BRIDGEWATER, N.J. — Jake Fisher pitched a complete game Friday night as the Ducks beat the Somerset Patriots, 6-1, in Game 3 of the Liberty Division Championship Series in front of 8,131 fans at T.D. Bank Ballpark.
The Ducks lead the best-of-five series 2-1 and are a win from advancing to the Atlantic League Championship Series for the second consecutive season. Game 4 is Saturday night at Somerset.
Fisher, 27, who made two regular-season starts after being acquired from the independent Frontier League’s Windy City Thunderbolts on Sept. 8, allowed one run and six hits. He struck out nine and walked two.
“I felt the same the whole game. I tried to stay even- keeled,” said Fisher, who made the first postseason start of his career. “I know it’s a playoff game and there’s always a lot of nerves that come with that. I just tried to stay with my game plan. [Catcher Alex] Burg did a great job behind the plate calling the game. He’s the one that kind of talked to me before. He’s seen this lineup and said, ‘Stick to the right side of the plate and let’s work it hard.’ That’s what I tried to do.”
“He knows how to pitch,’’ manager Kevin Baez said. “He mixes it up with a fastball and changeup. He was very impressive. He pitched his butt off and it was a pleasure to see.
“He looks like a young 20-year-old, and he steps on that mound and is a fierce competitor . . . He wants the ball and he knows what to do with it.”
The Ducks opened a three-run first inning with four straight singles. Lew Ford’s high chopper skipped over third baseman David Vidal’s head for the game’s first run. Marc Krauss’ RBI single and Angelo Songco’s forceout produced a 3-0 lead.
“You feel like it’s going to be really hard for them to come back from that,” Ford said. “I’m sure they were feeling the same way.”
Burg led off the sixth with a double and scored on a single to leftfield by Dan Lyons, who scored on Giovanny Alfonzo’s double to center for a 5-0 lead. Anthony Vega’s home run in the eighth made it 6-0.
The night, however, belonged to Fisher. Alfonzo’s two-out error and Tyler Bortnick’s single put runners on first and third in the fifth, but Adam Donachie flied out to end the threat.
“I just tried to keep the same mindset, make pitches and not get overwhelmed in the situation,’’ Fisher said. “Luckily, he popped it up and our guys were out there to make the play.”