Game 32: Ducks vs. Patriots

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It was nine months ago Thursday that the Ducks defeated the Somerset Patriots in the 2013 Atlantic League Championship Series. Just three days before that clinching victory, the Ducks made a statement by taking the first two games of the series over the Patriots at Bethpage Ballpark. Against a Somerset team that had won 90 games in the regular season and had swept the 95-win Skeeters in the first round, the two consecutive wins were quite impressive. Even more eye-opening was the fact that the Ducks rallied late in both games against a stout Patriots pitching staff to take the 2-0 series lead.

Tonight, the Patriots make their first visit back to the Duck Pond since last fall as the Ducks host their Liberty Division foes in a three-game series. However, tonight is not as much about the Championship Series rematch as it is about the Ducks making history. Tonight, the team is set to welcome their 6 millionth fan through the gates at Bethpage Ballpark. Long Island will become the first team in the Atlantic League’s 17-year history to achieve the milestone, despite having begun play in the league’s third year of existence. The Patriots and Bridgeport Bluefish both began play prior to the Ducks, yet the Flock will be the first to reach 6 million fans.

Entering Friday’s game, the Ducks sit just 522 fans away from reaching the magical 6 million fan mark. The ballpark gates will open at 6:05 p.m., and if you are hoping to be that lucky 6 millionth fan, tickets are still available. Stop on by the Bethpage Ballpark box office before the gates open to secure your seat for tonight and have the chance to receive a VIP experience at the ballpark. The 6 millionth fan will receive a commemorative jersey, the chance to throw out a ceremonial first pitch, have their name on the scoreboard, take a photo with Bud Harrelson and receive a complimentary luxury suite for the Ducks game against the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs on Fan Appreciation Day, Sunday, September 21.

On the mound for the Ducks tonight is right-hander Shaun Garceau who has continued to throw the ball well of late for the Flock. In seven games (six starts), he is 3-1 with a 6.11 ERA that doesn’t accurately reflect how well he has pitched of late. Check out the game notes below for specific stats, but the second-year Duck is coming off of a complete game shutout in which he allowed just five hits and three walks in Sugar land while striking out six. It was undoubtedly the best start by a Duck this season. Garceau will also be looking to get revenge from a rough first start of the year when he surrendering nine runs on 11 hits in two and one-third innings against Somerset. He’ll be opposed by Patriots veteran Derell McCall who has stumbled out to a 1-1 record with a 7.07 ERA in eight games (one start). His lone start came on May 17 against Sugar Land when he allowed one run on three hits in two innings. In fact, the right-hander has yet to pitch more than three innings in a game this season. McCall has allowed one unearned run on four hits in four innings of relief against the Ducks thus far in 2014.

Here are tonight’s game notes:

Ducks vs. Patriots: Tonight marks the fourth meeting of the season between the Ducks and Patriots and the first of 10 games between the two on Long Island. The Patriots lead the series 2-1. Long Island and Somerset have played 268 games against each other all-time, with the Patriots holding a 136-132 series lead while the Ducks have a 71-65 lead at Bethpage Ballpark. Tonight is the first time the two teams will play at the Duck Pond since Game Two of the 2013 ALPB Championship Series.

On-Base Machines: Lew Ford extended his on-base streak to 24 consecutive games with three hits on Thursday. That’s the longest by a Duck this year and the longest in the Atlantic League in 2014. Ford also has hits in 22 of those 24 games. Cody Puckett has now reached base in 21 consecutive games after collecting two walks on Thursday. He has at least one hit in 18 of those 21 games. Joash Brodin has reached base in 19 straight games after picking up two hits on Thursday. During the streak, he’s batting .324 (23-for-71) and has raised his on-base percentage from .164 to .321.

Homer Party: The Ducks hit two more homers on Thursday, giving them seven in the series at Lancaster. Adam Bailey’s solo home run was his team-leading seventh of the season and second of the series. He also hit a three-run blast on Wednesday night. Joash Brodin’s two-run homer was his fourth longball of the year and third in Lancaster this season. The Ducks have now launched 26 home runs as a team in 2014, which is tied for second-most in the Atlantic League.

The Great Garceau: Tonight’s starter, Shaun Garceau, has been outstanding over his last three starts after a slow start to the season. In his last three outings, the right-hander has a 3-0 record with a 1.17 ERA. In 23 innings during that span, he has allowed just three runs on 14 hits and five walks while striking out 16. Garceau has also thrown 16 consecutive scoreless innings. In his first three starts, the second-year Duck was 0-1 with a 15.09 ERA, allowing 19 runs over 11 and one-third innings.

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 video and audio will also be available online by CLICKING HERE. Marc Schwartz will call the play-by-play.

Finally, here are the starting lineups for the series opener between the Ducks and Patriots:

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
#27 Keith Castillo – C
#12 Dan Lyons – SS

#28 Shaun Garceau – RHP

Patriots
#3   Nate Spears – 2B
#91 Aharon Eggleston – LF
#2   Luis Montanez – RF
#15 Corey Smith – 3B
#32 Robbie Widlansky – DH
#5   Ty Wright – 1B
#21 Adam Donachie – C
#12 Edwin Maysonet – SS
#8   Cory Harrilchak – CF

#33 Derell McCall – RHP

Keep it here for updates all night long from Bethpage Ballpark as the Ducks kick off a seven-game homestand!

UPDATE (6:58): Our 6 millionth fan has passed through the gates and is Ted Nellis from East Northport!

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UPDATE (7:08): We are underway at the Duck Pond tonight!

UPDATE (7:33): No score after two. Ducks have two hits while Shaun Garceau has retired the first six Patriots in order.

UPDATE (7:52): The Ducks strike first in the third inning on a two-out RBI single to right by Cody Puckett! 1-0 Long Island!

UPDATE (8:06): Somerset answers with four in the fourth, capped off by a two-run homer to left from Ty Wright. 4-1 Patriots.

UPDATE (8:13): The Ducks get a run back in the bottom of the fourth on a RBI groundout to second by Adam Bailey!

UPDATE (8:37): Garceau has responded with a pair of scoreless innings after the four-run fourth. Still 4-2 Patriots in the sixth.

UPDATE (9:05): Garceau replaced by Eric Niesen in the eighth. Final line for Garceau: 7.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, 1 HR, 104 pitches, 71 strikes.

UPDATE (9:17): The Patriots grab a run in the eighth on a RBI fielder’s choice off the bat of Aharon Eggleston. 5-2 Somerset.

UPDATE (9:58): IT’S A WADDLE OFF!! The Ducks rally for three in the ninth off Jon Hunton & win it 6-5 on a walk-off single to left-center by Joash Brodin!

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Posted on May 30, 2014, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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