Bridgewater, NJ- The Long Island Ducks defeated the Somerset Patriots 9-4 in Game Three of the Liberty Division Championship Series at TD Bank Ballpark on Friday night. The Ducks now lead the best-of-five series 2-1. The 7,835 fans in attendance set a new Atlantic League Playoff record.
Both teams were held scoreless – and Somerset hitless – until Aharon Eggleston launched a two-out home run (1) to right field for a 1-0 advantage.
The Ducks put up four runs in the fifth to claim the lead. A game-tying RBI single by Sean Burroughs started the scoring. A Dan Lyons RBI base hit and a two-run single by Cody Puckett later made the score 4-1.
Long Island tacked onto the lead in the sixth with a two-out RBI single by Lew Ford that extended the difference to 5-1.
A sixth inning two-run home run by Michael Burgess, his second of the series and sixth RBI, trimmed the lead to 5-3.
“It was coming back in our direction, but the bullpen didn’t do a good job. The bullpen’s been very solid all year. They just couldn’t hold on. We had to put zeroes up somewhere. It’s a great offensive team over there so it’s not that easy,” Somerset Patriots manager Brett Jodie said.
The Ducks answered with a run in the seventh on a double to left by Mike Blanke to score Puckett, who singled earlier in the frame.
The Patriots chipped into the lead with a run in the seventh on an RBI single by pinch hitter David Vidal. Somerset had an opportunity for a big inning with the bases loaded, but Thomas Neal grounded into a double play to end the threat.
“We had that potentially big inning with the bases loaded there and had some guys that we wouldn’t mind having at the plate and they turned a great double play. They just beat us in every aspect of the game tonight,” said Jodie.
Once again Long Island rallied, this time for three runs in the eighth inning. A two-run double by Randy Ruiz highlighted the inning for the Ducks.
Bobby Blevins (1-0) picked up the win, allowing four runs on four hits in six innings pitched. Matt Zielinski (0-1) suffered the loss, allowing four runs on seven hits in five innings pitched.
The 2015 Liberty Division Championship Series will continue with Game 4 at TD Bank Ballpark on Saturday night at 7:05 pm. For more information, or to purchase tickets, visit www.somersetpatriots.com.