Game 57: Ducks vs Skeeters

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The Long Island Ducks enter tonight’s series finale against the Sugar Land Skeeters a season-high 10 games above .500 thanks to wins in six of their last seven games. Prior to this series, the Flock had taken the first three games of a four-game set over the Camden Riversharks before dropping that series finale 6-5 on Friday. Long Island has once again won the first three games of a four-game series, this time against the Skeeters, to position themselves favorably for the final two-week stretch of the first half of the season. Tonight, the Ducks look to finish off a four-game sweep of the Skeeters for the second time in franchise history. The first came back in 2012, from June 28 to July 1, which clinched the first half title for the Ducks.

Last night, the Ducks strong starting pitching continued against the Skeeters. This time, it was the 2013 Atlantic League Championship Series MVP John Brownell who stole the show. Less than 24 hours after Jared Lansford tossed the fifth Ducks’ complete game of the year, Brownell improved that number to six. The righty went the distance, allowing just two runs on six hits, two walks and eight strikeouts en route to a 3-2 Ducks victory. It took Brownell 111 pitches to toss his team-leading third complete game of the year. In addition, Brownell now leads the league in strikeouts with 65, eight more than teammate Shaun Garceau.

Brownell retired the first 10 batters of the ballgame before a one-out double to Taylor Harbin, followed by a stolen base and a RBI single from Travis Scott gave the Skeeters a 1-0 lead in the fourth. Sugar Land did not lead for long, however, as a two-run single from Keith Castillo and a RBI base hit from Dan Lyons in the bottom of the fourth provided the Ducks with a 3-1 lead. The Skeeters scraped together a run in the top of the seventh inning to trim the deficit, but that was all they would muster.

CLICK HERE to view the recap, listen to the audio highlights and watch postgame comments from Kevin Baez, John Brownell and Keith Castillo.

Tonight, Bobby Blevins looks to continue the trend of strong starting pitching from the Ducks against Skeeters righty Matt Wright. Blevins takes the hill tonight with a 4-1 record, team-best 3.39 ERA and 47 strikeouts to just 14 walks over 66 and one-third innings of work. Blevins has won his last three decisions. In his lone start against the Sugar Land this year, Blevins received a no-decision after allowing one run on four hits over seven innings. His counterpart tonight, Wright, is 4-5 on the year with a 3.58 ERA – tenth best in the Atlantic League. Wright has not lost since his May 23 start against the Ducks; a game in which Wright allowed four runs (three earned) eight hits in six and one-third innings. Since that start, Wright has dropped his ERA from 5.40 to 3.58 over five starts, allowing more than one run in a start just once in that span.

Here are tonight’s game notes:

Ducks vs. Skeeters: Tonight marks the seventh meeting of the season between the Ducks and Skeeters and fourth of 10 games between them on Long Island. The Ducks currently lead the series five games to one. Long Island and Sugar Land have played 46 games against each other all-time, with the Skeeters holding a 27-19 lead. However, the Ducks have a 13-10 lead at Bethpage Ballpark.

Triple Crown Threat: Lew Ford is currently leading the Atlantic League in all three Triple Crown categories. The outfielder and hitting coach has a .376 batting average, which is one point higher than Lancaster’s Blake Gailen. His 11 home runs are tied with Lancaster’s Cole Garner for the league lead, and his 50 RBI are seven better than Garner’s 43. Ford is also leading the league in hits (80), runs (47) and total bases (127) and has reached base safely in 21 of his last 23 games.

Lentini Loves to Hit: With a single in the third inning on Sunday, Fehlandt Lentini extended his hitting streak to 18 consecutive games. That’s the longest hitting streak by a Duck this season. During the streak, Lentini is batting .368 (28-for-76) with six doubles, one homer, 10 RBI and 12 runs. Lentini also stole his Atlantic League leading 24th base in the game and is 24-for-24 in stolen base attempts this year. He is the current league leader in doubles (18) and at-bats (237) and is fifth in batting (.321).

Going the Distance: John Brownell’s complete game on Sunday marked the second straight game in which a Ducks pitcher went the distance. Jared Lansford did so in game two on Saturday. Brownell now leads the Atlantic League with three complete games this year after tossing a league-best seven in 2013. The Ducks now have six complete games as a staff this season. In addition, Brownell finished with eight strikeouts and now leads the league with 65, eight more than teammate Shaun Garceau.

Winning Ways: The Ducks are currently at their high water mark of the season at 10 games over .500 (33-23). The last time the Ducks were 10 games over .500 for their overall record was July 7, 2012 when the team was 39-29. Long Island’s high water mark of 2013 was nine games over .500 when they were 14-5 in the second half of the season on July 24.

On the Air: Tonight’s game will be broadcast live on the Ducks official YouTube channel. Live streaming video and audio will be available by CLICKING HERE. Michael Polak will call the play-by-play.

Finally, here are tonight’s lineups:

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

#18 Bobby Blevins – RHP

#29 Ryan Langerhans – LF
#6    Taylor Harbin – SS
#24 Delwyn Young – 2B
#11  Brian Barton – CF
#16 Travis Scott – C
#5   Chase Lambin – 2B
#21 Nick Stavinoha – 1B
#25 Neil Medchill – RF
#4   Dominic Ramos – 3B

#34 Matt Wright – RHP

Stay tuned here for updates throughout the game as the Ducks look to earn the four-game sweep over the Skeeters!

UPDATE (6:58): No score between the Ducks and the Skeeters through the first inning tonight at Bethpage Ballpark.

UPDATE (7:04): Bobby Blevins has retired the first six batters of the game with three strikeouts! He entered tonight eighth in the league in ERA (3.39)!

UPDATE (7:17): Sugar Land gets back-to-back home runs from Neil Medchill and Dominic Ramos in the third inning to grab a 2-0 lead.

UPDATE (7:35): A two-run home run from Nick Stavinoha in the top of the fourth increases the Skeeters lead to 4-0.

UPDATE (7:42): Ducks get on the board! Joash Brodin with a RBI single in the bottom of the fourth to trim the Skeeters lead to 4-1!

UPDATE (7:51): Ryan Langerhans extends the Skeeters lead back out to four with a solo home run in the fifth. 5-1 Sugar Land.

UPDATE (8:23): Through six innings at Bethpage Ballpark, Sugar Land still leads 5-1 over the Ducks.

UPDATE (8:33): The Skeeters extend their lead to 8-1 in the top of the seventh on a two-run triple from Ryan Langerhans and a sac fly from Taylor Harbin.

UPDATE (8:51): Sugar Land adds three more runs, all unearned in the seventh. Skeeters lead 11-1.

UPDATE (9:01): Cody Puckett with a sacrifice fly in the bottom of the seventh! 11-2 Skeeters.

UPDATE (9:06): Ducks add two more runs! Randy Ruiz with a two-run double and the Flock now trail 11-4 in the seventh!

UPDATE (9:34): Both teams add a run in the eighth inning. Skeeters lead 12-5, heading to the top of the ninth inning.

UPDATE (9:50): Skeeters take the final game of the four-game series 12-5. Ducks are off the next two days before beginning a series at the York Revolution.


Posted on June 23, 2014, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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