It took a long time for the Ducks to shake off the rust from the four days off they had between the end of the Liberty Division Series and the start of the Atlantic League Championship Series Wednesday night.
But boy, was it worth the wait.
Being held without a hit and trailing by two runs through six innings in Game 1 at home against Somerset, the Ducks finally broke through in the seventh and took the lead on Josh Barfield's three-run homer in the eighth to come from behind, 4-3.
"What a great feeling," said Ducks starter John Brownell, who allowed two runs and six hits in eight innings. "We battled the whole way through and it was just a matter of time before our offense came through with some timely hits. Thankfully Josh came up with the biggest one of the night."
With the Ducks trailing 2-1, Kraig Binick led off the eighth with a walk, and advanced to second two batters later on Lew Ford's single past third. Barfield then launched the first pitch he saw into the visitor's bullpen in left to give the Ducks the lead.
"We were taking good swings the whole game so it was only a matter of time," Barfield said. " . . . It's a great atmosphere in the playoffs. The fans have been great, so it's nice to get that big hit."
Before that, the Ducks did little against Somerset starter Josh Lowey. After a two-out walk in the first, Lowey retired 14 consecutive batters until walking two in the sixth. He came out for the seventh but was pulled after Bill Hall broke up the no-hitter and the shutout with a deep home run to left-center that brought the Ducks within 2-1.
Somerset got on the board in the second when Corey Smith hit a laser-beam home run that sailed just inside the foul pole in left for a 1-0 lead. The Patriots scored again in the fourth when Yunesky Sanchez led off with a single, stole second and scored two batters later when Jeff Baisley lined a single to center for a 2-0 lead.
Cory Aldridge's homer in the ninth off Ducks closer Leo Rosales made it 4-3.