Ducks sweep series
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WALDORF, Md. -- The Ducks clinched the Liberty Division Championship Series Friday night, sweeping the series in three games with a 4-1 victory over the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs.
The Ducks will play the Somerset Patriots in the Atlantic League Championship Series beginning Wednesday at 6:35 p.m. at Bethpage Ballpark.
Ryan Strieby's two-out single with the bases loaded in the first inning drove in Bill Hall and Adam Bailey for a 2-0 Ducks lead.
Three of the Ducks' four runs were scored with two outs, the exception being Josh Barfield's leadoff homer in the seventh. The Ducks' final run came on Bailey's RBI single in the seventh.
"It all came together at the right time," Strieby said of the two-out hits. "Everyone seems to be swinging the bat pretty well. Everyone's finding their stride at a good time."
Ducks starter Bob Zimmerman gave up four hits and one run in six innings, striking out five, and continually got out of jams.
The Blue Crabs loaded the bases with one out in the third with two of their hottest hitters coming to the plate, but Zimmerman struck out Donnie Webb and got Nick Schwaner to fly out to deep rightfield.
In his final inning, Zimmerman found himself in trouble again. A walk and a single put runners on first and third with one out, but Zimmerman induced Ian Gac to hit into a double play.
"The defense behind me was the biggest thing," he said. "I had guys making double plays and running down fly balls. I didn't make better pitches; the defense just picked me up."
Leo Rosales came on in the ninth for the save, not without some drama. The Blue Crabs put runners on first and third with one out, but Rosales struck out Jeremy Owens looking and got Renny Osuna to line out to centerfield to end it.
"This is awesome,'' Ducks manager Kevin Baez said. "This is why you play the game, to enjoy these moments right here."
Now the Ducks can turn their attention to Somerset.
"They're a good team, obviously. Their record during the course of the year is very good," Baez said. "But anything can happen in a five-game series and we're looking forward to the challenge."