For the second consecutive weekend, the Ducks fell one win short of a sweep at Bethpage Ballpark. On Sunday, it was the Lancaster Barnstormers who averted a sweep by beating the Ducks, 4-3, in front of 3,844 fans in Central Islip.
The Ducks (9-8) took the first three games, including both ends of a day-night doubleheader on Saturday against the struggling Barnstormers (6-12). Entering Sunday, Lancaster was in the midst of a six-game losing streak, its longest since 2013.
"Wins in May are very important," Ducks manager Kevin Baez said. "Those are the games you have to win, and this was one that we let slip by."
Shoreham native Bryan Sabatella went 3-for-5 with two runs for the Ducks. Lew Ford went 2-for-5, hitting into double plays in the third and sixth innings. Lancaster's Brian Cavazos-Galvez went 3-for-4 with two home runs and three RBIs.
Barnstormer starter Dan Osterbrock earned the win. He pitched five innings, allowed no earned runs on three hits, and struck out two. Ducks starter Mickey Jannis took his second loss of the season. He allowed three earned runs in 61/3 innings.
The Ducks put the tying run on base with no one out in the eighth and ninth innings but couldn't tie the score. Jon Griffin led off the eighth with a double, but a groundout by Jose Morales and strikeouts by Reegie Corona and Evan Crawford stranded the Ducks first baseman.
Baez said he never considered trying to bunt Griffin to third with no one out. "I don't bunt," Baez said. "You're giving up outs when you bunt. If I bunted him over to third and a guy strikes out, then you've given up two outs. Now what?"
Dan Lyons singled to lead off the ninth. Sabatella, who tripled and scored in the seventh to cut Lancaster's lead to one, struck out for the first out, but not without some controversy. Home plate umpire Frank Iurilli called an inside 2-and-1 pitch a strike, and the call drew the ire of Baez and Sabatella.
"They blew it, plain and simple," Baez said, grouping in a play in the sixth inning in which Griffin was ruled to have missed a tag on Lancaster centerfielder Blake Gailen. "But, it's part of the game."
Sabatella added: "The catcher's glove hit the ground. The pitch couldn't have been too far away. I'll just leave it at that."
Following the controversial at-bat Prentice Redman struck out and Lew Ford grounded out to end the game.