Game 3: Ducks at Patriots

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The sun is out this morning in central New Jersey as the Ducks look to avoid a season-opening sweep at the hands of the Somerset Patriots. After last night’s game featured on-and-off rain throughout, AccuWeather.com’s forecast for today shows a 0% chance of precipitation throughout. Temperatures will be cool though, sitting in the upper-50’s to lower-60’s during the game.

In looking for their first win of the year, the Ducks give the ball to right-hander Bobby Blevins. The third-year Duck has been great over the past two seasons when joining the Flock late. He posted a 2.42 ERA in six games (four starts) at the end of the 2012 regular season and a 3.75 ERA in two starts during the postseason, helping the Ducks to wins in Game Five of both playoff rounds. Last year, he made just two starts at the end of the regular season and went 1-1 with a 4.84 ERA. He only started once in the playoffs, Game Four of the Atlantic League Championship Series against Somerset, but was magnificent. Here’s his line from that game, which took place just one day short of seven months ago:

ND, 8.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 0 BB, 4 K, 98 pitches, 72 strikes

On the other side will be left-hander Zach Kroenke, the second lefty Long Island has seen in as many days. The former big leaguer spent parts of two seasons with the Arizona Diamondbacks and was 1-1 with a 7.59 ERA in seven games (one start). Kroenke, a former fifth round draft pick by the Yankees, played with Nashville (AAA, Brewers) in 2013 and posted a 5-16 record with a 4.51 ERA in 32 games (19 starts). This will be his first experience in independent baseball.

Here are some notes for today’s game:

Head-to-Head: Today marks the third meeting of the season between the Ducks and Patriots and the third of 10 meetings at TD Bank Ballpark in 2014. Today is also the 268th all-time meeting between the two teams in regular season play, marking the most times Long Island has played any Atlantic League opponent. The Patriots lead the all-time series 136-131 and hold a 71-60 advantage at TD Bank Ballpark.

Oh What a Relief They Are: The Ducks bullpen has been outstanding over the first two games of the season. Ducks relievers have combined to allow just one run over 14.1 innings, good for a 0.63 ERA. In that span, the relievers have also allowed just 12 hits and four walks while striking out five.

Multi-RBI Night: First baseman Ryan Strieby became the first Duck to pick up a multi-RBI game this year with two runs batted in on Saturday night. In 2013, Strieby drove in multiple runs in five games, picking up two RBI in each contest. The second-year Duck leads the Ducks with three RBI so far this season.

On the Air: Today’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. The pre-game show will begin just after 12:50.

Jon Myers and Sergio Miranda will be making their first start as a Duck this afternoon: Here is Long Island’s starting lineup:

#22 Joash Brodin – LF
#5   Chris McClendon – 3B
#24 Fehlandt Lentini – CF
#20 Lew Ford – DH
#33 Ryan Strieby – 1B
#15 Jon Myers – RF
#2    Cody Puckett – 2B
#27 Keith Castillo – C
#30 Sergio Miranda – SS

#18 Bobby Blevins – RHP

Somerset put out a starting lineup, but it sounds as though there might be a change. We’ll update here once their official lineup is posted. There’s no batting practice today, as is normally the case before Sunday or day games. We’ll be updating this post throughout the game as always, so be sure to keep it here and refresh often for updates.

UPDATE (11:50): The Patriots have announced their lineup. Dennis Raben, who was originally hitting cleanup and playing first base, has been scratched. No word as to why just yet. Here is their new lineup:

#6   Jonny Tucker – CF
#3   Nate Spears – 2B
#2   Luis Montanez – DH
#5   Ty Wright – RF
#15 Corey Smith – 3B
#32 Robbie Widlansky – 1B
#37 Damaso Espino – C
#12 Edwin Maysonet – SS
#91 Aharon Eggleston – LF

#40 Zach Kroenke – LHP

UPDATE (1:05): The Ducks and Patriots are both ready to go. Long Island is wearing their alternate orange jerseys, and Somerset is in their home whites. The series finale is underway at TD Bank Ballpark!

UPDATE (1:24): A throwing error by Keith Castillo on a snap throw to first and a fielding error by Chris McClendon at third allows the Patriots to score a run in the bottom of the first. They lead 1-0

UPDATE (1:40): Tough luck for the Ducks in the second. Ford, Strieby and Myers all hit the ball hard, but the Patriots were able to convert all into outs. Blevins responds by retiring the Pats in order in the second as well.

UPDATE (1:48): The Ducks have tied the ballgame at one! Cody Puckett & Sergio Miranda each pick up singles, & Joash Brodin plates Puckett with a sac fly.

UPDATE (2:07): The Ducks add another on a sac fly, this time off the bat of Ryan Strieby. His team-leading fourth RBI of the year puts the Flock up 2-1 in the fourth.

UPDATE (2:13): Third consecutive 1-2-3 inning for Bobby Blevins who has now retired 10 straight Patriots batters.

UPDATE (2:22): Another run comes across in the fifth on doubles by Keith Castillo and Joash Brodin. 3-1 Ducks lead in the fifth!

UPDATE (2:29): The side is retired in order again by Blevins in the fifth. Derell McCall has now replaced Zach Kroenke for the Patriots in the sixth.

UPDATE (2:42): Three-up, three-down again for Blevins in the sixth inning! Now 16 consecutive Patriots batters retired by the righty.

UPDATE (2:54): A bloop single to right by Brodin and a throwing error by Ty Wright lead to another Ducks run in the seventh. 4-1 LI as we hit the seventh inning stretch!

UPDATE (3:09): Blevins hits the first two batters of the seventh, and is lifted by manager Kevin Baez for Jeremy Accardo. The former big leaguer allows a RBI double by Robbie Widlansky and a run-scoring groundout from Damaso Espino, but keeps the Ducks in front by one at 4-3.

UPDATE (3:27): The Ducks get those two runs right back! After Ford and Strieby draw walks, Puckett delivers a two-out, two-run single to center off Mike Solbach. Long Island leads 6-3 in the eighth!

UPDATE (3:52): Leo Rosales works a scoreless ninth inning, and the Ducks get their first win of 2014 with a 6-3 triumph over the Patriots! Recap coming up on LIDucks.com

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Posted on April 27, 2014, in Game Previews and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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