Game 33: Ducks vs. Patriots

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The Ducks put on their rally caps again on Friday night, and on the night when they welcomed their 6 millionth fan through the gates, they gave the “Faithful Flock” another exciting comeback effort. Trailing 5-2 going into the bottom of the eighth, the Ducks scored four runs, including three in the ninth, to win it 6-5 in waddle-off fashion and take the first game of a crucial three-game set against the Somerset Patriots. On a night where it seemed like the Patriots pitching would silence the Ducks offense enough to earn a win, Long Island found a way to break through against former Duck Jon Hunton and pull within two games of the Pats in the standings, including one in the loss column.

Kevin Baez pushed the right button on Friday night in that ninth inning rally when he sent Sergio Miranda to the plate as a pinch hitter for Dan Lyons. Lyons had been 0-for-3 to that point, and Miranda being a switch hitter allowed Baez to send up a lefty swinger against Hunton. Miranda worked an outstanding at-bat, fouling off five pitches before knocking the seventh pitch of the at-bat into right-center field for a two-run double that scored Adam Bailey and pinch runner Chris McClendon. Credit Bailey and Keith Castillo for picking up one-out singles off of Hunton as well, but Miranda’s hit was a huge lift from a guy who hasn’t received a ton of playing time and has battled injuries.

Brodin became the ultimate hero when he made the Patriots pay for intentionally walking Lew Ford. Following the free pass, Brodin lined a walk-off single to left-center field, scoring Miranda from third to give the Ducks an improbable 6-5 win. There was no surprise that Ford, who was batting .392 on the season, was given the intentional walk. However, it allowed the Ducks to have someone who can bat from the left side face Hunton rather than a righty. Brodin has been hitting .262 against righties, compared to .205 against lefties, and his hit was a major lift for a Ducks team that had lost a game they probably should have won the night before in Lancaster.

Overshadowed was another solid start from Shaun Garceau. Aside from the four-run fourth inning where he pitched through a light rainfall at the Duck Pond, he was outstanding on the mound. In his other six innings, Garceau allowed just one base runner, a walk to Corey Smith in the sixth inning. He retired the first nine he faced and set down 10 of the last 11 in his start. Though he suffered a no-decision, he continued to pitch like the guy who impressed so many in the stretch run of 2013.

CLICK HERE to read the recap from last night’s win, complete with audio game highlights and postgame comments from Baez and Brodin.

Tonight, former Patriot Fernando Hernandez faces his former team for the first time as a starter. He pitched three scoreless innings at Somerset on Opening Night, allowing just one hit and one walk while striking out one. In eight games (three starts), Hernandez has gone 2-1 with a 2.28 ERA. The right-hander threw three innings of one-run ball on Monday in Sugar Land before his game was rained out against the Skeeters. In his last official outing, he allowed just two runs on seven hits and one walks while striking out three, earning a no-decision in a 3-2 win over the Blue Crabs on May 21. Hernandez will be opposed by Gary Moran, who faces the Ducks for the first time this season. In five games (four starts), the righty is 1-2 with a 5.76 ERA, allowing 33 hits in 25 innings. However, his last time out, Moran threw a complete game victory against Southern Maryland on May 26. In nine innings, he surrendered just one run on five hits and one walk while striking out five.

Here are today’s game notes:

Ducks vs. Patriots: Tonight marks the fifth meeting of the season between the Ducks and Patriots and the second of 10 games between the two on Long Island. The series is currently tied at two. Long Island and Somerset have played 269 games against each other all-time, with the Patriots holding a 136-133 series lead while the Ducks have a 72-65 lead at Bethpage Ballpark. Long Island’s last five wins over the Patriots at the Duck Pond (playoffs included) have been come-from-behind victories.

Cardiac Quacks Strike Again: The Ducks earned their second waddle-off win of the season Friday night thanks to Joash Brodin’s game-ending single in the bottom of the ninth inning. Long Island’s first walk-off victory came on May 21 against Southern Maryland. The three-run come-from-behind win tied Long Island’s largest comeback of the season, which was previously done  on May 17 in game two of a doubleheader against Camden.

On-Base Machines: Lew Ford extended his on-base streak to 25 consecutive games with a hit on Friday. That’s the longest by a Duck this year and the longest in the Atlantic League in 2014. Ford also has hits in 23 of those 25 games. Cody Puckett has now reached base in 22 consecutive games after collecting three hits on Friday. He has at least one hit in 19 of those 22 games. Joash Brodin has reached base in 20 straight games after picking up the walk-off hit on Friday. During the streak, he’s batting .316 (24-for-76) and has raised his on-base percentage from .164 to .317.

The Great Garceau: Despite earning a no-decision on Friday, Shaun Garceau continued his solid pitching of late with seven innings of four-run ball. In his last four starts, the right-hander is 3-0 with a 2.10 ERA, having allowed seven runs in 30 innings of work. In that span, he has given up just 18 hits and six walks while striking out 21. Comparitively, he was 0-1 with a 15.09 ERA in his first three starts.

Milestone Achieved: On Friday, the Ducks became the first team in the Atlantic League’s 17-year history to welcome 6 million fans through the gates, despite having begun play in the league’s third year of existence (2000). Ted Nellis of East Northport, N.Y. was the lucky 6 millionth fan and received a host of prizes from the Ducks. Long Island has led the Atlantic League in attendance 12 times.

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 tonight’s starting lineups for the middle game of the three-game set:

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
#30 Sergio Miranda – SS

#29 Fernando Hernandez – RHP

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

#38 Gary Moran – RHP

Keep it here for updates all night long from Bethpage Ballpark as the Ducks look to make it three consecutive victories over the Patriots dating back to April 27.

UPDATE (7:09): We are underway at Bethpage Ballpark, as Fernando Hernandez deals to Nate Spears!

UPDATE (7:31): Fernando Hernandez strikes out Edwin Maysonet with a nasty breaking ball to leave the bases loaded in the second inning!

UPDATE (7:54): Still scoreless after three at the Duck Pond. Good pitcher’s duel so far between Hernandez and Moran.

UPDATE (8:13): Three runs in the fourth on a sac fly by Ty Wright, a bad-hop single by Edwin Maysonet and a RBI single by Nate Spears put the Pats on top.

UPDATE (8:49): Nice job by Hernandez to work out of a first-and-third, one-out jam in the sixth to keep Somerset off the board! Still 3-0 Patriots.

UPDATE (8:56): Casey Barnes replaces Hernandez for the seventh. Final line for Hernandez: 6.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 5 K, 105 pitches, 62 strikes.

UPDATE (9:16): Somerset doubles the lead to six with three in the seventh on a RBI double by Robbie Widlansky and a two-run single by Eddy Martinez-Esteve.

UPDATE (9:38): Pats add another in the eighth on a two-out RBI single by Corey Smith. Former Duck Daniel Herrera now in the game for Moran.

UPDATE (10:04): Patriots claim the middle game of the series 8-0.

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Posted on May 31, 2014, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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