NEW BRITAIN - The New Britain Bees returned from their six-game road trip in Texas needing a win after losing five of six.
A win was just what they got.
With one swing of the bat in the bottom of the ninth, Conor Bierfeldt hit his second home run of the night over the left-field fence to give the Bees a 4-3 win over the Long Island Ducks on Thursday. It was just the team’s second win in its last 11 games to start out the month of May.
Bierfeldt hit a three-run home run in the fourth to give New Britain a 3-2 lead that the team took into the final inning.
The Ducks did not go away quietly. Joe Beimel entered the game in the ninth with a chance to earn the save. But after getting the first two outs without much difficulty, the left-hander gave up a double to Giovanny Alfonzo.
Beimel shook off the hit and got Dan Lyons to hit a groundball to Jovan Rosa at third for what looked to be the game ender, only to have Rosa’s throw pull first baseman Jon Griffin off the bag and for Griffin’s throw to sail wide of catcher James Skelton, allowing Alfonzo to score the tying run.
Eric Fornataro once again provided five quality innings for the Bees.
Fornataro allowed two runs and five hits during his time on the mound, but for the right-hander it was another positive sign. It was his second consecutive start of going five-plus innings and allowing two runs after struggling in his first two outings of the season in which he had a 9.00 ERA. It now sits at 5.97.
The Ducks were able to get some early runs of Fornataro, both courtesy of Angelo Songco. His single in the first inning brought home Fehlandt Lentini and two innings later, Songco doubled off the right-field wall to score Elmer Reyes.
Long Island, however, managed just four hits the rest of the night.
New Britain’s offense proved just an ineffective against Ducks starter John Brownell in the early going. After Skelton’s leadoff double in the first, the Bees would not get another base hit until the fourth.
But it turned out to be the right hit at the right time in the game.
After Craig Maddox reached first on an error and Rosa walked, Bierfeldt stepped up to the plate with one out. Facing a 2-2 count, the left fielder swung and watched the ball carry over the fence for his fifth home run of the season.
Brownell’s night was done after six, having been charged with the three runs - two earned - and five hits.
Nate Roe took over for Fornataro in the sixth and walked off the mound after a 1, 2, 3 inning. He got two fly balls and a strikeout to complete a perfect seventh.
Roe gave way to Brandon Fry in the eighth, who had to work himself out of a small amount of trouble. Delta Cleary Jr. singled to center field and after stealing second, was advanced to third on a Songco groundout. But Fry got Marc Krauss to hit a groundball to second base to end the inning and the threat to set up the ninth for Beimel and Bierfeldt.
David Glovach can be reached at (860) 801-5085 or firstname.lastname@example.org
On Twitter: @DavidGlovach