Game 27: Ducks at Skeeters

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It’s a high five for the Ducks! After completing a four-game sweep of the Blue Crabs on Thursday and traveling early in the morning to Texas on Friday, the Ducks didn’t skip a beat in the series opener. John Brownell was magnificent on the mound, the offense got some timely hits and timely miscues from the Skeeters, and the Ducks won their fifth consecutive game 4-0 over Sugar Land. The victory ended an 11-game losing streak at Constellation Field dating back to September 10, 2012.

The story on Friday was Brownell. Long Island’s ace had struggled to this point, allowing four runs or more in each of his previous four outings. Last night was vintage Brownell, as the right-hander tossed 115 pitches, 71 of which were for strikes, and completed seven shutout innings for his second win of the season. He ran into some trouble early, allowing two hits to open both the first and second inning, but he rebounded to keep the Skeeters of the scoreboard both times. The third-year Duck finished with eight hits and two walks allowed and tied a season-high with seven strikeouts. That now gives him 32 on the year, which leads the Atlantic League. He also stranded eight Skeeters runners on base. Following the game, we had a chance to catch up with Brownell:

His backstop, Keith Castillo, had a pretty good day as well. Not only did he call a great game, but he also delivered Long Island’s biggest hit. With two out in the fourth, Randy Ruiz and Adam Bailey both singled to center. That set the stage for Castillo, who ripped a double inside the bag at first to give the Ducks a 2-0 lead against Skeeters starter Matt Wright, who took the less and fell to 1-5. Three innings later, Wright committed an error on a pick-off attempt at first that allowed Dan Lyons to score from third. Fehlandt Lentini would score the final run on a wild pitch from Ramon Delgado, and both Eric Niesen and Leo Rosales would throw a scoreless inning to close out the game.

CLICK HERE for Friday’s game recap, complete with audio game highlights.

Tonight, the Ducks will look to make it six consecutive wins for the first time since July 5 through 13 of 2013. They turn to their best starter up to this point, right-hander Bobby Blevins, who will make his sixth start of the season tonight. He is 2-1 with a 3.93 ERA thus far in 2014 and went a season-long eight innings in Monday’s 5-3 win over the Blue Crabs. Blevins has struck out 27 batters, good for third in the Atlantic League, while walking only seven in 32 innings of work this season. He’ll be opposed by righty Chris Smith, who makes the spot-start after Michael Nix was signed on Friday by the San Diego Padres organization and will report to Triple-A El Paso. Smith has appeared in six games (two starts) and has a 3-0 record with a 1.62 ERA. The former big leaguer’s longest outing was five innings on May 5 at Camden, and he most recently pitched a week ago in Somerset where he threw three scoreless innings as a starter.

Here are tonight’s game notes:

Ducks vs. Skeeters: Tonight marks the second meeting of the season between the Ducks and Skeeters and the second of 10 games between the two at Constellation Field. The Ducks lead the series 1-0. Long Island and Sugar Land have played 41 games against each other all-time, with the Skeeters holding a 26-15 lead in the series and a 16-5 advantage at Constellation Field.

Offensive Machine: Lew Ford extended his on-base streak to 19 consecutive games with two hits on Friday. That’s the longest by a Duck this season and the longest in the Atlantic League in 2014. Ford has also now hit safely in 11 consecutive games, tying him with Cody Puckett for the longest by a Duck and second-longest in the Atlantic League this year. Ford ranks second in the league in batting average (.380), hits (38) and total bases (59), third in on-base percentage (.442) and fourth in RBI (22), runs (22), and slugging percentage (.590).

Cody’s Streak Continues: Cody Puckett has now reached base in 16 consecutive games afterdrawing a walk on Friday. That’s the second-longest on-base streak by a Duck this year behind Ford. Puckett has earned at least one hit in 14 of those 16 games.

Good Things Come in Pairs: Keith Castillo earned his third multi-hit game and fourth multi-RBI game on Friday night with two apiece. The catcher has now totaled nine RBI on the season. Ford picked up his team-leading 11th multi-hit game on Friday with two singles.

Staying Perfect: Friday night’s win improved the Ducks record when scoring the game’s first run to a perfect 7-0 this year. Long Island is the only team in the Atlantic League with an undefeated record when scoring first in a game. In addition, the Ducks remained perfect when leading after six innings by improving to 12-0 in 2014. The Lancaster Barnstormers are the only other undefeated team when leading after six innings this year (15-0).

Pitching Leads the Way: With seven shutout innings on Friday, John Brownell continued a streak of terrific starting pitching by the Ducks. During their five-game winning streak, the starters are a combined 4-0 with a 1.32 ERA. In 34 innings, they’ve allowed just seven runs (five earned) on 31 hits and nine walks with 23 strikeouts. As for the bullpen, they now have a 0.47 ERA during the streak. In 19 innings, they’ve yielded just three hits and two walks while striking out 15.

On the Air: Tonight’s game will be broadcast live on Long Island’s home for news, traffic and weather, 103.9-FM LI News Radio. Live streaming audio will be available online by CLICKING HERE. Michael Polak will call the play-by-play. Fans can also watch live streaming video of the game online via ESPN 3 by CLICKING HERE.

Finally, here are this evening’s starting lineups. Manager Kevin Baez will go with the same exact lineup as last night and the same starting nine for a third consecutive game. Skeeters manager Gary Gaetti, however, has three different players in his lineup:

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

#18 Bobby Blevins – RHP

#41 Adam Godwin – CF
#29 Ryan Langerhans – LF
#5   Chase Lambin – 2B
#16 Travis Scott – DH
#24 Delwyn Young – 1B
#6   Rusty Ryal – 3B
#25 Neil Medchill – RF
#22 Koby Clemens – C
#4   Dominic Ramos – SS

#26 Chris Smith – RHP

We’ll be keeping you updated throughout the course of the game right here, so simply hit the refresh button following the first pitch.

UPDATE (6:10): We are underway at Constellation Field!

UPDATE (6:40): No score after two in Sugar Land. Bobby Blevins works around a leadoff double in the second to keep the Skeeters off the scoreboard.

UDPATE (7:04): Nine straight have been retired by Blevins, but we remain scoreless through four innings. Great pitcher’s duel thus far!

UPDATE (7:32): The Ducks have broken through! Lew Ford breaks the scoreless tie with a two-out RBI single to left in the sixth that scores Fehlandt Lentini. 1-0 Long Island!

UPDATE (7:41): Skeeters scratch across the tying run in the bottom of the sixth on a RBI groundout to second by Ryan Langerhans.

UPDATE (8:00): Long Island re-gains the lead on a RBI single to right off the bat of Adam Bailey! 2-1 Flock at the seventh inning stretch.

UPDATE (8:16): What a job by Blevins! He works out of a bases loaded, no-out jam in the seventh to keep the Ducks on top 2-1!

UPDATE (8:37): The Skeeters are able to tie the game in the eighth as Adam Godwin scores on a groundout to first by Travis Scott. 2-2 the score.

UPDATE (8:57): Ducks strand two on in the top of the ninth, and we remain tied at two going to the bottom of the inning.

UPDATE (9:11): Sugar Land wins the ballgame 3-2 in the ninth on a walk-off hit to center by Ryan Langerhans. Series now tied at one apiece.


Posted on May 24, 2014, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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