Opening Night 2014: Ducks at Patriots
It was nearly seven months ago on this very field where Adam Bailey reeled in a fly ball to right by Jonny Tucker for the final out of Game Five of the 2013 Atlantic League Championship Series. That out gave the Ducks their second consecutive Atlantic League title and third overall since they began play in 2000. Tonight, Bailey, Tucker and the rest of the Long Island Ducks and Somerset Patriots will take the field in Bridgewater, New Jersey to open up the 2014 regular season.
The Ducks will be celebrating their 15th Anniversary Season this year while the Patriots are entering their 17th season of play in the Atlantic League. These are the two winningest franchises in terms of championships in league history. The Patriots lead the way with five titles while the Ducks are close behind with three and trying to become the first team in Atlantic League history to three-peat as champions. In fact, these two teams have combined for eight of the league’s 16 championships and four of the last six.
Here are some key notes for tonight’s game:
Familiar Foe: Tonight marks the 266th all-time meeting between the Ducks and Patriots in regular season play. After tonight, the Ducks will not have faced any other Atlantic League opponent more than the Patriots. Long Island has played the Bridgeport Bluefish 265 times. The Ducks trail the all-time series by just three games at 134-131, and the Patriots hold a 69-60 advantage over the Flock at TD Bank Ballpark. Somerset claimed the 2013 season series by a 12-8 margin, though the Ducks won their playoff meeting in the ALCS 3-2.
Back Again: This year marks the second time in the last three season that the Ducks opened the regular season at TD Bank Ballpark. On April 26, 2012, Long Island began the year with a 9-4 victory over the Patriots. In that game, Ray Navarrete was the offensive star, going 5-for-5 with a home runs, two RBI and three runs scored. Right-hander Mike Loree started for the Ducks and earned a no-decision, tossing five and one-third innings, allowing three runs while striking out six.
Brownie’s Back: John Brownell, tonight’s starting pitcher, is returning to the site where he earned a victory over the Patriots in Game Five of the Atlantic League Championship Series to earn the Ducks their second consecutive championship. That win, coupled with his victory over Somerset in Game One of the series, earned him ALCS MVP honors, becoming the first pitcher in Ducks history to receive the honor. The right-hander set a team record in 2013 with 133 strikeouts and led the Atlantic League in complete games (7) and shutouts (2).
On the Air: Tonight’s game can be heard live on Long Island’s home for news, traffic, weather and Ducks baseball, 103.9-FM LI News Radio. The game can also be heard online with live streaming audio by CLICKING HERE.
Here are the starting lineups for tonight’s season opener:
#22 Joash Brodin – 1B
#5 Chris McClendon – 3B
#24 Fehlandt Lentini – RF
#20 Lew Ford – CF
#13 Adam Bailey – LF
#33 Ryan Strieby – DH
#2 Cody Puckett – 2B
#27 Keith Castillo – C
#12 Dan Lyons – SS
#7 John Brownell – RHP
#6 Jonny Tucker – CF
#3 Nate Spears – 2B
#2 Luis Montanez – RF
#18 Dennis Raben – 1B
#15 Corey Smith – 3B
#5 Ty Wright – DH
#91 Aharon Eggleston – LF
#12 Edwin Maysonet – SS
#21 Adam Donachie – C
#20 Erik Arnesen – RHP
We’ll be updating this post live throughout the game, so be sure to check back and refresh often for the latest from TD Bank Ballpark. You can also follow the Ducks on Twitter by heading to Twitter.com/LIDucks.
Buckle up Ducks fans! Game one of 140 scheduled regular season games starts soon!
UPDATE (6:35): Both teams are beginning to make their way to their respective dugouts. The Ducks will be wearing new gray jerseys this year, similar to the grays they’ve worn in previous years. The jersey features “Long Island” in script on the front as well as a number on the front and back. All font is mainly green with an orange and white outline. The Patriots will be in their home white vest jerseys with the blue undershirt. “Patriots” adorns the front with a number on the back, both in navy blue with a red outline.
UPDATE (7:00): There they are, your 2014 Long Island Ducks along the third base line!
UPDATE (7:13): The Patriots have taken the field, Joash Brodin is in the batter’s box, and we are ready to go. The 2014 regular season is underway at TD Bank Ballpark!
UPDATE (7:27): No score after one inning of play. Chris McClendon picked up Long Island’s first hit of 2014. John Brownell retired the side in order.
UPDATE (7:41): Somerset grabs the game’s first run on a lead-off solo homer to right by Dennis Raben in the second inning.
UPDATE (8:06): The Ducks take the lead! Lew Ford with a sac fly to right and Ryan Strieby with a RBI single to left! Long Island in front 2-1.
UPDATE (8:27): Another 1-2-3 inning for Brownell in the fifth. He’s given up just two hits, both to Raben, and has five strikeouts.
UPDATE (8:35): Some rain began to fall in the top of the sixth but has since stopped. There is rain in the forecast for tonight, and it has already postponed games in York, Pennsylvania and Waldorf, Maryland.
UPDATE (8:45): Patriots have pulled even on a RBI triple to right by Nate Spears in the sixth. 2-2 as we head to the seventh.
UPDATE (9:11): Final lines for both starters, who each will get a no-decision tonight:
Brownell: 6.0 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 5 K, 1 HR, 77 pitches
Arnesen: 7.0 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 8 K, 97 pitches
UPDATE (9:26): The Ducks get out of a first-and-second, two-out jam as Eric Niesen gets Luis Montanez to line out to first. 2-2 as we go to the ninth inning.
UPDATE (9:46): Nice job by Josh Lansford in the ninth as he induces a double play and a foul pop-up. Bonus baseball on Opening Night!
UPDATE (10:22): After allowing a lead-off single in the 11th, Fernando Hernandez induces a double play and a fly out. Onto the 12th inning tied at two.
UPDATE (11:13): Great job by Brad Holt! He works out of a first-and-second, no-out jam to keep the game knotted at two. Struck out Ty Wright to end the frame. Onto the 15th inning!
UPDATE (11:34): A RBI double by Jonny Tucker in the bottom of the 15th wins it for Somerset 3-2. Exciting game, but a tough defeat to start the year. Stay tuned to LIDucks.com for a recap of tonight’s season opener.
Posted on April 25, 2014, in Game Previews and tagged 15th Anniversary Season, 2014, Atlantic League, Championship, Game 1, Kevin Baez, Long Island Ducks, Somerset Patriots, TD Bank Ballpark. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.