Road Trip Recap

Ducks Stretch Road

When the team bus pulled into Bethpage Ballpark early Friday morning, the second road trip for the Ducks this season came to an end. The trip featured consecutive series victories for the first time this year along with some nail-biting finishes that produced a 4-2 record. It also showcased an outburst of offensive production and the continued dominance of the bullpen. After dropping three straight games to the Lancaster Barnstomers to end the first homestand, this was a road trip that, in hindsight, could end up being viewed as an early turning point of the 2014 season.

The road trip began at Clipper Magazine Stadium in Lancaster where the Ducks and the Barnstormers played the back leg of a six-game home-and-home series. Long Island got off to a hot start, scoring seven runs in the first two innings of the series opener. After the Barnstormers rallied from behind and took the lead in the eighth, the Ducks bounced back with three runs in the ninth to take the game 10-8. The Flock followed up the thrilling win with a 5-0, four-hit shutout the next night. The Barnstormers prevented the sweep though with an 8-1 win in the series finale on Mother’s Day.

The Ducks offense showed up big in the Lancaster series. Joash Brodin, who had been held without a home run through the first 12 games of the year, homered on both Friday and Saturday night before adding two more hits Sunday. He totaled five RBI in the series. Both Fehlandt Lentini and Lew Ford also excelled, combining to go 9-for-21 from the plate with four runs, two RBI, four walks and a stolen base in the series.

After an off day on Monday, the road trip continued in Bridgeport with a three-game set against the cross-sound rival Bluefish. The story line of the series in Bridgeport was the Ducks’ “eighth inning magic.” Long Island scored two runs in the eighth inning of each ballgame – all three times either tying the game or giving the Flock the lead. On Tuesday night, a two-run eighth turned a 4-3 deficit into a 5-4 lead and eventual win. Wednesday, Long Island tied things at three in the eighth but eventually fell to Bridgeport 4-3 in 13 innings. In the series finale, the Ducks trailed 3-2 entering the eighth but rallied to take a 4-3 lead in the eighth en route to the win.

Long Island’s offense continued to play well in the Bridgeport series. Cody Puckett highlighted the production with three multi-hit games, extending his hitting streak to eight consecutive games as well as giving him the team lead with eight multi-hit games this year. Ford and Adam Bailey recorded at least one hit in each game, and Bailey also scored at least one run in all three. Sergio Miranda also broke out at the plate with three hits and his first two RBI of the season.

Puckett led the Ducks in hitting over the entirety of the road trip with a .409 batting average (9-for-22) and three RBI. Dan Lyons, Brodin and Ford all batted over .300 on the trip as well, while Brodin added two home runs and five RBI. Brodin, Ford and Bailey scored five runs apiece during the trip. Lentini reached base safely in the first five games to extend his on-base streak to a season-high 12 games before it ended on Thursday. Ford reached safely in each game to extend his on-base streak to 11 consecutive games.

Possibly a larger story than the offense was the continued dominance of the Ducks bullpen. In 23 and one-third innings of relief during the road trip, the bullpen combined to allow just four runs (1.54 ERA) on 11 hits with nine walks and 19 strikeouts. Specifically, Eric Niesen, Brett Lorin and Josh Lansford all continued to pitch well. They tossed 10 and two-thirds innings of scoreless and hitless baseball on the trip and have now combined for 29 scoreless innings this season. In addition, Leo Rosales tossed four and one-third innings of scoreless relief with three saves over the road trip and is now 7-for-7 in save opportunities this year.

Long Island will now look to parlay its success from the road trip into a seven-game homestand at Bethpage Ballpark. With Friday night’s game postponed due to a forecast of inclement weather, the Ducks will play three against the Camden Riversharks over the next two days, including a single admission doubleheader on Saturday. The Flock will then welcome in the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs for a four-game series beginning on Monday for a Liberty Division Championship Series rematch. If the past week is any indication, this next stretch of games at home should offer some quality, exciting baseball!

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Posted on May 16, 2014, in Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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