The Ducks are one loss away from dropping the Atlantic League championship series for the second straight year.
Lancaster won Game 3, 12-5, in front of 4,004 at Bethpage Ballpark last night to take a 2-1 lead in the best-of-five series. The 12 runs are the most the Ducks have allowed since Aug. 31 at York.
With the Ducks hosting Game 4 tonight at 7:05, Lancaster will look to clinch its second title and first since 2006. Ducks righthander John Brownell (0-0, 2.70) opposes righthander Mark Brackman, who is making his first postseason appearance.
"We've been good with our backs against the wall,'' Ducks outfielder Kraig Binick said. "I think we'll be fine. We feel we should have won this game. Anything can happen.''
A night after the Ducks won behind an improbable six-run, ninth-inning rally, the Barnstormers had their own six-run rally -- only much earlier.
Ducks starter Bob Zimmermann was cruising until one out in the fourth, when he allowed six straight hits -- the only hits he gave up -- and Lancaster took a 6-3 lead. The big blows were Travis Denker's two-run single to left followed by Bridger Hunt's two-run triple to the wall in right. Zimmermann was replaced by righty sidearmer Chris Hayes, who gave up the seventh and final hit of the inning, Gilberto Mejia's RBI single.
Six of the 10 outs Zimmermann recorded were strikeouts, including fanning the side in the first. Though it appeared that Zimmermann might have tired in the fourth, manager Kevin Baez said that was not the case.
"Bob doesn't tire out.'' Baez said. "It was just a situation where he didn't get the call and then he came over the plate a little bit more than he wanted to and they got a couple hits in a row."
The Ducks opened the scoring in the first when Kraig Binick led off with a single up the middle before Lancaster starter and former Phillie J.D. Durbin walked three straight batters. The third walk, to Bryant Nelson, drove in Binick with the Ducks' first run. Lee Cruz's groundout made it 2-0.
Joash Brodin's groundout in the second drove in Mitch Canham to make it 3-0.
But the Ducks couldn't hold the lead and now are facing elimination. Baez spoke to his team after the game and said:
"Basically, I just went in there and said, 'Hey, keep your heads up. Let's start a nice two-game winning streak starting tomorrow.' "