October 5, 2012 - Atlantic League (AtL) - Lancaster Barnstormers
For four months, a Tim Hamulack appearance in the ninth inning meant a quick end to the game and a Barnstormers win.
He could not keep his string going in October.
The Long Island Ducks rallied for six runs off Hamulack (0-1) in the top of the ninth to take the second game of the Atlantic League Championship Series, 9-4.
The series is even at one game each with the remainder of the best-of-five to be played at Bethpage Ballpark in Central Islip.
Lancaster led, 4-3, headed into the ninth, but the Ducks got rolling, literally, on a ground ball over the pitcher's mound by Joash Brodin. Ray Navarrete pulled a single to left, and Brandon Sing tied the game with a ground single past diving third baseman Travis Denker. Bryant Nelson moved the runners with a swinging bunt, and the Barnstormers opted to fill the bases with an intentional walk to Lee Cruz. After a towering drive to left off the bat of Matt Esquivel just went foul, Hamulack rebounded to strike out the Ducks left fielder. The lefty got ahead of Dan Lyons at 1-2, barely missed the outside corner, then went to 3-2 before yielding a three-run double lined over Denker's head into the left field corner.
Consecutive RBI singles by Mitch Canham and Kraig Binick produced the 9-4 margin.
Lancaster was stifled for 3 2/3 innings by left-handed starter Matt Way, who had allowed only one run in 22 1/3 innings in his first four Atlantic League appearances. Fehlandt Lentini drilled a single into center for the Barnstormers' first hit and took second when Binick bobbled the ball in center. Ryan Harvey blasted a two-run homer, his third clout of the post-season, to dead center for a 2-1 lead, and Denker followed with a long ball to right.
The Ducks whittled away at the lead over the next two innings. Binick got a run home with a grounder on the right side in the fifth with Esquivel beating Tommy Everidge's toss to the plate. Lyons singled home the tying run in the sixth, but the deadlock did not last long as singles by Denker and Gilberto Mejia around a bunt, put the Barnstormers back ahead in the bottom of the inning.
Josh Dew and Jeff Bennett were able to hold the lead through the eighth before the fatal ninth.
Jared Lansford (2-0) threw two hitless innings to earn the win for Long Island.
Game Three will be played Friday evening at 7:05 in Central Islip. Lancaster will start right-hander J.D. Durbin (14-9, 1-0) against righty Bob Zimmermann (6-10, 0-0). Fans may tune into 1390-AM, WLAN; 1390wlan.com or the I Heart Radio cell phone app beginning at 6:45.
NOTES: Denker went 2-for-4 for the fifth straight playoff game...Harvey has homered in three straight...Hamulack converted his last 26 save chances in the regular season...Lancaster has made 27 pitching changes in five playoff games...The loss was only the Barnstormers second in nine games at Clipper Magazine Stadium over three trips to the post-season.