If things keep going this way, the Ducks are going to find themselves looking for plans on Saturday night. They’ll also find themselves in the Atlantic League Championship Series for the third consecutive year. The Ducks turned in their second straight dominant playoff performance Thursday night, defeating the Somerset Patriots, 11-1, in Game 2 of the Liberty Division Championship Series in front of 2,406 fans at Bethpage Ballpark in Central Islip.
The Ducks lead the best-of-5 series, 2-0. The series now shifts to New Jersey for Game 3 — the potential clincher — Friday night. If necessary, Games 4 and 5 are Saturday and Sunday, respectively.
David Washington hit two three-run home runs and had six RBIs. Daniel Fields went 2-for-3 with two runs and two RBIs as the Ducks totaled 14 hits. Every Ducks batter had at least one hit.
“I was just trying to get a pitch to hit and put a good swing on it," Washington said. "They were mixing [pitches] pretty well, I was just able to get the right pitch and get the barrel to it.”
The Ducks saved Jake Fisher, their ace, for Game 2 and are sure glad they did. Following Game 1 starter Matt Larkins’ lead, Fisher was virtually untouchable. He allowed one run and four hits in seven innings. He struck out three and walked two.
The 28-year-old lefty worked around a one-out single in the first inning and induced an inning-ending double play from Alfredo Rodriguez. Fisher then tossed aside an error by Washington to lead off the second inning and got Mike Fransoso to ground into a fielders choice with runners on first and second to end the inning. After a second baseman Jordany Valdespin error and a walk with two outs in the third, Fisher forced Jayce Boyd to pop out.
Fisher then retired the next nine batters, carrying him through the fourth, fifth, and sixth innings. “I felt like I was still making the same quality pitches," Fisher said. "They were just putting it in play and right to guys.”
Just like they did in Game 1, the Ducks offense scored three runs in the third inning to take pressure off their starter. Valdespin’s no-out RBI single drove in Miles Williams and broke the scoreless tie. One batter later, Fields’ RBI single into shallow rightfield drove in Dan Lyons and Valdespin, who charged down the third-base line to beat a late, and very wide, throw to give the Ducks a 3-0 lead.
The Ducks scored five more runs in the fifth inning. Valdespin’s sacrifice fly to leftfield drove in Williams and Lew Ford’s single drove in Lyons to give the Ducks a 5-0 lead. Washington capped the inning with a three-run blast to leftfield that erased the already miniscule level of doubt that the Ducks would win. Washington’s second three-run blast came in the bottom of the seventh.
The Ducks were on the opposite end of this exact situation in 2016. After falling into an 0-2 hole in Somerset, they returned home to shock the Patriots — winning the next three and, with them, the series. While a change in scenery can change the dynamics of a series, the Ducks are hoping their good vibes, hot pitching, and hotter bats, join them in Jersey.