The Long Island Ducks had 12 consecutive batters reach base with two outs in the bottom of the sixth, rallying for a 12-8 nightcap victory over the Lancaster Barnstormers and a split of a Friday evening doubleheader at Bethpage Ballpark.
Earlier, Dan Gamache singled home the deciding run in the top of the seventh as the ‘Stormers grabbed the opener, 4-3.
Lancaster built an 8-1 lead over the first five innings in the second game. They had received brilliant pitching efforts from Garrett Granitz, making his first career start, and Matt Marksberry. Gamache drove in three runs with a pair of doubles. Darian Sandford and Devon Torrence successfully executed a double steal. Sandford and third baseman Joe Terdoslavich made exceptional defensive plays.
To open the sixth, Ezequiel Carrera beat Andury Acevedo to first base on a hopper to K.C. Hobson. Steve Lombardozzi and L.J. Mazzilli were both retired on ground balls. With two outs and a runner at third, Acevedo worked ahead of Kirk Nieuwenhuis in the count.
That is when all Hades broke loose. Nieuwehuis clubbed a two-run homer. The next two batters walked. Daniel Fields singled to right to load the bases. Rando Moreno singled home two. And with another “bullpen game” slated for Saturday night, manager Ross Peeples went to Caleb Gindl (0-1) for his first pressure situation. Vladimir Frias singled to left to cut the lead to 8-6. Carrera was hit by a pitch and a walk to Lombardozzi forced home the seventh Long Island run.
Cody Eppley, who saved the opener, was called upon to rescue the inning. He appeared to have done so, getting a ground ball out of Mazzilli. However, Zach Shank mishandled the ball initially, and his throw to first was late as the tying run scored on the error. Nieuwenhuis stepped back in and hit a liner to right which appeared to freeze Greg Golson as it fell in for a two-run single. Hector Sanchez singled up the middle, and David Washington beat out an infield single to add extra runs before Eppley finally struck out Daniel Fields to end the 16-batter inning.
Rob Rogers (1-0), picked up the win for the Ducks.
In the opener, walks to Parker Morin and Darian Sandford set the stage for Gamache’s heroics. After Michael Martinez grounded into a force out, Gamache laced the game winner past Lombardozzi at third.
Eppley allowed two singles in the bottom of the inning but struck out Sanchez and Rey Fuentes to pin the tying run at third.
John Anderson (5-3) yielded a two-run homer to Nieuwenhuis in the first inning before settling down to author the quality start. Terdoslavich brought the Barnstormers back to even with a pair of solo homers.
Following an RBI single by D’Arby Myers in the fourth, Lancaster tied the game in the fifth on a wild pitch that scored Morin.
The Barnstormers and Ducks square off on Saturday night for the third game of the series. Lancaster will send right-hander Kelvin Vasquez (0-1) to the mound against lefty Jake Fisher. Fans may tune into the Barnstormers YouTube Channel, beginning at 6:15.
NOTES: Gamache has hit safely in eight straight…He had a pair of doubles in the second game, giving him 23 for the season, on a pace to bang out 62…Sandford stole his 20th base of the year and 147th as a Barnstormer, moving him to within two of the all-time top ten in league history…Terdoslavich had the first multi-homer game by a Barnstormer this season…Granitz made his first start in the US after 236 relief appearances.