Game 31: Ducks at Barnstormers

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A blowout, a rout, an offensive showcase, a homer clinic. Call it whatever you’d like, but Wednesday night’s 19-3 win by the Ducks over the Barnstormers in Lancaster ranks among the best offensive performances in franchise history and is undoubtedly the top performance at the plate of 2014 for the Flock. The team set several season-highs, and every Ducks batter reached base at least once and scored at least one run. Only Joash Brodin failed to get a hit in the game.

There were several key contributors on offense, but leading the way was Randy Ruiz. One of the newest Ducks and a former Major Leaguer, Ruiz came into the game hitting just .250 (7-for-28) and had not yet homered with the Flock. He broke out in a big way, going 4-for-5 and finishing just a triple shy of the cycle to earn Atlantic League Player of the Day honors. Ruiz launched a grand slam to left in the first inning, a solo homer to left-center in the sixth, and finished with five RBI and four runs scored, which was the most by a Duck in a single game this year. If he can continue to hit like he did on Wednesday, Ruiz will be a very dangerous threat in the middle of Long Island’s lineup.

Also having a big night was unsurprisingly Lew Ford. After popping out in his first two at-bats, the fifth-year Duck quickly turned things around with a grand slam to left in the fourth inning. It was his second slam of the year and marked the first time the Ducks hit two grand slams in a game since June 9, 2011. That, coincidentally, also occurred in Lancaster when the Ducks won 25-10 in their highest scoring game in franchise history. Ford followed up the grand slam on Wednesday with a two-run double in the fifth, a double in the seventh and a RBI infield single in the eighth. That gave him seven runs batted in for the game, just one shy of the franchise record of eight which has been accomplished twice. Ray Navarrete did it on June 8, 2008 vs. Newark, and John Rodriguez equaled the feat in that June 9, 2011 game.

We had the chance to catch up with both Ruiz and Ford after the game to get their thoughts on the win:

Among the other big contributors offensively were:

Fehlandt Lentini: 3-for-5, 3 R, 1 BB, 2 SB (now 14-for-14 on steals this year)
Keith Castillo: 2-for-5, HR, 3 RBI, 3 R, BB, SB
Brendan Harris: 3-for-5, 2B, 2 R, BB
Cody Puckett: 2-for-3, RBI, 3 R, 3 BB

Overshadowed on Wednesday was a quality start from John Brownell, who won his second start in a row. The righty battled his way through six innings, throwing five scoreless frames to start the game before surrendering three runs in the sixth. Brownell didn’t have his best control, yielding an uncharacteristic six walks and throwing 126 pitches on the night, but he stranded eight runners on base for a second consecutive outing. Last year’s Championship Series MVP is now back to .500 on the season at 3-3.

CLICK HERE to read the full recap from Wednesday’s big victory and listen to highlights from the offensive showcase.

So, the Ducks are now one win away from earning their fifth consecutive series victory on the road and turn to one of their best starters this season, Bobby Blevins, to try and earn that win tonight. The righty was splendid again his last time out, allowing just one run on four hits and a walk while striking out two in seven innings at Sugar Land on Saturday. He was unfortunately denied his third win when the Skeeters rallied for a walk-off win in the ninth. In his last three starts, Blevins has a 3.00 ERA and has given up just seven runs in 21 innings, walking four while striking out 13 in the process. He’ll be opposed by Cody Scarpetta, who is still looking for his first win of 2014 despite sporting a 3.45 ERA in six starts. The righty has earned more than four runs of support in just two of his starts, but in both, he allowed five runs or more. In his last start on Saturday at York, Scarpetta gave up just one run on one hit and one walk in six innings while striking out seven, but he took a no-decision in Lancaster’s 2-1 loss.

Here are tonight’s game notes:

Ducks vs. Barnstormers: Tonight marks the ninth meeting of the season between the Ducks and Barnstormers and the sixth of 10 games between the two in Lancaster. The Barnstormers currently lead the series 5-3. Long Island and Lancaster have played 182 games against each other all-time, with the Ducks holding a 96-86 series lead and a 51-44 advantage at Clipper Magazine Stadium.

On-Base Machines: Lew Ford extended his on-base streak to 23 consecutive games with four hits on Wednesday. That’s the longest by a Duck this season and the longest in the Atlantic League in 2014. Ford has also earned hits in 21 of those 23 games. Cody Puckett has now reached base in 20 consecutive games after collecting two hits. He has earned at least one hit in 18 of those 20 games. Joash Brodin has reached base in 18 straight games after picking up two walks. During the streak, he’s batting .318 (21-for-66) and has raised his on-base percentage from .164 to .319.

Offensive Showcase: The Ducks set season-highs on Wednesday night for runs (19), hits (20), homers (5) and walks (9) in a single game. The 19 runs were six short of the franchise record of 25, done on June 9, 2011 at Lancaster. The 20 hits were five short of the franchise record of 25, done on August 23, 2004 against the Pennsylvania Road Warriors. The five homers were one shy of the franchise record of six, done on July 31, 2011 against the Road Warriors. The nine walks were five shy of the franchise-record of 14, done last on June 22, 2011 against Camden.

Homer Party: Randy Ruiz’s two homers on Wednesday marked the first multi-homer game for a Duck this year. They were also his first two in a Ducks uniform. Lew Ford’s grand slam was his second slam of the year and sixth home run. He and Adam Bailey are tied for the team-lead in longballs after Bailey hit a three-run blast on Wednesday. Keith Castillo’s two-run shot was his third of 2014.

Pitching Leads the Way: With John Brownell’s quality start on Wednesday, Long Island’s starting pitching continued their recent success. During their last nine games, the starters are 6-1 with a 2.02 ERA. In 62.1 innings, they’ve allowed just 17 runs (14 earned) on 52 hits and 21 walks with 40 strikeouts. Brownell is 2-0 with a 2.08 ERA in his last two starts.

On the Air: Tonight’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.

Finally, here are tonight’s starting lineups:

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

#18 Bobby Blevins – RHP

Barnstormers
#1   Yusuke Kajimoto – 2B
#11 Lance Zawadzki – SS
#2   Blake Gailen – CF
#8   Cole Garner – LF
#35 Austin Gallagher – 1B
#54 Brock Kjeldgaard – DH
#7   Greg Golson – RF
#5   Amos Ramon – 3B
#27 Juan Apodaca – C

#15 Cody Scarpetta – RHP

Keep it here for updates from Clipper Magazine Stadium, which is currently quite cloudy and rainy, throughout the evening as the Ducks and Barnstormers play the rubber game of a three-game set.

UPDATE (7:07): We are underway in Lancaster, Pennsylvania!

UPDATE (7:18): Ducks on the board early courtesy of Joash Brodin’s RBI single to right!

UPDATE (7:27): RBI single for Brendan Harris and a bases loaded hit by pitch on Jan Vazquez increase the lead to 3-0! Ducks batted around in the first.

UPDATE (7:52): Two scoreless innings thus far for Bobby Blevins! He has allowed just a double in the first to Blake Gailen. 3-0 Ducks after two.

UPDATE (8:00): Ducks add a run in the third on a solo homer to right by Adam Bailey! It’s his team-leading seventh of the year and second of the series.

UPDATE (8:16): The homers keep on coming! Brodin hits a two-run blast to right, Long Island’s seventh longball of the series! 6-0 Flock in the fourth.

UPDATE (8:32): Lancaster strikes for three runs in the fourth to cut the Ducks lead in half. It’s now a 6-3 ballgame.

UPDATE (9:00): Back-to-back scoreless innings for Blevins have kept the Ducks in front 6-3 after six innings.

UPDATE (9:26): Barnstormers have closed to within two on four walks in the seventh. Bases loaded, two out, and Jeremy Accardo is on to face Cole Garner.

UPDATE (9:34): A three-run double by Cole Garner and a two-run homer by Austin Gallagher put the Barnstormers up 9-6 after seven.

UPDATE (9:52): A two-out, two-run single to left by Ford in the eighth has brought the Ducks back within one at 9-8!

UPDATE (9:57): Austin Gallagher drops a pop up to first off the bat of Brodin, and Cody Puckett scores from second! We’re tied at nine!

UPDATE (10:10): Barnstormers re-take the lead in the eighth on a two-out, RBI double to center by Yusuke Kajimoto.

UPDATE (10:25): Fehlandt Lentini lines out to Cole Garner with two-on and two-out, and the Barnstormers win the finale 10-9.

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Posted on May 29, 2014, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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