Long Island Ducks Tyler Dearden drives a single to the...

Long Island Ducks Tyler Dearden drives a single to the outfield in a game against the Lancaster Stormers, Sunday, April 28, 2024 at Fairfield Properties Ballpark. Credit: George A Faella

The Ducks eyed a season-opening four-game sweep of Lancaster on Sunday, but those plans were spoiled from the get-go.

The Stormers built an eight-run lead through three innings — plating three in the first, two in the second and three in the third — and Ducks starting pitcher Charlie Neuweiler was pulled after the second.

The Ducks collected 10 hits but left nine runners on base as they fell to Lancaster, 13-4, at Fairfield Properties Ballpark in Central Islip.

“I think we just need to do a better job of getting strike one, attacking the zone,” Ducks manager Lew Ford said. “We were behind in the count. Also using a lot of pitches to get through those innings . . . Overall, we just got to throw more strikes, and starting early in the count.”

The Ducks (3-1) still won the series over the back-to-back Atlantic League champions.

Kyle Hess scored on a wild pitch, Niko Hulsizer blooped an RBI single and Chris Proctor had a two-out RBI double in the first inning for Lancaster (1-3). Hess, who went 3-for-4 with three RBIs, blasted a two-run homer to right in the second.

Neuweiler (0-1) allowed five runs, six hits and two walks. Center Moriches’ Liam Pulsipher replaced Neuweiler in the third and allowed four earned runs and four walks in 2 1⁄3 innings as Lancaster took an 8-0 lead.

Tyler Dearden hit a two-run homer to right-centerfield for the Ducks to cut the deficit to 8-2 in the fourth.

“I walked my first at-bat, saw a lot of pitches,” Dearden said. “So I saw everything [Stormers starter Nile Ball] had. Got a first-pitch fastball and just jumped all over it.”

Ball struck out five and allowed two runs in five innings.

Righthander Bobby Vath, a Newfield High School product and 2018 Newsday All-Long Island second-team selection, was a bright spot for the Ducks. He struck out four and allowed one hit and one walk in 3 2⁄3 scoreless innings.

Vath was invited to spring training after the Ducks’ open player tryout April 13 and had a successful first regular-season appearance Sunday.

“You try to take positives out of games like this,” Ford said, “and definitely Bobby — the way he pitched — was a positive today.”

Heath’s status

Ducks leadoff hitter and starting outfielder Nick Heath was pulled in the sixth after hitting a fifth-inning double. Ford said Heath had a “little tightness” and pulled him because of the score. Ford hopes he will be available for Tuesday’s game against Staten Island.

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