LONG ISLAND DUCKS: Losing Streak Reaches Five Games; Swept By Sugar Land Skeeters, But Magic Number Is Now Down To Four.
Losers of four in a row and their three previous games against the Skeeters, the Long Island Ducks entered tonight's series finale against Sugar Land with a magic number of five to clinch the second half Liberty Division flag.
In tonight's game, Long Island starting pitcher Bob Zimmermann kept the Sugar Land Skeeters hitless through the first four innings. The Skeeters finally recorded their first hit in the fifth. To that point, Zimmermann had issued one walk and struck out seven. Michael Nix climbed the hill for the visiting Skeeters, and retired thirteen straight Ducks at one point. Through five, Nix surrendered two hits, walked none and struck out four.
Sugar Land finally struck in the sixth. With two outs, third baseman Brian Burgamy drove in the game's first run off Zimmermann with a single. In the bottom of the frame, the Ducks were helped out by an E5, which factored in an unearned run, and a tie game.
Through seven full innings, Bob Zimmermann held Sugar Land to a run on three hits, walked two, and struck out a new season high - eight batters.
Long Island rallied in the bottom of the seventh. With runners on first and second and one out, Ray Navarrete was induced into a weak fly to right for the second out. With Kraig Binick at-bat, a wild pitch by Nix put the go ahead run on third base. Binick then singled to drive first baseman Ryan Strieby home to give the Ducks a 2-1 lead.
Bob Zimmermann stayed in to pitch the eighth. But an error by shortstop Dan Lyons opened the door and welcomed in a disaster. With the lead-off batter aboard safely at first, a 1/4 sacrifice moved the tying run to second base. Ducks manager Kevin Baez then emerged from the dugout once the next batter due up, Ryan Langerhans was announced. Into the game entered Erick Threets in relief of Zimmermann, and promptly walked Langerhans. Second baseman Jeff Dominguez singled sharply to center field, knotting the game again at two. Dan Lyons recorded the second out with a catch on Brian Burgamy's line drive to short. But with two outs, Josh Pressley launched a two run scoring double to make it a 4-2 game in Sugar Land's favor.
Michael Nix was through after seven. He allowed two runs on six hits, walked none and struck out five. Roberto Giron took over pitching duties for Sugar Land in the eighth. The Ducks then faced Gary Majewski in relief of Giron in the ninth. A lead-off hit by right fielder Adam Bailey was negated when Ralph Henriquez bounced into a double-play. Ray Navarrete then ended the game with a fly to left.
The Sugar Land Skeeters completed their four game sweep of the Ducks, and have taken seventeen of the twenty games they've played against Long Island this season. Sugar Land also continues to add to their Atlantic League record, with their ninety-third victory of the season.
Long Island's current losing streak now stands at five games. Their second half record fell to 30-34, and have dropped seven of their last ten games. But the Ducks ended the evening still leading the Liberty Division by two games over the Bluefish. In what can only be viewed as a consolation for Ducks fans, the Bridgeport Bluefish were defeated by the York Revolution, which lowered Long Island's magic number down to four, with six games left in the regular season.
The Ducks will now host the Lancaster Barnstormers, then hit the road to end the season in Somerset.