Game 88: Ducks at Bluefish
Sunday featured a little bit of everything for the Ducks in a day/night doubleheader against the cross-sound rival Bluefish in Bridgeport. After the Ducks took the series finale in Camden with a big offensive performance, they broke out the bats again in Sunday’s opener, pounding out 12 runs and 10 hits in a 12-3 blowout victory. However, in game two, the bats were silenced by the Bluefish pitching staff, as Long Island managed just two runs in a heartbreaking extra inning defeat.
The twinbill opener was exactly what the Ducks have been looking for of late. The Ducks got three consecutive multi-run innings, scoring five in the fourth, four in the fifth and three in the sixth. 10 of the 12 runs in the victory also came via the longball, as the Ducks hit for the rare home run cycle. Brandon Bantz, Cody Puckett, Dan Lyons and Bill Hall all went deep, in that order, to help fuel an offense that had struggled to hit homers until this road trip. The Ducks also got a strong start from Mitch Talbot, as the righty tossed five innings of three-run ball to earn his first win since moving to the starting rotation.
Game two was the exact opposite for the Ducks offense, though it didn’t start that way. Puckett led off the game with a solo homer, and Bantz launched one just one inning later. Bob Zimmermann was in control throughout, allowing just one run on five hits over six innings. Most importantly, he did not walk a single batter. However, the Ducks struggled with situation hitting, leaving nine runners between the third and eighth innings. After failing to extend a 2-1 lead, Bridgeport tied the score on the first pitch of the eighth when Prentice Redman launched a solo homer off of Eric Niesen. Both bullpens turned in strong efforts after that point, and the Ducks offense managed just one hit over the final five innings. The Bluefish relief corps retired 18 of the final 19 Ducks batters, setting the stage for Juan Martinez’s walk-off single in the bottom of the 13th.
After playing night games on Saturday, traveling overnight to get to Bridgeport and having to get to the field for a 1:00 game on Sunday, neither side was fully rested. However, they both battled through 20 innings of baseball and got some much needed rest before they return to the field on Monday.
CLICK HERE to read a full recap from Sunday’s doubleheader, complete with audio highlights of all six Ducks home runs.
The Ferry Cup Series continues on Monday night in Bridgeport, with the Ducks looking to move to .500 on the road trip. They turn to their ace in right-hander John Brownell, who is looking to rebound from a tough outing his last time around. On Wednesday against the Bluefish, he gave up nine hits and eight runs (five earned) over six and two-thirds innings in an 11-3 loss. It broke a string of four consecutive quality starts for Brownell, who is 9-6 with a 4.05 ERA this year. Brownell is 3-1 with a 3.45 ERA and two complete games this year against the Bluefish.
Bridgeport will counter with left-hander and former Duck Dontrelle Willis. The 2003 National League Rookie of the Year was scheduled to oppose Brownell on July 23, but was scratched just before game time with some back tightness. Willis took the loss in his only start with the Bluefish, yielding four runs on five hits and a walk while striking out five as the Bluefish fell to the Patriots 6-1. The nine-year Major League veteran made 14 starts with the Ducks last year, going 5-4 with a 2.56 ERA before being signed by the Los Angeles Angels organization. He began the year with the Fresno Grizzlies (AAA, Giants).
Here are tonight’s game notes:
Ducks vs. Bluefish: Tonight marks the 16th meeting of the season between the Ducks and Bluefish and sixth of 10 games between the two on Long Island. The Bluefish lead the series eight to seven. Long Island and Bridgeport have played 280 games against each other all-time, with the Bluefish holding a slim 142-138 advantage and a 77-59 lead in Bridgeport. Both teams have played for the Ferry Cup since 2009, with the Ducks winning it in three of its five seasons (2009, 2011, 2013).
On-Base Machine: Brendan Harris reached base safely in both games of Sunday’s doubleheader and has now reached base safely in 21 consecutive games, including six straight with a hit. That’s the second-longest active streak in the Atlantic League (24, Jermaine Mitchell, Blue Crabs). During the streak, Harris is batting .329 (23-for-70) with two doubles, one homer, 10 RBI, 13 runs and 20 walks. The former big leaguer has earned a walk in 10 of his last 12 games and leads Long Island with 39 in 2014.
Home Run Cycle: The Ducks combined as a team to hit for the Home Run Cycle in game one of Sunday’s doubleheader. Dan Lyons had a solo homer, Bill Hall hit a two-run homer, Brandon Bantz launched a three-run homer and Cody Puckett connected for a grand slam. The last time a Major League team hit for a Home Run Cycle was on June 27, 2012 when the New York Mets did it on the road against the Chicago Cubs. The only player ever to hit for the Homer Cycle in a professional game was Tyrone Horne, who did so exactly 16 years earlier for the Double-A Arkansas Travelers.
More Homer Notes: As a team, the Ducks combined to launch six home runs on Sunday. Long Island has now homered in five of their last six games after going six games without a homer. The Ducks had also hit just one home run in 10 games before their current outburst.
Big Run Producers: Cody Puckett’s five-RBI performance in game one on Sunday was his first five-RBI game of the year. Brandon Bantz’s three RBI in game one was his first three-RBI game in 2014. Bill Hall earned his first multi-RBI game of the year with two in game one on Sunday.
Bullpen Success: Long Island’s bullpen combined to allow just two runs over 8.2 innings during Sunday’s doubleheader. Combined with Saturday’s win, Long Island relievers have now given up just two runs over their last 13.2 innings, good for a 1.32 ERA. They’ve given up nine hits and six walks while striking out seven in that span.
On the Air: Tonight’s game will be broadcast on the Ducks official YouTube Channel and LIDucks.com. Live streaming audio will be available by CLICKING HERE. Michael Polak will call the play-by-play.
Finally, here are the lineups for tonight’s game:
#24 Fehlandt Lentini – CF
#2 Cody Puckett – 2B
#20 Lew Ford – DH
#6 Bill Hall – 1B
#14 Brandon Bantz – C
#15 Jon Myers – LF
#22 Joash Brodin – RF
#12 Dan Lyons – SS
#30 Sergio Miranda – 3B
#7 John Brownell – RHP
#7 James Simmons – CF
#27 Prentice Redman – RF
#15 Ramon Castro – 3B
#17 Casper Wells – DH
#36 Fred Lewis – LF
#19 Luis Lopez – 1B
#0 Luis Rodriguez – C
#5 Juan Martinez – 2B
#2 Mike Richard – SS
#24 Dontrelle Willis – LHP
Stay tuned for updates throughout the game as the Ducks look to pull back even in the Ferry Cup Series.
UPDATE (7:21): TOP 1: Ducks take the early 1-0 lead on a two-out, two-strike RBI single up the middle by Brandon Bantz!
UPDATE (7:39): TOP 2: The Ducks add another off Dontrelle Willis on a RBI groundout to third by Fehlandt Lentini! 2-0 Flock
UPDATE (8:10): BOT 3: Bluefish get a run on a RBI triple by James Simmons. However, Brownell works out of a two-on, no-out jam to keep the Ducks ahead!
UPDATE (8:33): TOP 5: The Ducks get their two-run lead back on back-to-back doubles by Sergio Miranda and Fehlandt Lentini! 3-1 Long Island
UPDATE (8:42): BOT 5: Bridgeport pulls back within a run on a solo homer to left-center by Prentice Redman.
UPDATE (9:10): BOT 7: A fielding error on a ground ball by Prentice Redman has tied the game at three.
UPDATE (9:22): TOP 8: Ducks answer with a sac fly from Bantz and a RBI double by Brodin to take the lead back! 5-3 Long Island
UPDATE (9:46): BOT 8: Bluefish push across a run, but Jon Myers makes a fabulous running catch down the left field line to leave the bases loaded and keep the Ducks in front by one!
UPDATE (10:04): FINAL: David Kopp nails down his second straight save, and the Ducks hang on for a 5-4 victory over the Bluefish!
Posted on July 28, 2014, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged 2014, Atlantic League, Bob Zimmermann, Brandon Bantz, Brendan Harris, Bridgeport Bluefish, Cody Puckett, Dontrelle Willis, Home Run Cycle, John Brownell, Julio Rodriguez, Long Island Ducks, Matt Iannazzo, Mitch Talbot, Rob Whitenack, The Ballpark at Harbor Yard. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.