Game 89: Ducks at Bluefish

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With 16 head-to-head matchups between the Ducks and Bluefish in the books this season, the Ferry Cup’s landing spot still remains very much in question. With just four games remaining between the cross-sound rivals, the 2014 Ferry Cup Series is tied at eight. The Ducks made that the case after hanging on for a thrilling 5-4 win on Monday night, which followed some much needed rest acquired after both teams played 29 innings of baseball in a span of two days.

Long Island proved that they don’t need the longball to win on Monday night, as they went homerless a day after clubbing six as a team. However, the Ducks continued to pick up key hits and productive outs. Brandon Bantz got the scoring started with a two-out RBI single in the first, and Fehlandt Lentini doubled the lead with a run-scoring groundout in the second. After Bridgeport pulled within a run, the Ducks opened the fifth with back-to-back doubles to get their two-run advantage back. The Bluefish rallied back for single runs in the fifth and seventh, but again, the Ducks persevered. A key two-run eighth inning, which featured a sac fly from Bantz and a big two-out RBI double from Joash Brodin gave the Ducks a lead they would never relinquish.

Pitching was a big key for the Ducks as well. John Brownell didn’t have his best stuff, but he worked his way out of jams throughout the game and limited the damage. Facing his former teammate Dontrelle Willis, the right-hander faced his biggest jam in the eighth inning, as he allowed back-to-back hits to open the inning, one of which was a grounder that somehow spun around Bill Hall at first. A pass ball and a sacrifice fly brought the Bluefish within one and put the tying run at second base with no outs. However, Kevin Baez called on Jeremy Accardo, and despite allowing a walk and single to the first two batters he faced, the righty got James Simmons to pop out and retired Prentice Redman on a great running catch in left field by Jon Myers. David Kopp then came on to pitch a scoreless ninth, earning his second save in as many opportunities. Ducks pitchers stranded 11 Bluefish runners on base, a big reason why Long Island hung on for the win.

CLICK HERE to read a full recap from Monday’s victory, complete with audio highlights.

So, with the series tied at eight, tonight’s matchup becomes a huge swing game in determining which team will come within one victory of at least guaranteeing a share of the Ferry Cup. For the game, the Ducks will go with one of their best starters this season. Bobby Blevins will toe the rubber, sporting a 5-3 record with a 3.72 ERA this season. Half of Blevins’ starts have resulted in no-decisions, and in seven of those eight, he has allowed three runs or less. In fact, the third-year Duck has tossed four consecutive quality starts entering Tuesday, but has only one win, which came on July 4 against Camden. He has faced the Bluefish just once this year, tossing six innings of three-run ball with seven strikeouts in a 4-3 13-inning loss on May 14 at Bridgeport.

Blevins will be opposed tonight by D.J. Mitchell, who enters with a 6-6 record and a 3.77 ERA through 17 starts. He was dominant in his last outing, tossing eight shutout innings with six strikeouts in a 4-0 win at Lancaster on Thursday. In fact, the right-hander has won three of his last four starts and tossed quality starts in each of his last three outings. In three starts this year against the Ducks, he is 1-0 with a 0.90 ERA, allowing just two earned runs over 20 innings. We’ll see if the Ducks can figure out the former big leaguer on Tuesday night.

Here are tonight’s game notes:

Ducks vs. Bluefish: Tonight marks the 17th meeting of the season between the Ducks and Bluefish and seventh of 10 games between the two in Bridgeport. The series is currently tied at eight. Long Island and Bridgeport have played 281 games against each other all-time, with the Bluefish holding a slim 142-139 advantage and a 77-60 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.

Good Things Come In Pairs: Fehlandt Lentini, Brandon Bantz, Joash Brodin and Sergio Miranda each had two hits on Monday. Lentini leads the Flock with 23 two-hit games this year and now has 32 multihit games. Bantz earned his fourth multi-hit game, Brodin picked up his 20th and Miranda collected his third. Lentini also collected his 10th multi-RBI game, and Bantz earned his third with two RBI apiece.

What Can Brown-ell Do For You? John Brownell took over the Atlantic League lead in wins on Monday by earning his 10th of the season. He was tied with Chris Schwinden of Lancaster before picking up the victory. The third-year Duck also turned in his fifth quality start in his last six starts. In those five starts, he is 3-1 with a 3.34 ERA, allowing 12 earned runs over 32.1 innings. Brownell is now 4-1 with a 3.50 ERA this season against the Bluefish, allowing 14 earned runs in 36 innings of work.

Bullpen Success: Jeremy Accardo and David Kopp combined to toss 1.2 innings of scoreless baseball on Monday, Long Island relievers have now given up just two runs over their last 15.1 innings, good for a 1.17 ERA. They’ve given up 10 hits and eight walks while striking out eight in that span.

Blevins on the Bump: Tonight’s starter, Bobby Blevins, has tossed four straight quality starts entering Tuesday. In those four starts, he has combined to allow just six runs over 29.1 innings of work, good for a 1.84 ERA. The third-year Duck has given up 26 hits and just five walks in that span while striking out 10. However, he has just one win and has received 14 combined runs of support in that stretch.

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:

Ducks
#24 Fehlandt Lentini – CF
#25 Brendan Harris – 3B
#20 Lew Ford – DH
#13 Adam Bailey – RF
#2   Cody Puckett – 2B
#14 Brandon Bantz – C
#22 Joash Brodin – 1B
#15 Jon Myers – LF
#12 Dan Lyons – SS

#18 Bobby Blevins – RHP

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

#18 D.J. Mitchell – LHP

Stay tuned for updates throughout the game as the Ducks look to take the lead in the Ferry Cup Series and win the four-game set in Bridgeport.

UPDATE (7:20): TOP 1: The Ducks get the early lead on a run-scoring groundout from Brendan Harris!

UPDATE (7:28): BOT 1: Bluefish tie the score on a solo homer from Prentice Redman, his third of the series.

UPDATE (7:54): TOP 3: Ducks re-take the lead on a two-out RBI single to right-center by Lew Ford! 2-1 Flock

UPDATE (8:35): BOT 5: Bobby Blevins escapes a first-and-third, one-out jam with strikeouts of Mike Richard and James Simmons! Still 2-1 Ducks

UPDATE (9:08): The great pitcher’s duel continues between Blevins and D.J. Mitchell! Ducks still in front 2-1 after seven!

UPDATE (9:53): BOT 9: Down to their final strike, Austin Gallagher ties the game with a solo homer to right. 2-2 as we go to extra innings.

UPDATE (10:25): TOP 11: Ducks re-take the lead! A run-scoring throwing error on a bunt and a RBI single by Joash Brodin put Long Island ahead 4-2!

UPDATE (10:32): FINAL: Brett Lorin retires the side in order in the 11th, and the Ducks beat the Bluefish 4-2 to win the series 3 of 4!

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Posted on July 29, 2014, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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