees top prospects were making history in New Jersey.

Jasson Domínguez and Randy Vasquez put forth the best performances of their careers and led Double-A Somerset to a 15-0 no-hit victory over Erie in the decisive Game 3 of the Eastern League Championship Series to clinch the franchise's first league title on Wednesday at TD Bank Ballpark.

"It’s an incredible moment," Patriots skipper Dan Fiorito said. "I’m just so happy for the players and the staff. This group is so incredibly talented, but the attitude and the effort that they brought here every single day was incredible. I'm just so happy to be a part of it all with them."

Before the first inning ended, The Martian was 2-for-2 with a moonshot and three RBIs. By the fourth, the second-ranked Yankees prospect had lifted another home run into orbit, and by the end of the game, he had amassed a career-high six RBIs. Domínguez finished with three knocks -- homering from both sides of the plate -- and a pair of walks.

On the hill, Vasquez was brilliant over eight sparkling frames -- the longest outing of the 14th-ranked Yankees prospect's career. The right-hander was perfect over 6 1/3 innings, whiffing the side in the sixth while posting four punchouts in a row. A 10-pitch walk to Danny Serretti with one out in the seventh was the lone blemish for the 23-year-old. Vasquez exited after throwing 93 pitches -- 68 for strikes -- and racking up eight whiffs.

"I'm very confident in my ability, and when I was warming up in the bullpen, I was hitting all of my spots, so I knew I was going to have something good," Vasquez said through a translator. "Right after the fifth inning, I knew I had it going on, so I just wanted to keep attacking these guys."

Carson Coleman completed the milestone in the ninth -- striking out one. The right-hander locked down the franchise's third no-hitter, the second that went nine innings. The Patriots' last no-no came on Sept. 9 against Hartford.

"In this moment, a win-or-go-home, do-or-die game, for Randy to come out here and throw eight no-hit innings was absolutely incredible," Fiorito said. "He was dominant and that’s as special of an outing as you’re going to see. Randy answering the call for us with our backs against the wall, he was the guy we wanted out there."

The Patriots' offense was relentless in the opening frame, sending 12 batters to the plate while scoring nine runs on five hits, three walks and an error. The big blow came off the bat of Domínguez, who turned around a 1-0 hanging slider from SeaWolves left-hander Adam Wolf for a three-run rocket over the high wall in left. The deep fly came with the 19-year-old batting from the right side of the plate.

"I just can't explain it," Domínguez said through a translator. "We just came in to do our job and play really hard and it just turned out this way."

In the third, MLB's No. 40 overall prospect stepped in against righty Yaya Chentouf with a runner on on third and one out. Domínguez unloaded on the first pitch he saw, crushing it 404 feet at 104 mph off the bat to center. The blast from the switch-hitting slugger served as a catalyst for a five-run frame by Somerset.

Domínguez appeared to get the Judge treatment after that. The native of Dominican Republic was walked on four pitches with the bases loaded in the fourth, swung at a ball outside the zone on a 3-1 count, grounded out to first in the fifth and was thrown four straight balls again in the eighth.

The Martian left the yard three times with Somerset facing elimination twice in the Championship Series. He finished 9-for-20 with four extra-base hits, five walks, 10 RBIs and seven runs scored over five postseason games.

"What Jasson did was incredible," Fiorito said. "He's 19 years old and he's in Double-A right now, they say the best pitching in the league, and in the biggest game of the year and that's his performance. I mean, when your best players rise to the occasion, it's a manager's dream right there.

"When we clinched in the first half and [top Yankees prospect Anthony] Volpe homered that was incredible, and you just felt like the year was going to be something special."

The championship is the Patriots' seventh total in franchise history and the first since becoming the Yankees' Double-A affiliate.