Game 102: Ducks vs. Skeeters

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The Long Island Ducks return home tonight to begin a six-game homestand, and a three-game series with the Sugar Land Skeeters. The importance of the next six games can not be overstated as the Ducks look to climb back into the Atlantic League playoff picture. Both teams that will visit the Duck Pond this week – the other being the Somerset Patriots – are two of major teams the Ducks are chasing for a playoff spot. The Patriots already have a spot locked up after taking the first half title in the Liberty Division, yet remain in first place in the second half as well; 7.5 games up on Long Island. If Somerset were to hold on to its lead in the division, then the Ducks would have to turn towards the wild card standings to make the postseason, which is where the Skeeters come in to play.

Sugar Land currently sits in first place in the Freedom Division, two games up on the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, York Revolution and Lancaster Barnstormers. In what has been a tightly contested division all year long, the Revolution have already clinched a playoff spot by taking the first half. That means the Ducks and Skeeters will be fighting it out in the wild card standings the rest of the way. Of course, if the Skeeters take the second half title in the Freedom Division, then there would be only one playoff spot left, with the Ducks and the Barnstormers likely battling for it.

Last night, the Ducks took another step in the right direction, defeating the Revolution at Santander Stadium 7-1 in the final game of the six-game road trip. Long Island went 3-3 on the road trip, and were overall 10-9 in the tough 19-game stretch which saw 16 games on the road. Ducks starting pitcher Shaun Garceau continued the streak of strong starting pitching, yielding just one run on seven hits with five strikeouts over seven innings. Offensively, the Ducks recorded 13 hits en route to the win, including a 3-for-4, two RBI performance from Lew Ford and home runs from Adam Bailey and Fehlandt Lentini.

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

Tonight Long Island will turn to Mitch Talbot for a strong start to begin the homestand. The former-big leaguer makes his seventh appearance (fifth start) for the Flock tonight, and just his second start at Bethpage Ballpark. Talbot enters tonight’s ballgame 2-1 on the year with a 3.37 earned run average and 18 strikeouts against seven walks over 24 innings pitched. The first-year Duck has received no-decisions in his last two starts despite allowing just one run in 12 innings over that stretch. That includes six innings of shutout ball his last time out against Southern Maryland. Tonight will be the righty’s first appearance against Sugar Land this year.

Facing off against Talbot tonight is Sugar Land righty Clint Everts, who will make his 19th appearance (16th start) of the year. The second-year Skeeter enters with a 5-8 record, 5.24 ERA and 60 strikeouts against 48 walks in 92 and two-thirds innings of work. Everts has earned a win in each of his last two starts, including seven innings of one-run ball his last time out against the Revolution. In his lone start against the Ducks this season, Everts took a loss after allowing three runs on four hits and five walks over three and one-third at the Duck Pond on June 22.

Here are tonight’s game notes:

Ducks vs. Skeeters: Tonight marks the 11th meeting of the season between the Ducks and Skeeters and eighth of 10 games between them on Long Island. The Ducks currently lead the series seven games to three, including a 5-2 advantage at the Duck Pond. Long Island and Sugar Land have played 50 games against each other all-time, with the Skeeters holding a 29-21 lead in the series. However, the Ducks have a 15-12 advantage at Bethpage Ballpark.

Bailey Blasts Off Again: Adam Bailey launched his second home run in as many days with a two-run blast on Monday. The second-year Duck leads the Flock with 14 homers in 2014. Bailey’s three-RBI night was his also his second consecutive multi-RBI night. He now has four three-RBI contests and 17 multi-RBI games, both of which lead the Flock.

Lentini Launches One: Fehlandt Lentini hit a solo home run in the third inning on Monday, good for his fourth homer of the season. It was the first-year Duck’s second home run in the last seven games. Three of Lentini’s four homers have come away from Bethpage Ballpark this season.

On-Base Machines: With a double on Monday, Brendan Harris has now reached base safely in 33 of his last 34 games dating back to July 1, with the lone exception coming on August 4 against York. Of those 33 games, he has hit safely in 27 of them (including six straight games) and earned a walk in 22. The former big leaguer leads the Ducks and ranks third in the Atlantic League with 50 walks in 2014. Bailey has now reached base safely in 14 of his last 16 games, earning a hit in 12 of them. In those 16 games, he is batting .385 (25-for-65) with five doubles, one triple, three homers, 17 RBI and six runs.

Off to the Races: Evan Crawford stole his second base as a Duck when he swiped second in the ninth inning on Monday. The Ducks have now stolen 10 bases in their last three games, including six on Saturday at York, which was the most by any Atlantic League team in a single game this year.

Starter Success: Ducks starting pitchers were outstanding during the six-game road trip. The five-man group posted a record of 3-0 with a 1.27 ERA, allowing just six earned runs in 42.2 innings. In that span, they’ve allowed 38 hits and eight walks while striking out 24 batters. Dating back to the last home series for the Ducks, the starters are 5-1 with a 1.53 ERA, allowing 11 earned runs in 64.2 innings.

On the Air: Tonight’s game will be broadcast with live streaming audio on the Ducks official YouTube channel. Fans can follow all the action 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 – 3B
#20 Lew Ford – CF
#6    Bill Hall – DH
#13 Adam Bailey – LF
#2   Cody Puckett – 2B
#14 Brandon Bantz – C
#22 Joash Brodin – 1B
#12 Dan Lyons – SS

#32 Mitch Talbot – RHP

Skeeters
#29 Ryan Langerhans – LF
#11  Brian Barton – CF
#16 Travis Scott – C
#24 Delwyn Young – 1B
#5   Chase Lambin – DH
#4   Dominic Ramos – SS
#25 Neil Medchill – RF
#2   Michael Rockett – 3B
#6   Bridger Hunt – 2B

#10 Clint Everts – RHP

Keep it here for updates throughout the game at Bethpage Ballpark as the Ducks look to begin their six-game homestand with a win!

UPDATE (7:48): BOT 2: Ducks plate five runs on a sac fly from Lyons, RBI single from Lentini, and three-run homer from Harris!! 5-0 Long Island!

UPDATE (8:26): END 4: Ducks lead 6-1 after a Bantz RBI single in the third, and a Medchill RBI single for Sugar Land in the top of the fourth.

UPDATE (9:04): END 6: Solo home run from Delwyn Young in the top half, RBI single from Fehlandt Lentini in the bottom half has the Flock in front 7-2!

UPDATE (9:34): BOT 8: The Flock add two more runs on a run-scoring throwing error and a RBI groundout from Fehlandt Lentini! Ducks now in front 9-2!

UPDATE (9:42): BALLGAME!! The Ducks defeat the Skeeters 9-2 on the back of a 15-hit effort to take game one of this three-game series! Recap to follow!

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Posted on August 12, 2014, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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