BRIDGEWATER, N.J. - The Ducks are one victory away from earning a berth in the Atlantic League Championship Series after slugging their way to a 9-4 victory over the Somerset Patriots in Game 3 of the Liberty Division Championship Series on Friday night at TD Bank Ballpark. The Ducks lead the best-of-five series 2-1.
Cody Puckett had four hits, two RBIs and a run scored and the Ducks amassed 13 hits in winning their second straight game against the Patriots, who had the best record in the Atlantic League this season. The Ducks can wrap up the series in Game 4 here Saturday night.
Southern Maryland took a 2-1 lead in the Freedom Division Championship Series with a 6-1 victory over Lancaster Friday night.
The Ducks fell behind in the bottom of the fourth when Somerset leftfielder Aharon Eggleston hammered a first-pitch fastball from Bobby Blevins over the rightfield fence for his first homer since Aug. 13. But the Ducks struck back in the top of the fifth, getting four runs off Somerset starter Matt Zielinski.
Delta Cleary Jr. started the rally with a one-out single through the shortstop hole and Lew Ford followed with a walk, the fourth of the game issued by Zielinski. One out later, Sean Burroughs tied the score when he singled past diving first baseman Matt Fields. Dan Lyons put the Ducks ahead and sent Burroughs to third with a double off the leftfield wall. Puckett then drove in two runs with a single to center, with Lyons sliding home ahead of the tag as centerfielder Ollie Linton threw a strike to the plate.
The Ducks tacked on another run in the top of the sixth on Ford's two-out RBI single, but Michael Burgess drilled a two-run homer to right-center to pull the Patriots within 5-3 in the bottom of the inning.
Mike Blanke's two-out RBI double made it 6-3 in the top of the seventh, but in the bottom of the inning, Blevins hit the wall and the Patriots took advantage.
Linton led off the inning with a bunt single and Adam Donachie walked on four pitches. Ducks manager Kevin Baez brought in lefthander Patrick Crider to face lefthanded-hitting Adam Spears, but Somerset manager Brett Jodie countered with righthanded-hitting pinch hitter David Vidal, who singled to center to cut the Patriots' deficit to 6-4.
Baez then brought in righthander Nick Struck, who worked out of the two-on, none-out jam. He got Robert Andino to foul out to third and then, after walking Eggleston to load the bases, got Thomas Neal to ground into a 6-4-3 double play.
The Ducks scored three runs in the top of the eighth to put the game away. Randy Ruiz had a two-run double and Burroughs added a sacrifice fly.