Game 25: Ducks vs. Blue Crabs

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Pitching was once again the focal point of another Ducks victory on Wednesday night. Fernando Hernandez started, Eric Niesen pitched the final inning, and overall, Long Island’s pitching staff limited the Blue Crabs to just two runs and eight hits over 12 innings in a 3-2 win. For Hernandez, the right-hander rebounded nicely from his first rough outing of the year by allowing just two runs on seven hits in seven innings. After walking five in four innings during his previous start, he allowed just one walk on Wednesday. In two starts against the Blue Crabs, Hernandez has been great:

2.45 ERA, 11.0 IP, 12 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 2 BB, 5 K, Two Ducks Victories

The bullpen was splendid as well, tossing five innings of one-hit shutout baseball. The law group of Lorin, Rosales, Accardo and Niesen did not walk a single batter and struck out four. In fact, they faced the minimum 15 batters in that span. Lorin has yet to allow a run this year in 12 and one-third innings of work while Niesen has not yielded an earned run in 13 and one-third innings. Their combined stats this year are:

1-0, 0.00 ERA, 25.2 IP, 13 H, 8 BB, 33 K

Offensively, the Ducks rallied for their 10th come-from-behind win of the season and first waddle-off victory thanks to the efforts of newcomer Jan Vazquez. Leading off the ninth inning against Atlantic League veteran closer Jim Ed Warden, the 23-year-old launched a solo homer to right to tie the ballgame at two. Despite stranding 14 runners on base, the Ducks found a way to pick up their third consecutive win in the 12th inning with three straight hits off Jake Brown. Cody Puckett’s RBI double to center scored Lew Ford to cap another exciting comeback.

CLICK HERE to read a recap from Wednesday’s game, complete with audio highlights and postgame interviews with Puckett, Vazquez and Hernandez.

Tonight will feature a matchup of two right-handers, both of whom wear number 21. Jared Lansford, like Hernandez last night, will try and rebound from a tough outing his last go-round. The third-year Duck gave up three runs on five hits and three walks in three and two-thirds innings against Camden on Saturday night. However, he took a no-decision as the Ducks rallied to a 6-4 win. He’ll be opposed by Ian Marshall, who was roughed up against the Ducks back on May 1 in Southern Maryland. The righty gave up eight runs (four earned) on eight hits and two walks in four innings. Long Island went on to win the game 11-1. Marshall also struggled his last time out on Saturday against Lancaster but is 2-2 with a 3.55 ERA this year.

Here are the game notes for tonight’s homestand finale:

Ducks vs. Blue Crabs: Today marks the sixth meeting of the year between the Ducks and Blue Crabs and the fourth of 10 meetings at Bethpage Ballpark in 2014. The Ducks lead the season series 5-0 and have outscored Southern Maryland 27-7 thus far. Long Island and Southern Maryland have played 122 regular season games against each other all-time, with the Blue Crabs holding a 67-55 advantage in the series. However the series is even 33-33 in Central Islip.

Waddle-off Winners: Wednesday’s waddle-off victory was Long Island’s first of 2014. Last year, the Ducks collected nine walk-off wins during the regular season and one in the playoffs. Tonight was also the Ducks’ 10th come-from-behind win of the year and third when trailing after seven innings.

Offensive Machine: Lew Ford extended his on-base streak to 17 consecutive games on Wednesday. That’s the longest by a Duck and in the Atlantic League this season. Ford has also now hit safely in nine consecutive games after picking up two hits. The fifth-year Duck has a team-leading 10 multi-hit games in 2014. Ford ranks second in the league in batting average (.376), hits (35),  and total bases (56) and third in RBI (22), runs (22), on-base percentage (.438) and slugging percentage (.602).

Streaks Continue: Cody Puckett has now collected at least one hit in 13 of his last 14 games after picking up two hits Wednesday. He has reached base in all 14 of those games, giving him the second-longest on-base streak by a Duck this year behind Ford. Joash Brodin has now reached base safely in 12 consecutive games while Bailey has reached base in 10 of his last 11 games.

Starter Success: Right-hander Fernando Hernandez turned in the Ducks’ third straight quality start with seven innings of two-run baseball on Wednesday. In the past three games, Ducks starters have allowed just five runs in 22 innings (2.05 ERA), giving up 20 hits and four walks while striking out 13.

Countdown to 6 Million: Wednesday’s crowd of 4,055 at Bethpage Ballpark increased the all-time attendance at the Duck Pond to 5,995,334, which is an Atlantic League record. Long Island is now just 4,666 fans away from reaching the magical 6 million fan mark.

Win Milestones: The Ducks are just one win away from earning their 600th regular season home victory in team history. They are also 15 wins away from earning their 1,000th regular season victory.

On the Air: Tonight’s game will be broadcast live on the Ducks official YouTube channel, with live streaming video and audio available by CLICKING HERE. Chris King will call the play-by-play.

Finally, here are tonight’s starting lineups:

#24 Fehlandt Lentini – CF
#2   Cody Puckett – 2B
#20 Lew Ford – DH
#22 Joash Brodin – RF
#50 Randy Ruiz  – 1B
#13 Adam Bailey – LF
#27 Keith Castillo – C
#5   Chris McClendon – 3B
#12 Dan Lyons – SS

#21 Jared Lansford – RHP

Blue Crabs
#20 Jermaine Mitchell – RF
#1   Amadeo Zazueta – SS
#15 Cyle Hankerd – LF
#44 Craig Ziegler – 3B
#2   Jake Opitz – DH
#4   Dave Sappelt – CF
#38 Jose Julio-Ruiz – 1B
#8   Jon Dziomba – 2B
#19 Johnny Bowden – C

#18 Gabriel Hernandez – RHP

We’ll be posting updates throughout the course of the evening, so keep refreshing for updates.

UPDATE (7:18): An RBI double from Puckett in the first, a solo home run from Bailey & an RBI single from Lentini in the second gives the Ducks a 3-0 lead!

 UPDATE (7:50): Ducks add two more runs in the fourth! Adam Bailey with an RBI single and a sac fly from Keith Castillo increases the Ducks lead to 5-0!

UPDATE (8:48): A solo home run from Dave Sappelt brings the Blue Crabs within two. Ducks still lead 5-3, heading to the bottom of the sixth inning!

UPDATE (9:03): Cody Puckett goes deep!! Puckett’s second home run of the season, a two-run shot in the sixth, extends the Ducks lead to four! 7-3 Flock!

UPDATE (9:36): Back-to-back doubles from Adam Bailey and Keith Castillo extend the Ducks lead to five in the bottom of the seventh! 8-3 Flock!

UPDATE (9:56): Heading to the top of the ninth, the Ducks still lead 8-3! They are three outs away from a four-game sweep of Southern Maryland!

UPDATE (10:01): BALLGAME!!! The Ducks earn their 600th regular season home win in franchise history with a 8-3 victory over Southern Maryland! 


Posted on May 22, 2014, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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