Game 16: Ducks at Bluefish
After a deserved day off Monday, the Ducks hit the road for the second leg of their six-game road trip. The Flock will travel across the Long Island Sound Tuesday to play the first of a three-game series against the Bridgeport Bluefish. It will represent the first installment of the 2014 Ferry Cup Series, presented by The Bridgeport and Port Jefferson Steamboat Company. Last year, the Ducks took the cup home with a 12-8 record against the Bluefish. Overall in the Cup’s five-year history, Long Island holds a 3-2 advantage. The Ducks will to become the first team to win the Cup in consecutive years this season.
Over the weekend, the Ducks completed the back-end of a home-and-home series with the Lancaster Barnstormers. After Lancaster took the first three games at Bethpage Ballpark, Long Island turned the tide when the series switched back to Pennsylvania. A seven-run outburst in the first two innings Friday night, capped off by three runs in the ninth, highlighted a thrilling 10-8 victory for the Flock. Saturday night, six different pitchers combined to throw a four-hit shutout against the Barnstormers in a 5-0 win – the first shutout thrown by the Ducks this year.
Lancaster bounced back on Sunday with an 8-1 victory. Similar to the Ducks Friday night, the Barnstormers jumped out to a 7-0 lead after two innings, highlighted by home runs from Cole Garner and Blake Gailen. Long Island had mounted strong comebacks against Lancaster earlier in the series, but on Sunday, Lancaster starter Chris Schwinden held the Flock in check. Schwinden went seven innings, allowing one run on five hits with no walks. The Ducks lone run came on a RBI single from Jon Myers in the fourth inning – his first RBI of the year.
CLICK HERE to read a full recap and listen to the audio highlights from Sunday’s game.
The Ducks enter the series with Bridgeport in third place in the Liberty Division with a 7-8 record. Bridgeport currently sits in second with a 9-7 record, while the Somerset Patriots, riding a five-game winning streak, are atop the standings with an 11-5 mark.
Tuesday night, the Ducks will send their ace, John Brownell, on the mound against the Bluefish. Through three starts this season, the righty is 0-2 with a 5.50 ERA, 14 strikeouts and just two walks over 18 inning of work. Last season, Brownell was 3-1 in four starts against the Bluefish with a 1.55 ERA, including a complete game effort July 27, where he allowed just one unearned run on three hits with one walk and eight strikeouts. He’ll work against Bluefish starter and former major leaguer Tomo Ohka, who has been lights out so far this year. Through two starts, Ohka is 2-0 with a league-leading 0.69 ERA. That includes a complete game, three hit shutout against the York Revolution his last time out.
Here are tonight’s game notes:
Ducks vs. Bluefish: Tonight marks the first meeting of the season between the Ducks and Bluefish and the first of 10 meetings between the two at The Ballpark at Harbor Yard in 2014. Long Island and Bridgeport have played 265 games against each other all-time, with the Bluefish holding a slim 134-131 advantage in the series and a 75-56 edge in Bridgeport. Both teams have played for the Ferry Cup since 2009, and the Ducks have won it in three of its five seasons (2009, 2011, 2013).
Bullpen Dominance: The Ducks bullpen was outstanding in Lancaster this past weekend. In the three games, Ducks relievers combined for a 2-0 record with a 2.08 ERA. In 13 innings of work combined, the relief corps allowed just three runs on seven hits, walked five batters and struck out 14. In contrast, the Barnstormers bullpen compiled a 5.40 ERA, allowing six runs in 10 innings.
High Five for Fehlandt: With a single on Sunday, Fehlandt Lentini extended his on-base streak to 10 consecutive games. That’s the longest on-base streak by a Duck this season and is tied for the fourth longest streak in the Atlantic League this season. During the streak, he is batting .381 (16-for-42) with five doubles, nine RBI, four runs and four walks. In that span, he has also raised his batting average from .200 to .323, good for 10th in the Atlantic League, and his on-base percentage from .273 to .377.
Ford’s Fury: Despite losing his hitting streak on Sunday, Lew Ford extended his on-base streak to eight consecutive games when he was hit by a pitch. In those eight games, the former big leaguer is batting .516 (16-for-31) with three doubles, one homer, seven RBI, nine runs and four walks. During the streak, Ford has increased his batting average from .185 to .362, which ranks fourth in the Atlantic League, and his on-base percentage from .207 to .415, which is good for fourth as well.
Maintaining the Lead: Thus far, the Ducks are one of only two teams in the Atlantic League this season who are undefeated when leading after six innings and when scoring the game’s first run. The Ducks are 7-0 when they hold a lead after six innings and 3-0 when scoring first. Lancaster is the only other team that is perfect in both situations (9-0 and 9-0), respectively.
Brodin is Back: After being held without a home run through his first 12 games of the year, Joash Brodin has now hit home runs in consecutive nights. A two-run homer Friday night, along with a three-run shot Saturday night, has now given Brodin two home runs and eight RBI on the season. Brodin added two more hits on Sunday to stay hot.
Other Streaks Continue: Cody Puckett has picked up hits in five straight games and in seven of his last eight, raising his average from .174 to .291 in the process.
Countdown to 6 Million: Thursday’s crowd of 3,897 at Bethpage Ballpark increased the all-time attendance at the Duck Pond to 5,971,936. Long Island is now just 28,064 fans away from reaching the magical 6 million fan mark. Upon doing so, the Ducks will have achieved the milestone faster than any other professional sports team with a ballpark the size of Bethpage Ballpark (capacity 6,002).
On the Air: Today’s game will be broadcast on the Ducks official YouTube channel, Youtube.com/DucksBaseball. The game can be heard online by CLICKING HERE. Marc Schwartz will call the play-by-play.
Finally, here are tonight’s lineups:
#24 Fehlandt Lentini – RF
#5 Chris McClendon – 3B
#20 Lew Ford – CF
#22 Joash Brodin – 1B
#13 Adam Bailey – LF
#2 Cody Puckett – 2B
#15 Jon Myers – DH
#23 Brian Peacock – C
#12 Dan Lyons – SS
#7 John Brownell – RHP
#7 James Simmons – CF
#11 Sean Burroughs – 3B
#15 Brandon Boggs – LF
#27 Prentice Redman – RF
#33 Ramon Castro – 2B
#19 Luis Lopez – DH
#22 Cody Overbeck – 1B
#9 Luis Rodriguez – C
#5 Juan Martinez – SS
#16 Tomo Ohka – RHP
We’ll be updating this post throughout the night from The Ballpark at Harbor Yard, so be sure to refresh often.
UPDATE (7:21): Bridgeport take an early 2-0 lead with a pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the first.
UPDATE (7:34): Ducks respond with two runs off Tomo Ohka in the second, highlighted by a RBI single from Cody Puckett!
UPDATE (7:43): A two-run home run from Cody Overbeck gives Bridgeport a 4-2 lead at the end of two innings.
UPDATE (8:19): Through four innings, Bridgeport still leads on top 4-2.
UPDATE (8:29): Lew Ford with a RBI base hit, his 14th run batted in this year, to bring the Flock within one in the fifth. 4-3 Bluefish
UPDATE (9:10): The Flock strand the bases loaded in the top of the seventh. Bridgeport still leads 4-3
UPDATE (9:28): Ducks grab the lead!!! A double, infield single, throwing error, and sacrifice fly has give the Flock a 5-4 lead, heading to bot. 8
UPDATE (9:49): Leo Rosales comes on for the Flock, looking for his sixth save of the year. Long Island leads Bridgeort 5-4, heading to bottom of the ninth
UPDATE (9:54): Ballgame!! Rosales works a 1-2-3 inning and the Ducks win it 5-4. Long Island improves to 7-7 with the win!