Game 104: Ducks vs. Skeeters

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Well, it looks like the worst of the rain has passed Long Island, and we can now gladly welcome in some beautiful weather! Hopefully everyone has weathered the storm, as we get set for baseball here at Bethpage Ballpark! Tonight, the Long Island Ducks welcome in the Sugar Land Skeeters for the final time at the Duck Pond this season. With tonight’s ballgame, the Skeeters will become the third time in the Atlantic League to have finished their trips to Central Islip in 2014, joining the Bridgeport Bluefish and York Revolution. In terms of road trips, the Flock have already concluded their trips this season to Campbell’s Field in Camden, N.J. against the Riversharks and Clipper Magazine Stadium in Lancaster, Penn. against the Barnstormers. Point being: we are creeping towards the ladder stages of the season.

Long Island currently sits eight games behind the Somerset Patriots in the Liberty Division, and three games behind the Lancaster Barnstormers for what would be the final playoff spot if the season were to end today. That would be the case because the Skeeters are currently in first place in the Freedom Division, 1.5 games ahead of the Revolution, who already have a playoff spot locked up. With all of these teams so close to each other, it increases the importance of each game.

The Ducks dropped last night’s game to Sugar Land 3-0 thanks to strong pitching performances from both teams. The only runs scored in the ballgame came on a Delwyn Young three-run home run in the top of the first off John Brownell. After an hour and seven minute rain delay, Brownell returned to the mound and held the Skeeters off the scoreboard for the next six innings. Unfortunately for Long Island, Sugar Land starter Matt Wright was just as good on the mound. Wright held the Flock scoreless over seven innings en route to his eighth win of the season. It marked only the fourth time this year that the Ducks had been shut out.

CLICK HERE to read a full recap from Wednesday’s game, complete with audio highlights and and postgame comments from Kevin Baez and Brownell.

A strong pitching matchup will once again be the main storyline in tonight’s game. Bobby Blevins takes the mound for Long Island tonight in his 20th start of the season. The third-year Duck enters the ballgame 6-3 on the year with a 3.19 earned run average – third lowest in the Atlantic League. Blevins currently ranks second in the league in innings pitched (132.1), having struck out 77 batters against 23 walks. The righty has tossed at least six and two-thirds in each of his last seven starts, allowing no more than two runs in any of those starts. Despite the streak of seven-straight quality starts, Blevins is just 2-0 in that span. In fact, the Briarcliffe, N.Y. native has received no-decisions in nine games this season in which he has made a quality start. In three starts against the Skeeters this year, Blevins is 0-1 with a 4.22 ERA (10 earned runs in 21 and one-third innings).

Sugar Land sends southpaw Steve Hammond to the mound for his 21st start of the year. The first-year Skeeter is 8-7 this year with a 3.38 ERA and 93 strikeouts against 52 walks in 111 and two-thirds innings of work. Hammond has struck out at least five batters in each of his last seven starts, and nine of the his last 10 overall. His 93 strikeouts this year rank fourth in the league. In one start against the Flock this year, Hammond took the loss, allowing four runs (three earned) on five hits and three walks over five innings.

Here are tonight’s game notes:

Ducks vs. Skeeters: Tonight marks the 13th meeting of the season between the Ducks and Skeeters and final of 10 games between them on Long Island. The Ducks currently lead the series eight games to four, including a 6-3 advantage at the Duck Pond. Long Island and Sugar Land have played 52 games against each other all-time, with the Skeeters holding a 30-22 lead in the series. However, the Ducks have a 16-13 advantage at Bethpage Ballpark.

On-Base Machines: With an infield single on Wednesday, Brendan Harris has now reached base safely in 35 of his last 36 games dating back to July 1, with the lone exception coming August 4 against York. Of those 35 games, he’s hit safely in 29 of them, including eight straight. With a double, Adam Bailey has now reached base safely in 16 of his last 18 games, earning a hit in 14 of them. In those 18 games, he is batting .397 (29-for-73) with six doubles, two triples, three homers, 17 RBI and eight runs.

Multi-Hit Night: With two hits on Wednesday, Joash Brodin earned his 18th two-hit game of the 2014 season. The third-year Duck now has 24 multi-hit games this year. Brodin has now hit safely in four of his last five games, earning multiple hits twice, and is batting .333 (6-for-18) in those five games.

Starter Success: Ducks starting pitchers continued their recent success on Wednesday with seven innings of three-run ball from John Brownell. Over their last eight games, the five-man group has a record of 3-1 with a 1.54 ERA, allowing just nine earned runs in 52.2 innings. In that span, they’ve allowed 43 hits and 11 walks while striking out 32 batters. Dating back to August 2, the starters are 5-2 with a 1.68 ERA, allowing 14 earned runs in 74.2 innings.

What Can Brown-ell Do For You? Thanks to his outing on Wednesday, Brownell has now made four consecutive quality starts. In those four outings, he is 3-1 with a 2.01 ERA, allowing seven earned runs over 31 and one-third innings. He has given up 21 hits and 14 walks in that span while striking out 20.

Oh, What a Relief They Are: Tommy Organ tossed his fourth consecutive scoreless appearance with a perfect eighth inning on Wednesday. Since signing with the Ducks on August 3, he has allowed just two hits and one walk while striking out five in four innings. Eric Niesen also threw a scoreless frame when he pitched the ninth on Wednesday. The Ducks bullpen has allowed just two runs in their last 10 innings (1.80 ERA), yielding eight hits and two walks while striking out eight in that span.

On the Air: Tonight’s game will be broadcast with live streaming video and audio on the Ducks official YouTube channel. Fans can follow all the action by CLICKING HERE. Michael Polak will call the play-by-play.

Finally, here are tonight’s starting lineups:

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

#18 Bobby Blevins – RHP

#11 Brian Barton – CF
#16 Travis Scott – 1B
#29 Ryan Langerhans – LF
#24 Delwyn Young – DH
#5   Chase Lambin – 3B
#4   Dominic Ramos – SS
#36 Todd Jennings – C
#2   Michael Rockett – 2B
#6   Bridger Hunder – RF

#28 Steve Hammond – LHP

Keep it here for updates throughout the game at Bethpage Ballpark as the Ducks look to take the series from the Skeeters!

UPDATE (7:44): TOP 3: Sugar Land takes a 1-0 lead on a RBI triple from Ryan Langerhans

UPDATE (7:57): BOT 3: DUCKS LEAD 2-1! RBI double from Dan Lyons and a run-scoring error off the bat of Fehlandt Lentini has the Flock in front!

UPDATE (8:29): BOT 5: Long Island increases it’s lead to 3-1 on a RBI fielder’s choice off the bat of Dan Lyons

UPDATE (9:03): BOT 7: Ducks add two more runs on a RBI double from Joash Brodin and a RBI groundout from Dan Lyons! Season-high four RBI for Lyons!

UPDATE (9:21): END 8: Bobby Blevins coming out for the top of the ninth inning, looking for his second complete game effort of the season! Ducks lead 5-1!

UPDATE (9:26): BALLGAME!! Bobby Blevins tosses his 2nd CG of the year, limiting the Sugar Land Skeeters to one run on seven hits! Ducks take the game 5-1!


Posted on August 14, 2014, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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