Skeeters Hold Off Ducks to Take 2-1 Series Lead
As great as the Atlantic League Championship Series started off for the Long Island Ducks in game one, it has quickly taken a turn for the worst. After losing 7-0 at home in game two, the Ducks rallied late but could not overcome a slow start in their 7-5 loss to the Sugar Land Skeeters at Constellation Field on Friday night. The Skeeters now hold a 2-1 series lead and can clinch their second consecutive Atlantic League championship, and third in the past four seasons on Saturday night with a win.
After a brilliant start last Friday, Ducks starter Seth Simmons started the game well, but a brutal fourth inning made his outing turn south. The Skeeters and Ducks were scoreless until the bottom of the fourth, where the Sugar Land offense exploded for five runs off Simmons. Denis Phipps got the scoring started with a 2-run single to center and Zach Borenstein followed with a RBI single of his own to give the Skeeters a 3-0 lead. Jason Martinson then drove in a run with another single and catcher Cody Stanley hit a sacrifice fly to bring the Sugar Land lead to 5-0.
After the Skeeters added another run in the fifth, Long Island chipped away at the lead and was able to make it close. In the top of the seventh, Vladimir Frias hit a sacrifice fly and D’Arby Myers ripped a RBI single to cut the deficit to four. Then in the eighth, Lew Ford scored on a passed ball and David Washington drew a bases loaded walk to make it a 6-4 ballgame. Vladimir Frias then stepped to the plate with one out and Hector Sanchez on third base. Frias skied one into shallow center field and Sanchez was gunned down at the plate by Skeeters center fielder Rico Noel to end the rally. Sugar Land added an insurance run in the bottom half and closer Felipe Paulino shut the door in the ninth to push the Flock to the brink of elimination.
The Skeeters and Ducks will battle it out in game four on the series on Saturday night at 6:05 ET in Sugar Land. Long Island will send righty Brandon Beachy (6-0, 2.85) to the mound and Sugar Land will counter with Chase De Jong (4-4, 5.56). Long Island must win this one to force a winner-take-all game five on Sunday.
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