As the clock ticked toward 11 p.m. Thursday night in Lancaster, Pa., so, too did the imaginary countdown signaling the end of the Ducks' season.
Already down 1-0 in the best-of-five series, a loss would have sent the Ducks home Friday night needing to win three straight games against Lancaster -- the team with the best regular-season record in the Atlantic League (88-52) -- to get their first championship since 2004.
Down 4-3 going into the ninth, the Ducks staged an improbable six-run rally to win, 9-4, and earn the road split. Brandon Sing's RBI single tied the score at 4 and Dan Lyons' bases-clearing double gave the Ducks a 7-4 lead.
"I just kept my composure and that's what I've been trying to do the whole postseason,'' Sing said. "Just stay within myself and make sure that if I do get a pitch, make a good swing on it.''
Sing is 10-for-27 (.370) with three homers -- a Ducks record -- and eight RBIs in seven postseason games. He is the only Ducks regular batting more than .300 in the playoffs. Game 1 was the first postseason game in which Sing failed to get a hit, as he was 0-for-3 with a walk and two strikeouts.
"The first game over there they weren't giving me too much to hit and I kind of figured that was gonna happen,'' Sing said. "I just started to slow myself down [Thursday] even more than I did the first game."
Lyons has only four hits in 20 postseason at-bats, but three of them came in Thursday's win, and his two-out, three-run double was the key to the Ducks' rally.
"When you get down, you've just got to chip away,'' Lyons said. "You can't go for the big inning all the time. That whole [ninth] inning, everyone was just doing their part to get to the next guy. Fortunately for me, I got up there with a chance to put the game away and I got a pitch that I could handle.''
The Ducks have had a knack for winning tight games this postseason. They won two one-run games in the division series before Wednesday night's ninth-inning charge.
"I think it all comes down to we're all professionals,'' Lyons said. "We all have that great desire to win. Especially in playoff time, there's a little more sense of urgency to get the job done. And it's seemed to work out so far.''