Game 29: Ducks at Skeeters

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Long Island’s first trip to Sugar Land, Texas comes to an end here on Memorial Day, and the Ducks will be looking for another series victory thanks to the terrific effort of Shaun Garceau on Sunday afternoon. Following a tough loss on Saturday where the Skeeters rallied for single runs in the eighth and ninth to end the Ducks’ five-game winning streak, Garceau immediately lifted the spirits of the Flock back up. It marked the righty’s third quality start in a row and easily his best of the season.

It took Garceau 131 pitches, but he went the distance on a complete game shutout of the Skeeters in a 5-0 Ducks victory at Constellation Field. He allowed five hits total on the day, one of which was a pop-up that fell in on the infield and another in which Sergio Miranda made a nice sliding play and his throw to first just slightly pulled Randy Ruiz off the bag. Garceau walked three total, two of which came in the final two innings, and struck out six. He has now thrown 16 consecutive scoreless innings over his last two starts and once again looks like the pitcher who dominated down the stretch for the Ducks in 2013.

We had the chance to catch up with Garceau and his catcher on Sunday, Jan Vazquez, after the game:

Offensively, the Ducks were aided by several Skeeter miscues. Former big leaguer Brandon Wood, who spent five seasons in the Majors with the Angels and Pirates, made two errors at third base that led to three Ducks runs. The first of Long Island’s five runs came on a wild pitch from starter Steve Hammond, who had command issues all day. He ended up walking five in five innings and allowed four runs (three earned) on five hits. The final run of the day for Long Island came off the bat of Lew Ford, who launched the first homer of the series for either side with a solo blast to left-center in the ninth. Ford’s teammates are now calling him “Red” because, in Garceau’s words, “he’s always red hot at the plate.”

CLICK HERE to read a full recap from Sunday’s win, complete with audio game highlights.

Today, the Ducks and Skeeters play a Memorial Day matinee at 2:05 p.m. CDT, though it is currently raining at Constellation Field. The report here is that the weather should pass by game time. Right-hander Fernando Hernandez will get the start for the Ducks as he looks to follow up a strong outing this past Wednesday at the Duck Pond. In seven innings, he allowed just two runs on seven hits and a walk while striking out three, earning a no-decision in Long Island’s 3-2 waddle-off win. Hernandez is 2-1 with a 2.28 ERA in eight games (three starts) this year. He’ll be opposed by former big leaguer David Pauley, who will make his sixth appearance (fifth start) of 2014. Thus far, he is 2-2 with a 2.57 ERA in his second season with Sugar Land. Pauley suffered the loss his last time out, yielding three runs (one earned) on six hits in seven innings on Wednesday against York.

Unfortunately, the Ducks lost one of their key arms on Monday. The team announced that pitcher Leo Rosales has been signed by Leones de Yucatan of the Mexican League. Rosales, who was in his third season with the Ducks, appeared in 13 games this season and posted a 1.35 ERA with nine saves, good for second in the Atlantic League behind York’s Rommie Lewis (11). In 13 and one-third innings, the right-hander allowed just two runs on seven hits and six walks while striking out 12. Entering Monday, the Los Angeles native had gone eight consecutive appearances without allowing a run.

Here are today’s game notes:

Ducks vs. Skeeters: Today marks the fourth meeting of the season between the Ducks and Skeeters and the fourth of 10 games between the two at Constellation Field. The Ducks currently lead the series 2-1. Long Island and Sugar Land have played 42 games against each other all-time, with the Skeeters holding a 27-16 lead in the series and a 17-6 advantage at Constellation Field.

Offensive Machine: Lew Ford extended his on-base streak to 21 consecutive games with a hit and two walks on Sunday. 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 13 consecutive games, which is the longest by a Duck and second-longest in the Atlantic League this year. Ford is tied for the league lead in batting average (.383) and hits (41) and ranks second in on-base percentage (.451), third in RBI (24), total bases (65) and slugging percentage (.607), and fourth in runs (24).

Lew Launches One: Ford’s solo home run to left-center in the ninth inning on Sunday was his fifth longball of the season. That ties him with Adam Bailey for the team lead. The former Major Leaguer earned his 1,100th career minor league hit and 101st career homer. Long Island has now hit 19 home runs as a team in 2014.

Cody’s Streak Continues: Cody Puckett has now reached base in 18 consecutive games after collecting a hit on Saturday. That’s the second-longest on-base streak by a Duck this year behind Ford. Puckett has earned at least one hit in 16 of those 18 games.

Pitching Leads the Way: With a complete game shutout on Sunday, Shaun Garceau continued a streak of terrific starting pitching by the Ducks. During their last seven games, the starters are a combined 5-0 with a 1.08 ERA. In 50 innings, they’ve allowed just eight runs (six earned) on 40 hits and 13 walks with 31 strikeouts. Long Island has now earned four shutouts of opponents this season and have yet to be shut out in a game.

Back to Form: After a slow start to the year, Garceau has turned things around in his last three starts, earning wins in each of them. The righty has allowed just three runs in 23 innings (1.17 ERA) in those three starts and has given up just 14 hits and five walks while striking out 16. In his first three starts, Garceau yielded 19 runs in 11.1 innings (15.09 ERA), 24 hits and five walks with nine strikeouts.

On the Air: Today’s game will be broadcast live on the Ducks official YouTube channel. 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 afternoon’s starting lineups:

Ducks
#24 Fehlandt Lentini – RF
#2   Cody Puckett – 2B
#20 Lew Ford – CF
#22 Joash Brodin – 1B
#50 Randy Ruiz – DH
#13 Adam Bailey – LF
#30 Sergio Miranda – 3B
#23 Jan Vazquez – C
#12 Dan Lyons – SS

#29 Fernando Hernandez – RHP

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

#30 David Pauley – RHP

Keep it here for updates from Constellation Field all afternoon long.

UPDATE (1:20): Seven-time NBA All-Star and Sugar Land Skeeters pitcher Tracy McGrady will be today’s guest on the North Shore LIJ/Southside Hospital pre-game show. Listen to the interview beginning just after 2:50 EDT/1:50 CDT by CLICKING HERE!

UPDATE (1:30): Skeeters just announced in the ballpark that the start time for today’s game has been pushed back to 2:15/2:20. Pre-game show will begin at the normal time. Keep it here for updates.

UPDATE (2:11): The tarp has been taken off the field in Sugar Land, and both teams are heading towards the field. We will start slightly delayed here today.

UPDATE (2:38): We are underway at Constellation Field!

UPDATE (2:46): Ducks strike first for a fifth consecutive game! Joash Brodin’s two-out RBI singles scores Lew Ford and puts the Flock up 1-0 in the first inning.

UPDATE (2:53): Fernando Hernandez works a 1-2-3 bottom of the first, striking out Ryan Langerhans and Chase Lambin in the process.

UPDATE (2:58): We are going to have another delay here in Texas. Severe weather warnings in the area have forced the stoppage. Both teams leaving the field for the time being. Stay tuned for updates.

UPDATE (3:26): Announcement just made that the severe weather warning has been extended. Expecting a longer delay than originally anticipated.

UPDATE (3:58): Play has resumed at Constellation Field!

UPDATE (4:11): Ducks add three in the second! Sergio Miranda scores on an error, and Ford collects a two-out, two-run single!

UPDATE (4:41): Tarp is coming back on the field. Rain delay number three on the day commencing.

UPDATE (5:00): Today’s game has officially been postponed as the skies have opened. Will be made up at a later date. Ducks were up 4-1 in the fourth.

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Posted on May 26, 2014, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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