And just like that, the Ducks' bills are against the wall. After winning their first four games of the Atlantic League playoffs, the Ducks have dropped two straight to the Sugar Land Skeeters in the best-of-five Atlantic League Championship Series and find themselves one loss away from a fourth consecutive second-place finish.
The Skeeters beat the Ducks 7-5 in Game 3 Friday night at Constellation Field in Sugar Land, Texas. Sugar Land leads the series 2-1 with a potentially series-ending Game 4 scheduled for Saturday night. If they can't force a Game 5, it would be the Ducks’ fourth consecutive championship series loss.
Ducks starter Seth Simmons allowed six runs and five hits in 4 2/3 innings. He struck out four and walked two. Sugar Land scored five runs in the fourth inning of a scoreless game. Denis Phipps' RBI single to centerfield drove in Rico Noel and Wynton Bernard to give the Skeeters a 2-0 lead. After two more RBI singles and a sacrifice fly by Cody Stanley, Sugar Land had a 5-0 lead.
A wild pitch by Ducks reliever Anderson DeLeon allowed Bernard to score in the fifth and gave the Skeeters a 6-0 lead.
The Ducks climbed back and had the tying run on first base with two outs in the ninth, but Hector Sanchez struck out on a foul tip to end the game.
The Ducks began to inch back with two runs in the seventh. Vladimir Frias’ sacrifice fly drove in Sanchez and gave the Ducks their first run since Game 1. Later in the inning, D’Arby Myers' RBI single scored David Washington and cut Sugar Land's lead to 6-2.
The Ducks scored twice in the eighth to make it 6-4, but left the bases loaded. Lew Ford scored on a passed ball and Washington walked with the bases loaded to drive in L.J. Mazzilli with one out, but Sanchez was thrown out at the plate after a Frias fly out to end the inning.
The Skeeters got a run back in the eighth after Zach Borenstein scored on a wild pitch by Islip native Rob Rogers. The Ducks scored one run in the ninth, but it was not enough.
Three days ago, the Ducks appeared unbeatable. They swept the High Point Rockers in fairly convincing fashion in the opening round last week and, thanks in part to two Washington home runs, beat the Skeeters 7-5 in Game 1 of the championship series Tuesday night at Bethpage Ballpark in Central Islip.
But, the Ducks bats went cold in Game 2 Wednesday night and they fell, 7-0, transforming the series into a best-of-three.
A best-of-three in which they have to win the last two games of the season.