Game 98: Ducks at Blue Crabs

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Tonight marks yet another landmark in the 2014 season for the Long Island Ducks. For the final time during the regular season, the Flock will take the field at Regency Furniture Stadium in Waldorf, Md. against the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs. It marks the second road ballpark in which the Ducks have finished playing games this year (Campbell’s Field, Camden, N.J.). In addition, the Flock had previously met season landmarks by welcoming both the Bridgeport Bluefish and York Revolution to Bethpage Ballpark for the final time in the regular season earlier in the second half. What does all of this mean, besides less travel? Well, it shows how the season has officially hit the dog days of summer, and is preparing for the home stretch.

Less than a month and a half remain in the 2014 regular season, with the Ducks currently on the outside of the playoff picture, looking in. Currently, the Flock are 7.5 games behind the Somerset Patriots for first place in the Liberty Division, and 3.5 games behind the Lancaster Barnstormers in the Wild Card Standings. Hypothetically, if the Patriots were to repeat as Liberty Division champions in the second half, then the Ducks would be looking at a situation where they would need to leapfrog either the Sugar Land Skeeters and/or the Barnstormers for the final playoff spot in the Atlantic League, depending on who wins the Freedom Division. The Skeeters are currently two games up on both the Barnstormers and Southern Maryland Blue Crabs for first place in that division. If the Skeeters were to hold on to first, then it would likely come down to Long Island and Lancaster (and a huge series between the two at the Duck Pond in the final week of the regular season) for the final playoff spot.

That is a bit of the ways in the future, however. Tonight, Long Island will look to bounce back against Southern Maryland in the finale of this three-game series in Waldorf. The Ducks carried a 1-0 lead into the bottom of the seventh inning in last night’s ballgame thanks primarily to Adam Bailey and Mitch Talbot. The two teams exchanged zeroes through the first four innings (not without scoring chances) before Bailey gave the Flock a 1-0 lead in the fifth on a two-out RBI single. Talbot proceeded to keep the Crabs off the scoreboard for the next two innings, successfully tossing six shutout innings in total on five hits with two walks and three strikeouts. With Talbot then out of the game in the seventh, the Blue Crabs would plate two runs to take the lead. Long Island was held in check over the final two innings to clinch Southern Maryland’s third victory of the season over Long Island.

CLICK HERE to read a full recap from Thursday’s game, complete with audio highlights and the box score.

Tonight, Flock starter John Brownell takes the mound for his league-leading 21st start of the year. The third-year Duck enters the ballgame 11-6 with a 3.86 earned run average. Brownell currently leads the Atlantic League in starts (20), wins (11), innings pitched (137.1) and complete games (4), while ranking second in strikeouts (91). . The 2013 Atlantic League Championship Series MVP has won his last two starts, tossing at least seven and one-third innings each time. That includes eight innings of one-run ball against the York Revolution at Bethpage Ballpark his last time out. Brownell has made just one start against Southern Maryland this year, and received a no-decision after yielding two runs (one earned) over seven innings on June 7 at Regency Furniture Stadium.

Brownell will work tonight against Blue Crabs ace Gabriel Hernandez, who makes 20th appearance (18th start) of the year. The righty is 4-7 this season with a 4.84 ERA and 87 strikeouts against 34 walks in 104 innings of work. The first-year Blue Crab has struggled as of late, allowing at least five earned runs in each of his last three starts, with an 0-2 record over that span. Hernandez has made two-starts against the Flock this year, yielding polarizing results. In his first start on May 21, Hernandez received a no-decision after allowing just one run over six innings. His last start against the Ducks, however, did not fare as well. On June 6 in Southern Maryland, Hernandez allowed a season-high eight runs on 10 hits in just four innings in a losing effort.

Here are tonight’s game notes:

Ducks vs. Blue Crabs: Today marks the 14th meeting of the season between the Ducks and Blue Crabs and last of 10 games between them in Southern Maryland. The Ducks currently lead the series 10 games to three. Long Island and Southern Maryland have played 130 games against each other all-time, with the Blue Crabs holding a 70-60 lead in the series as well as a 37-26 advantage at Regency Furniture Stadium.

Good Things Come in Pairs: Brendan Harris and Adam Bailey each led the Ducks with two hits on Thursday night. Harris and Bailey now have multiple hits in back-to-back games while Bailey has earned multiple hits in seven of his last 10 contests. For the year, Bailey now has 19 two-hit games and 28 multi-hit games while Harris ha 17 two-hits contests and 20 multi-hit contests.

On-Base Machines: Harris has now reached base safely in 29 of his last 30 games dating back to July 1, with the lone exception coming on August 4 against York. Of those 29 games, he has hit safely in 23 of them and earned a walk in 21. The former big leaguer leads the Ducks with 48 walks in 2014. Bailey has now reached base safely in 10 of his last 12 games, earning a hit in nine of them. In those 12 games, he is batting .423 (22-for-52) with five doubles, one triple, one homer, 10 RBI and four runs.

Mitch is Masterful: Mitch Talbot continued his success as a starter with six shutout innings on Thursday night. The former big leaguer has now tossed 10 consecutive scoreless innings. Since becoming a starting pitcher on July 22, Talbot has allowed a total of six runs over 21 innings, good for a 2.57 ERA. In his four starts, he has given up 17 hits and six walks while striking out 16 batters.

Oh, What a Relief They Are: Newcomers Tommy Organ and Sergio Perez each fired a scoreless inning of relief on Thursday night. Both pitchers have now tossed two scoreless innings since joining Long Island on August 3. They have combined to allow just three hits and three walks while striking out six over those four innings.

Approaching Milestones: Joash Brodin is two doubles away from 100 for his career…Lew Ford is three games away from 1,000 in his minor league career…Dan Lyons is eight hits away from 600 in his career…Cody Puckett is seven RBI away from 400 for his career…Eric Niesen is three games away from 300 for his career.

On the Air: Today’s game will be broadcast on Long Island’s home for news, traffic and weather 103.9 LI News Radio, with live audio also available online by CLICKING HERE. Marc Schwartz will call the play-by-play.

Finally, here are tonight’s starting lineups:

Ducks
#24 Fehlandt Lentini – RF
#25 Brendan Harris – SS
#20 Lew Ford – CF
#6   Bill Hall – 1B
#13 Adam Bailey – DH
#2   Cody Puckett – 2B
#29 Evan Crawford – LF
#23 Jan Vazquez – C
#30 Sergio Miranda – 3B

#7    John Brownell – RHP

Blue Crabs
#20 Jermaine Mitchell – CF
#4    Bobby Stevens – SS
#2    Jake Opitz – 3B
#38 Luke Murton – DH
#44 C.J. Ziegler – 1B
#40 Jamar Walton – RF
#14 Addison Maruszak – LF
#10 Allan de San Miguel – C
#1    Amadeo Zazueta – 2B

#18  Gabriel Hernandez – RHP

Keep it here for updates throughout the game at Regency Furniture Stadium as the Ducks look to take the rubber match against the Blue Crabs!

UPDATE (7:15): TOP 1: Ducks take the lead!! Bill Hall with a LONG two-run home run, his second of the year, to put the Flock in front 2-0

UPDATE (8:25): END 5: Ducks continue to lead 2-0 over the Blue Crabs! Brownell has tossed five shutout innings with three strikeouts!

UPDATE (8:44): TOP 6: Ducks open up the game with four runs! RBI singles from Harris, Puckett and Crawford, along with a run-scoring balk, has LI up 6-0!

UPDATE (9:04): END 7: John Brownell has now retired seven straight and 15 of the last 16 he has faced! Ducks still lead 6-0!

UPDATE (9:31): Heading to the bottom of the ninth inning, John Brownell back to the mound, looking for his first CG effort of the year! Ducks lead 6-0!

UPDATE (9:42): BALLGAME!! Brownell tosses his 1st CG shutout of the year as the Ducks win 6-0! 9.0 IP, 4 H, 0 R, 3 BB, 8 K for his league-leading 12th win!

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Posted on August 8, 2014, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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