Long Island’s offense has racked up 10 runs and 23 hits over the past two games
7:05 p.m. at TD Bank Ballpark (Bridgewater, N.J.)
The Long Island Ducks take on the Somerset Patriots in Game Four of the Liberty Division Championship Series. They now hold a two games to one lead in the best-of-five series following a 6-1 win in Game Three on Friday night. The regular season series between Long Island and Somerset was remarkably competitive, with the Ducks claiming 11 victories and the Patriots nine. This marks the third straight year that the two rivals have met in the opening round of the playoffs, with each team having won one playoff series. It’s also the fourth time in five years they are facing in the postseason going back to the 2013 Atlantic League Championship Series, which the Ducks won in five games.
An incredible performance by Ducks starter Jake Fisher in the first postseason start of his professional career helped the Ducks to a 6-1 victory in Game Three and a 2-1 lead in the Liberty Division Championship Series.
The southpaw was terrific throughout, mixing up his pitches and location to keep the Patriots off-balance and showcasing a terrific breaking ball. In his nine innings, Fisher allowed just six hits and two walks while striking out nine batters, his most in a Ducks uniform and two shy of his season-high. The 27-year-old threw a total of 115 pitches in the outing, 83 of which were strikes (72.2%). Fisher actually came within one out of becoming the first Duck to ever toss a complete game shutout in the postseason, but he allowed a single to Kyle Roller and an RBI double by David Vidal off the glove of Lew Ford to miss the opportunity.
Long Island’s offense gave their starting pitcher some early comfort, as they plated three runs in the first inning against Patriots starter William Oliver. The Ducks opened the game with four consecutive singles, including a chopper by Ford over the head of Vidal and an RBI single to left-center by Marc Krauss. Angelo Songco drove in the third run of the inning with a fielder’s choice grounder to first base.
Oliver settled in to keep the Ducks off the scoreboard over the next four innings, but Long Island was able to firmly put the game out of reach in the sixth. Alex Burg, who collected his third consecutive multi-hit game in the postseason, doubled to left to begin the inning. Following a sacrifice bunt and a flyout to shallow right, Dan Lyons came through with a two-out RBI single through the left side. Giovanny Alfonzo followed with an RBI double off the wall in left-center that stretched the lead to 5-0.
Anthony Vega rounded out the scoring for the Flock in the eighth with a two-out solo home run over the wall in right off reliever Kyler Newby. Long Island finished the night with 14 hits in the game, as eight of their nine batters registering at least one hit and five turning in multi-hit performances. Krauss led the way with three hits, while Alfonzo, Ford, Burg and Elmer Reyes each added two.
GAME THREE HIGHLIGHTS:
ON THE MOUND:
For the second night in a row, the Ducks will send a Jake to the mound. Jake Dunning will start for the Flock in Game Four of the LDCS, as he makes his first postseason start in a Ducks uniform. The right-hander made 14 appearances (seven starts) with the Ducks in 2017, compiling a 2-3 record with a 3.64 ERA and 43 strikeouts to 14 walks in 49 and one-third innings. He tossed six scoreless innings against the Bridgeport Bluefish on September 10 and began his final outing of the year with six innings of one-run ball on September 16 in Sugar Land. However, he was tagged for three runs in the seventh that caused him to take the loss in a 5-3 defeat. Dunning worked out of a bases loaded, no-out jam in the second to allow just one run on a groundout. In the seventh though, he surrendered back-to-back singles and a two-run triple by Joe Benson. The bullpen then conceded two more runs. Tonight will be the former big leaguer’s first-ever outing against the Patriots.
Somerset will send Patrick Johnson to the mound, in need of a win to keep their season alive. The right-hander made seven appearances (five starts) with the Patriots and posted a 2-2 record with a 4.76 ERA and 28 strikeouts to eight walks in 22 and two-thirds innings. His ERA is a bit inflated from his second outing, where he allowed nine runs (eight earned) on seven hits in one and two-thirds innings to the York Revolution. However, since then, 29-year-old has given up only four runs over 20 innings across five games (1.80 ERA). In his last start, he allowed a run on four hits over five innings while striking out five in a 9-2 win at Bridgeport in the regular season finale. Johnson has faced the Ducks just once, coming in his first outing with Somerset. He threw a scoreless inning as the starter in game one of a doubleheader on August 16 but gave up two walks and hit a batter in the frame.
Fans can follow all the action for tonight’s game, and every Ducks playoff game in 2017, on the Long Island Ducks Broadcast Network. Streaming HD video and audio via BoxCast will be available on the team’s official Facebook page through Facebook Live, on the Ducks’ official YouTube channel and at LIDucks.com in the Video Center. In addition to updates in this post, fans can follow a pitch-by-pitch account of tonight’s game via Pointstreak’s Game Live application by CLICKING HERE.
DUCKS GAME NOTES:
For tonight’s full Ducks game notes, please CLICK HERE.
Long Island Ducks
#6 Giovanny Alfonzo – 3B
#13 Elmer Reyes – 2B
#20 Lew Ford – LF
#34 Marc Krauss – 1B
#26 Angelo Songco – DH
#23 Alex Burg – C
#5 Delta Cleary Jr. – CF
#11 Anthony Vega – RF
#12 Dan Lyons – SS
#45 Jake Dunning – RHP
#91 Aharon Eggleston – LF
#8 Alfredo Rodriguez – SS
#19 Olmo Rosario – RF
#40 Kyle Roller – DH
#14 David Vidal – 3B
#5 D’Vontrey Richardson – CF
#13 Carlos Guzman – 1B
#4 Yovan Gonzalez – C
#15 Justin Trapp – 2B
#34 Patrick Johnson – RHP
LIVE GAME UPDATES:
UPDATE (7:21): END 1: Both pitchers work a scoreless first inning to begin Game Four.
UPDATE (7:42): BOT 2: Jake Dunning escapes a second-and-third, no-out jam to keep Somerset off the scoreboard! A 5-4-3 double play ends the inning!
UPDATE (7:57): TOP 3: A bunt single coupled with a fielding error scores Delta Cleary Jr., and Giovanny Alfonzo delivers an RBI single! Ducks take a 2-0 lead!
UPDATE (8:07): BOT 3: Dunning escapes again! After allowing a pair of two-out singles, he strikes out Kyle Roller for the second time tonight!
UPDATE (8:46): END 5: Five scoreless innings thus far from Jake Dunning to protect Long Island’s 2-0 lead! He has struck out three.
UPDATE (9:00): TOP 6: Angelo Songco laces an RBI double to right-center, scoring Marc Krauss to extend the lead to 3-0!
UPDATE (9:17): BOT 6: Somerset gets on the scoreboard thanks to a two-out infield single from Carlos Guzman. Ducks lead is now 3-1.
UPDATE (10:11): BOT 8: Somerset rallies for a pair of two-out runs to tie up the ballgame. 3-3 as we head to the ninth.
UPDATE (10:40): BALLGAME OVER! Ducks score in the top of the ninth and win it 4-3! They take the series 3-1 and are the 2017 Liberty Division champions!!