Temperatures were sky high Sunday morning, leading the Ducks to shorten their evening game against the Lancaster Barnstormers to seven innings. Seven-inning games aren’t completely uncommon in the Atlantic League; its use is primarily reserved for doubleheaders, but also other extreme circumstances. And extreme heat was enough of a circumstance.
Removing the final two innings of the game didn’t help the Ducks, though, as they fell to the lowly Lancaster Barnstormers, 8-4, in front of 4,116 toasty fans at Bethpage Ballpark in Central Islip.
The Ducks (5-4), who took three of four from Lancaster in the series, managed only four hits Sunday. Former Met T.J. Rivera went 2-for-3 with a home run and three RBIs.
Ducks starter Kevin McAvoy allowed seven runs, nine hits and two walks in four innings-plus, striking out six. He cruised through the first two innings, recording five of his strikeouts, but ran into trouble in the third.
Pitching with a 2-0 lead, McAvoy was tagged for a tying two-run double by Joey Terdoslavich. The Barnstormers (2-8) scored two runs in the fourth on Destin Hood’s home run and Greg Golson’s RBI single and added three more in the fifth to take a 7-2 lead.
“He pitched behind in the count a little bit and gave guys pitches that were a little bit over the plate,” Ducks manager Wally Backman said.
“Second and third time through the order, I started missing on the plate a little bit more,” McAvoy said. “There were a couple pitches here and there that I could definitely tell that they were more middle than the first turn [around the order].”
McAvoy said the weather was the hottest he’d ever pitched in, but he didn’t use the conditions as an excuse.
“We have a good trainer, she took care of us and we stayed hydrated,” he said. “It’s a summer game, so we’ve all played in heat . . . There was no effect. You’re out there competing.”
Rivera’s two-run homer in the fifth was his first as a Duck and cut Lancaster’s lead to 7-4. He drove in D’Arby Myers, who had doubled with two outs.
“I didn’t get a guy in earlier from third and I was just trying to pick myself up and the team up,” Rivera said. “Just looking for something up and got something up early in the count and was able to drive it.”