Losing? Losing's for the regular season. This is the playoffs and, when it gets to this time of year, the Ducks don't lose. Long Island took a 2-0 lead in the Atlantic League Championship Series after a 3-2 win over the Somerset Patriots Thursday night at Bethpage Ballpark. The Ducks are yet to drop a game (5-0) in the playoffs.
The series shifts to Somerset for the remaining three games of the series, of which the Ducks need to win only one to take the best-of-five contest and win their second consecutive Atlantic League title and third in franchise history.
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Somerset starter Roy Meritt was dominating the Ducks in much the same way Game 1 starter Jason Lowey was Wednesday night. Meritt retired the first nine batters and allowed one hit through the first five innings.
But the same man who broke up perfection in the fourth inning, Lew Ford, got the Ducks on the board in the sixth. Ford tied the score at 2 with a two-run home run that scored Dan Lyons, who reached on a hit-by-pitch. It was Ford's first home run as a Duck this season.
"It was another fastball in and I was just able to keep that one fair," Ford said. "He threw a fastball, changeup, and then another fastball. I just reacted to it. I wasn't necessarily looking for anything."
Josh Barfield followed the Ford blast with a double. Barfield scored the go-ahead run on Bryant Nelson's single.
"He got to 2-and-0 by throwing me two changeups," Nelson said. "I knew he had to throw me a strike at that point. I didn't want to do too much, just stay up the middle."
Ford made his presence known earlier in the gamein centerfield. In the top of the third, Ford threw out Aharon Eggleston, who was trying to stretch a single into a double with one out and no one on.Ducks starter Shaun Garceau pitched seven innings, allowing one earned run and eight hits, striking out six. Garceau retired the final 10 Patriots he faced.
Nelson reflected on being one game from a title: "We're one game away. We can't get complacent. We have to come out [tonight] and take it to them. We don't want to give them any life at their place."
Added Nelson, "We did enough losing in the regular season. We came together at the right time. When there's something to play for, our guys are stepping up."
Bob Zimmermann will take the mound for the Ducks tonightFriday night against Somerset's Erik Arnesen.