LONG ISLAND DUCKS: The Webbed Spikes Win First Road Playoff Game In Seven Years to Go Up 2-1 in Best of Five Series Against Southern Maryland.
Can Clinch Liberty Division Championship Sunday Afternoon.
The Ducks picked up a sorely needed road win in the first game down in Southern Maryland. In winning their second game of this series, the Ducks need only win one more game with two chances to wrap up the right to play for the Atlantic League Championship.
The Long Island Ducks hadn't won a playoff game on the road since 2004. Since then they've posted an 0-7 road playoff record until tonight's win over the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs in Game Three of the Liberty Divisional Championship.
But tonight's Long Island starter; Bob Zimmermann; gave the Ducks exactly what they needed; exactly when they needed it. He was stellar in 6.0 innings pitched and helped the Ducks avoid a must win situation in Game Four. In the third inning, he allowed one run which was unearned. Otherwise he kept the Blue Crabs quiet; limiting Southern Maryland to three hits; two walks; while striking out six batters. He left the game with the Ducks clinging on to a 2-1 lead.
The Ducks' scored first on an opening inning home run by Ray Navarrete. Later, with Javier Colina up in the third inning, Kraig Binick was awarded home on a balk call against Blue Crabs' starter; David Trahan. But the Crabs picked up a run in the bottom of the third to make it a one run game; 2-1 in Long Island's favor.
Long Island added to their lead four innings later. Lew Ford hit the second Ducks' home run of the game. Freddie Thon singled, and made it all the way to third base on a pair of wild pitches. Kraig Binick then singled to drive him home making it a 4-1 Long Island advantage.
Southern Maryland scored off the very reliable Jeremy Hill in the home seventh inning. Two doubles plated the second Blue Crabs run. But Jeremy struck out two batters in avoiding any more damage.
Then Coach Baez called upon this year's traditional team closer; Bubbie Buzachero; to pitch the eighth. It's obvious the coaching staff has lost a level of patience with his maddening way of protecting leads and closing games. After securing the first out of the eighth, Bubbie walked the following two batters. And that was all Coach Baez would allow. Coach summoned his newest arm; Jon Hunton; to finish this game.
And he did just that. Hunton got out of Bubbie's one out, two on jam, by inducing a ground ball out and striking out the third out in the eighth. In the ninth, he allowed two hits with just one out, then struck out the last two Blue Claws to end the game.
With Friday's rain out, the Ducks are better prepared to bring Mike Loree back on short rest in a possible game five if need be. But for now, the Ducks own a two games to one lead with two opportunities to win one.
LIBERTY DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES
LONG ISLAND DUCKS (2-1)
Southern Maryland Blue Crabs (1-2)
A Ballpark in Waldorf