January 29, 2023

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On his birthday, Somerset's Dunham homers in 4-hit effort

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What’s better than a four-hit game? A four-hit game on your birthday.

“It felt really nice to have a good game. I’m not huge into birthdays, but it always feels nice to play well and get a win,” Dunham said via text message. “My family couldn’t make it out, but they were most likely watching [the game]!”

His seventh dinger of the season got the game started for the Patriots. On a 1-0 pitch, Dunham unleashed a two-out, three-run blast to right in the top of the first off SeaDogs lefty Jay Groome (BOS 11).

The lefty Dunham has been hot against southpaws this season, hitting .303 with a .969 OPS and three homers in 33 at-bats. In the past 10 games, though, it didn’t matter who’s pitching; he’s slashing .385/.444/.769 in that span with seven extra-base hits, 12 RBIs, four steals and 30 total bases.

“I try my best to keep the same mindset going into every game no matter the outcomes of the games before,” Dunham said.

Dunham was making things happen in every one of his at-bats. He laced another two-out hit in the second frame, this time a single to center off Groome before swiping his 11th bag of the year.

After another two-out base knock to right in the fourth and a walk in the sixth, Dunham attacked the first pitch in the ninth and lined his seventh double of the year to right. He came around to score on the very next batter.

Signing with the Yankees as an undrafted free agent in 2020, Dunham hit .263/.362/.463 with 13 homers across two levels of A-ball in 2021 before winning the Arizona Fall League Breakout Player of the Year award. He slashed .357/.465/.571 in 23 AFL contests with a league-best 11 steals in 12 tries and the fourth-best OPS (1.037).

Dunham harnessed that momentum and is faring well in his first taste of Double-A in ’22, batting .266 with 17 extra-base hits, 22 RBIs and a .876 OPS in 33 games. Even with a big game on a special day, the Indiana product is just going to enjoy the Patriots’ Eastern League-best 29th win of the season with his teammates.

“We are just enjoying the win on the bus trip back getting to watch The Rock for a couple hours,” Dunham said. “Hopefully we’ll take the momentum into next week.”

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