Game 82: Ducks vs. Bluefish

Fireworks Exterior (7)
The Long Island Ducks wrap up their three-game series tonight against the Bridgeport Bluefish before a Pyrotecnico Fireworks Extravaganza, presented by Uncle Giuseppe’s Marketplace, illuminates Bethpage Ballpark after the game. It will be a fitting way to end a six-game homestand which has seen the Flock drop the first five games. After a four-day breather during the All-Star Break, Long Island was swept by the York Revolution over the weekend before dropping the first two games against the Bluefish. The losing streak for the Ducks has now hit 10 games, which ties the franchise-high set back in 2003. The Flock hope that their luck will turn when they take on a familiar face tonight.

Dontrelle Willis makes his second start of the year tonight for Bridgeport when he takes on his former team. The former big leaguer spent the beginning of his 2013 season with the Ducks, posting a 5-4 record in 14 starts with a 2.56 earned run average en route to an All-Star Game selection. It was his first season in independent baseball, and proved to be short-lived. Willis’s contract was purchased by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim organization in August, and made five appearances for Triple-A Salt Lake.

His start comes tonight on the heels of Bridgeport’s 3-1 victory over Long Island last night. The Bluefish took an early 2-0 lead in the top of the second inning off Ducks starter Mitch Talbot, who was making his first start of the year. A RBI double from Luis Lopez and a RBI infield single from Mike Richard highlighted the damage. Talbot was held on a pitch count, tossing 57 pitches in four innings of two-run ball. Prentice Redman then increased the lead to three in the fifth inning on a RBI single. The Flock posted a run in the seventh on a RBI single from Fehlandt Lentini, but failed to eventually tie the game.

CLICK HERE to view the recap, listen to the highlights and watch postgame comments from Kevin Baez and Brandon Bantz.

Tonight, the Ducks send John Brownell to the hill for his league-leading 18th start of the year. The righty enters the ballgame tied with Lancaster’s Chris Schwinden for the league lead in wins (9), while also leading the league in innings pitched (115.1), complete games (4) and shutouts (2). In addition, the 2013 Atlantic League Championship Series MVP is tied with Southern Maryland’s Gabby Hernandez for second in the league in strikeouts (83). Brownell has tossed four straight quality starts, and is 3-0 in three starts against the Bluefish this season, yielding six runs over 22 innings (2.45 ERA).

For Bridgeport, Willis has made one start this year. In his July 18th start against the Somerset Patriots, the southpaw allowed four runs on five hits and one walk while striking out five over five innings in a losing effort.

Here are tonight’s game notes:

Ducks vs. Bluefish: Tonight marks the 13th meeting of the season between the Ducks and Bluefish and final of 10 games between the two on Long Island. The season series is tied at six. Long Island and Bridgeport have played 277 games against each other all-time, with the Bluefish holding a slim 140-137 advantage. However, the Ducks lead 79-64 at Bethpage Ballpark. Both teams have played for
the Ferry Cup since 2009, with the Ducks winning it in three of its five seasons (2009, 2011, 2013).

Fehlandt’s on Fire: Fehlandt Lentini earned two more hits on Tuesday and has now hit safely 42 of his last 43 games, including 21 straight, which ties the longest hit streak by a Duck this season. He also had a 21-game hitting streak from June 6 to 27. In the 43 games, Lentini is batting .346 (65-for-188), and in his current 21-game hitting streak, he’s hitting .316 (30-for-95). The first-year Duck leads the Atlantic League in hits (113), doubles (27), stolen bases (34) and at-bats (349) while ranking third in runs (56) and fourth in batting average (.324).

On-Base Machine: Lew Ford picked up two hits on Tuesday and has now reached base in nine consecutive games and 17 of his last 18 contests. The former big leaguer has multiple hits in nine of those games and leads Long Island with 33 multi-hit games this year. The 2014 All-Star leads the Atlantic League in hits (113) and games played (81) while ranking second in batting average (.360), RBI (60), runs (60), total bases (169), on-base percentage (.431) and slugging percentage (.538).

Walk This Way: Brendan Harris drew two walks to extend his on-base streak to 15 consecutive games. During the streak, the former big leaguer is hitting .304 (14-for-46). The former big leaguer has now drawn a walk in six consecutive games, earning nine walks in that span, and is now tied with Ford for the team-lead in walks this year with 34.

Bantz Bashes the Ball: Brandon Bantz earned his first three-hit game of the year with three singles on Tuesday. He now has two multi-hit games and a hit in five of his seven games thus far with the Ducks.

Bullpen Dominance: The Ducks bullpen was outstanding on Tuesday in relief of starter Mitch Talbot. Josh Lansford, David Kopp, Eric Niesen, Brett Lorin and Jeremy Accardo combined to toss five innings of one-run ball, allowing just two hits and one walk while striking out four. Ducks pitchers retired the final 13 Bluefish batters in the game. Niesen has allowed just one run in his last 17 games (19 innings).

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

Finally, here are tonight’s starting lineups:

#24 Fehlandt Lentini – CF
#2   Cody Puckett – 2B
#20 Lew Ford – DH
#13 Adam Bailey – RF
#25 Brendan Harris – SS
#6   Bill Hall – LF
#22 Joash Brodin – 1B
#14  Brandon Bantz – C
#30 Sergio Miranda – SS

#7   John Brownell – RHP

#7   James Simmons – CF
#27 Prentice Redman – RF
#15 Ramon Castro – 3B
#17 Casper Wells – LF
#19 Luis Lopez – DH
#9   Luis Rodriguez – C
#5   Juan Martinez – 2B
#34 Austin Gallagher – 1B
#2   Mike Richard – SS

#24 Dontrelle Willis – LHP

Stay tuned here for updates throughout the game as the Ducks look to take the lead in the 2014 Ferry Cup series!

UPDATE (7:20): TOP 1: A sac fly from Luis Lopez and a RBI single from Luis Rodriguez gives Bridgeport a 2-0 lead

UPDATE (7:47): TOP 2: Ducks are on the board! An RBI double from Bill Hall off the wall in right-center field trims the deficit in half! 2-1 ‘Fish

UPDATE (8:26): TOP 5: Bridgeport extends its lead to 3-1 on a James Simmons solo home run.

UPDATE (9:23): TOP 7: Bridgeport puts eight runs on the board, topped off by a three-run homer from Juan Martinez, to take an 11-1 lead.

UPDATE (10:13): FINAL: The Ducks fall to the Bluefish 11-3, and now hit the road for a 10 game road trip. Recap to follow shortly.


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

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