CENTRAL ISLIP, NY- The Long Island Ducks (1-0) defeated the Somerset Patriots (0-1) 9-2 in Game 1 of the Liberty Division Championship Series at Bethpage Ballpark on Wednesday evening to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-five playoff series.
The Ducks took a 3-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning on a two-run triple by Daniel Fields and an RBI single by Lew Ford.
Long Island extended the lead in the bottom of the fourth inning on an RBI triple by Jordany Valdespin, who then scored on an error on the play for a 5-0 advantage.
The Patriots got on the board in the top of the fifth inning on an RBI single by Craig Massey that cut the lead to 5-1.
Ramon Flores hit a solo home run (1) in the top of the sixth inning to make it a 5-2 game. Flores was the lone bright spot for Somerset, finishing the game 3-for-4 with a run, a home run, and an RBI.
“It was a good night personally, but not what we were looking to do as a team,” said Flores. “We have to definitely do better as a team. We understand it’s a short series so we have to work hard every game and every inning until we get the win.”
The Ducks answered in the bottom of the frame with two runs on a sacrifice fly by Fields and an RBI single by Ford to stretch the lead to 7-2.
Another two runs scored in the bottom of the seventh inning on an error and a sacrifice fly by Valdespin for a 9-2 advantage.
“We need to pick it up in all facets of the game,” said Somerset Patriots manager Brett Jodie. “It was pretty abnormal, our showing tonight. We really haven’t shown that in the regular season. We need to improve in all aspects. We didn’t pitch the ball well, we didn’t play great defense, and we didn’t really have good at-bats. We have to quickly get back to doing what we do.”
Matt Larkins (1-0) picked up the win, allowing two earned runs on eight hits in six innings. Vince Molesky (0-1) suffered the loss, allowing five runs - four earned - on nine hits in five innings.
The Patriots and Ducks will play Game 2 of the Liberty Division championship series on Thursday, Sept. 20th. Game 3 of the series will take place at TD Bank Ballpark on Friday, Sept. 21st and will feature Post Game Fireworks. For tickets, visit www.somersetpatriots.com.