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Ducks rally late to win home opener

Ducks starting pitcher Keith Couch winds up during

Ducks starting pitcher Keith Couch winds up during the first inning against the New Britain Bees at Bethpage Ballpark in Central Islip on April 28, 2017. Credit: Daniel De Mato

Before the Ducks’ 18th home opener Friday night, first baseman Nate Freiman spoke about the contagious nature of hitting. Approximately four hours later, the virus finally found the home dugout.

The Ducks, whose bats were largely silent through most of the warm spring evening, scored four runs and batted around in the seventh inning of a 4-3 win over the New Britain Bees in front of 5,850 fans at Bethpage Ballpark in Central Islip.

Designated hitter Marc Krauss’ bases-loaded sacrifice fly drove in Fehlandt Lentini to give the Ducks a 4-3 lead. Two batters earlier, Delta Cleary Jr.’s single drove in Elmer Reyes and tied the score at 3.

“I knew I was in the driver’s seat there,” said Krauss, who went 1-for-3 with an RBI. “With the bases loaded, he had nowhere to put me. I knew that if I could get a ball in the outfield, [Lentini] is going to score. He’s got great speed. That was my approach, trying to get a strike early.”

Former Oriole Nolan Reimold went 2-for-3 and Reyes was 2-for-4 with a run and two RBIs. Reliever Zac Treece pitched three scoreless innings to earn the win. New Britain reliever Kyle Simon allowed four hits and all four runs to take the loss.

Ducks starter Keith Couch made only one mistake in his second start of the season. Coming off surgery to remove bone chips from his right elbow last fall, Couch still is being stretched out and thus threw only four innings. He allowed three runs, three hits and a walk with five strikeouts.

After Craig Maddox launched a mammoth three-run home run over the billboards in rightfield in the first inning, Couch retired nine in a row and 11 of his final 12.

“The home run shouldn’t have happened,” Couch said of the changeup that Maddox hit out. “I saw a sign, wasn’t convicted, kind of wanted to shake it off, but threw it. Nothing good comes when that happens.”

He said having a fixed elbow is a strange experience.

“I’m still getting used to not having those loose bodies in my arm,” Couch said. “It gives you a little better range of motion and now muscles are working that haven’t been working.’’

Former Met and Yankee David Aardsma pitched a scoreless ninth to earn his first save of the season.

New York Sports