Games 19/20: Ducks vs. Riversharks Double Dip

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The rain is gone, the sun is shining, and there is now a giant webbed foot in center field at Bethpage Ballpark. That can only mean one thing: the Ducks are back in town! This evening, Long Island begins its second homestand of the 2014 season after it was delayed by a day due to inclement weather. Before we get into the match-up for today, let’s take a look at some of the roster moves the Ducks made on Friday.

Re-joining the Ducks for his second season on Long Island is right-hander Jon Meloan. The former big leaguer was flat out dominant with Long Island early in 2012, going 4-0 with a 0.99 ERA and 11 saves in 23 games. One key for Meloan was that he walked just eight batters while striking out 36 in 27.1 innings of work. Also impressive was the fact that he allowed a run in just four outings that year and an earned run in three of them. The 29-year-old was signed that year by the Yankees organization but missed all of 2013 after suffering a stress fracture in his elbow. He’ll be joining a dominant bullpen that includes strong late inning relievers such as Josh Lansford, Brett Lorin, Eric Niesen and Leo Rosales.

The Ducks also signed infielder Brendan Harris who has enjoyed a fairly long Major League career. Though he played with six different organizations, the 33-year-old spent eight seasons in the big leagues and appeared in 529 games. That kind of experience can certainly go a long way in helping lead younger players such as Jon Myers, Chris McClendon and Adam Bailey in the clubhouse. Harris’ versatility will also be a big addition, as he has primarily played at third base, second base and shortstop in his career. After starting the year with Albuquerque (AAA, Dodgers), he will look to help the Ducks in their quest to secure a fourth consecutive postseason berth.

With the two additions, two corresponding roster moves were needed. Left-hander Matt Way, who began his third season with Long Island in 2014, was released. The southpaw had been struggling on the mound this year, going 1-1 with a 7.20 ERA through three starts. After suffering an elbow injury at the end of 2013, it appeared as though he just wasn’t fully back to his old dominant self. Righty Brad Holt, who has a 4.90 ERA in four appearances out of the bullpen, was placed on the inactive list. He did not pitch at all during the road trip and has also been dealing with an elbow injury. The former first round draft pick by the Mets did miss all of 2013 with an injury as well.

Now, let’s take a look at today’s matchup. For the first time this year, the Ducks will do battle with the Camden Riversharks. The Liberty Division foes have gotten off to a tough start this season and have not made the playoffs since 2008 when they defeated the Ducks in the first round of the postseason.

Entering the single admission doubleheader, the Ducks continue to hover around the .500 mark this season. Their high water mark is just one game over .500 while their low water mark is just two games under. Long Island will try to ride the momentum from back-to-back series wins on the road against the Freedom Division leading Lancaster Barnstormers and the cross-sound rival Bridgeport Bluefish.

On the other side, the Riversharks also have a bit of momentum on their side. After a dreadful 0-9 start to the season, Camden has gone 5-6 since. Included in that are back-to-back series victories at home against the Bluefish and on the road against the Liberty Division leading Somerset Patriots, which are certainly not easy feats. Their roster also features a pair of former Ducks: right-handed relievers T.J. Hose and Wynn Pelzer. Hose appeared in 38 games with the Flock in 2013, going 2-2 with a 5.31 ERA and one save before he was released. Pelzer pitched in five games with the Ducks in 2012 before he was traded to Bridgeport while the Bluefish were in town for a series at the Duck Pond.

In game one of today’s doubleheader, Fernando Hernandez will get the start for Long Island, his second of the year. He has been very good so far, going 2-0 with a 0.71 ERA in six games. His first start came in game two of a doubleheader at Southern Maryland on May 1. The Miami native tossed four innings of one-run ball, allowing just five hits and a walk while striking out two in a 3-1 win. With Way now out of the mix in the starting rotation, this is the perfect opportunity for Hernandez to grasp hold of the fifth starter spot. He’ll be opposed by Riversharks righty Scott Gorgen who has been roughed up thus far. In his second season with Camden, he has gone 0-2 with a 7.50 ERA in three games (two starts), allowing six runs in each of his last two outings.

Game two will feature the first home start and second start of the year for Jared Lansford. The righty tossed three shutout innings last Saturday at Lancaster, allowing two hits and three walks while striking out five. In 2013, he went 3-0 against the Riversharks but had a 7.15 ERA. Opposing him will be right-hander Dan Blewett, who makes his second start of the year. His first came last Friday at home against Bridgeport when he tossed four innings of two-hit, two-run ball, walking one and striking out five. Prior to this year, the Maryland native has played three seasons of independent baseball but didn’t pitch in 2013.

Here are some game notes for today:

Ducks vs. Riversharks: Today marks the first two meetings of the season between the Ducks and Riversharks and the first two of 10 meetings between the two at Bethpage Ballpark in 2014. Long Island and Camden have played 245 games against each other all-time, with the Riversharks holding a 128-117 advantage in the series and a 63-56 edge in Central Islip. The Ducks won the 2013 season series 11-9 and have won three of the past four season series.

Bullpen Dominance: During the six-game road trip, Ducks relievers posted a 1.54 ERA, two wins and three saves. In 23.1 innings during that span, the relief corps has allowed just four runs on 11 hits, with nine walks to 19 strikeouts. Josh Lansford and Brett Lorin have not allowed a single run this year while Eric Niesen and Steve Garrison have yet to allow an earned run.

Ford’s Fury: Lew Ford extended his on-base streak to 11 consecutive games with a single on Thursday. In those 11 games, the former big leaguer is batting .408 (20-for-49) with three doubles, one homer, eight RBI, 11 runs and four walks. Of those 11 games, six have been multi-hit contests. During the streak, Ford has increased his batting average from .185 to .347, which ranks third in the Atlantic League, and his on-base percentage from .207 to .400, which is good for fifth.

Cody’s Streak Continues: Cody Puckett added two more hits on Thursday to extend his hitting streak to eight consecutive games. That’s the longest hitting streak by a Duck this season. During the streak, he is batting .400 (14-for-35) with one double and five RBI. Five of the eight games have been multi-hit contests, including each of the last three, and Puckett now leads the Flock with eight multi-hit games. He’s also raised his battting average from .237 to .319, which ranks eighth in the league.

Countdown to 6 Million: The Ducks have welcomed an Atlantic League record 5,971,936 fans to Bethpage Ballpark since opening in April of 2000. Long Island is now just 28,064 fans away from reaching the magical 6 million fan mark. This weekend, the Atlantic League will also be welcoming its 30 millionth fan through the gates since the league’s inception in 1998.

On the Air: Today’s doubleheader will be broadcast live on the Ducks official YouTube channel. Live streaming video and audio will be available beginning at 4:50 by CLICKING HERE. The games are also scheduled to be broadcast on Long Island’s home for news, traffic and weather, 103.9-FM LI News Radio. Michael Polak and David Weiss will call all the action.

Finally, here are the lineups for game one of the doubleheader:

#24 Fehlandt Lentini – RF
#25 Brendan Harris – 3B
#20 Lew Ford – CF
#22 Joash Brodin – 1B
#13 Adam Bailey – LF
#33 Ryan Strieby – DH
#2   Cody Puckett – 2B
#23 Brian Peacock – C
#12 Dan Lyons – SS

#29 Fernando Hernandez – RHP

#4   Zack MacPhee – LF
#8   Alex Hudak – CF
#2   Jorge Cortes – RF
#10 Paddy Matera – 3B
#9   Wilson Batista – 2B
#14 Bryan Pounds – 1B
#5   Bobby Stevens – SS
#7   Mike Albaladejo – C
#25 Jan Vazquez – DH

#1   Scott Gorgen – RHP

Keep it right here throughout both games of the twinbill, as we’ll be updating this post frequently. We’ll also post the lineups for game two as soon as they are available. Just a reminder, today’s doubleheader is a single admission twinbill with two seven inning games. There will be about a 30 minute break between the games. Following game two, fans will be treated to a Pyrotecnico Fireworks Extravaganza, presented by Nicolock. Tickets for the doubleheader are still available at the Bethpage Ballpark box office, by calling (631) 940-TIXX or by CLICKING HERE.

UPDATE (5:20): A two-out RBI single from Wilson Batista gives Camden the early lead here in the first inning. 1-0 Riversharks 

UPDATE (5:32): Ducks tie the game in the bottom of the first! An infield single by Adam Bailey, followed by an E4, knots the ballgame at 1-1!

UPDATE (5:42): Camden regains the lead with three runs in the second inning. MacPhee with an RBI single and Cortes with a two-run double. 4-1 Riversharks

UPDATE (6:14): Camden adds a run in the fourth on an RBI single from Jorge Cortes. 5-1 Riversharks.

UPDATE (6:46): Ducks plate three in the fifth to cut the deficit to 5-4!! Two triples, a double and two sacrifice flies highlight the production!

UPDATE (6:50): Dan Lyons and Brendan Harris with doubles in the fifth, Lew Ford with an RBI triple, and sac flies from Fehlandt Lentini and Joash Brodin

UPDATE (7:03): Camden responds with an RBI single from Wilson Batista to increase their lead to 6-4 as we head to the top of the seventh inning.

UPDATE (7:19): Camden retires the final six Ducks batters in order and takes game one of the doubleheader 6-4. Game two to start in approx. 30 minutes.

Here are the lineups for game two of the doubleheader:

#24 Fehlandt Lentini – CF
#2   Cody Puckett – 2B
#20 Lew Ford – DH
#33 Ryan Strieby – 1B
#13 Adam Bailey – LF
#15 Jon Myers – RF
#27 Keith Castillo – C
#5    Chris McClendon – 3B
#12 Dan Lyons – SS

#21 Jared Lansford – RHP

#4   Zack MacPhee – LF
#8   Alex Hudak – CF
#2   Jorge Cortes – RF
#10 Paddy Matera – 3B
#9   Wilson Batista – 2B
#14 Bryan Pounds – 1B
#5   Bobby Stevens – SS
#19 Joel Galarraga – C
#33 Norberto Susini – DH

#13 Dan Blewett – RHP

Keep it right here throughout both games of the twinbill, as we’ll be updating this post frequently.

UPDATE (8:39): We remain scoreless through two innings in game two of tonight’s doubleheader.

UPDATE (8:47): No score in the bottom of the 3rd. Jared Lansford has now tossed a scoreless 1st three innings in each of his 1st two starts this year!

UPDATE (9:28): Camden with a two-out rally in the fourth to plate three runs and take a 3-0 lead.

UPDATE (10:13): Ducks with a three-run fifth to tie the game at 3-3! An E4, followed by consecutive two-out RBI doubles from Puckett and Ford even the score

UPDATE (10:28): Camden regains the lead on an RBI double from Alex Hudak. 4-3 Riversharks, moving to the bottom of the sixth inning.

UPDATE (10:39): BRODIN GOES YARD!!! Joash with his third home run of the year, a pinch-hit three-run shot in the sixth inn., and the Ducks now lead it 6-4!!

UPDATE (10:44): Leo Rosales now comes on for the save in the top of the seventh inning. 

UPDATE (10:50): BALLGAME!! Rosales with a 1-2-3 ninth and the Ducks get the come-from-behind 6-4 win! Fireworks, then recap to follow shortly!


Posted on May 17, 2014, in Game Previews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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