Game 106: Ducks vs. Patriots

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The Long Island Ducks and the Somerset Patriots certainly have a storied history. The two Liberty Division rivals are two of the most storied franchises in Atlantic League history, with a combined eight titles between them. Of course, the last chapter of this rivalry came last year, when the Ducks defeated the Patriots at TD Bank Ballpark in Game Five of the Atlantic League Championship series to take the series three games to two. The thrilling series, which included arguably some of the most exciting postseason games ever in the Atlantic League. This excitement has carried over to the 2014 season, which was certainly on display last night at the Duck Pond.

Long Island took game one of this weekend series over Somerset last night 4-2. It was a quick-paced game which featured strong defense, strong pitching, and two teams that held nothing back. With the Patriots having already locked up a playoff spot, the game might have held a little more importance to the Ducks. In the end, the Flock’s timely hitting and strong pitching lifted them to an important victory. With the win, combined with the Lancaster Barnstormers losing last night, Long Island now finds itself just one game out of a playoff spot in the Wild Card Standings.

Jared Lansford stole the show in last night’s ballgame by tossing his second complete game of the year. The third-year Duck allowed just two runs (one earned) over nine innings on seven hits and one walk while striking out eight. It marked the second consecutive complete game for Ducks starting pitchers, who have really carried this team back into playoff contention. At the plate, a two-out, four-run rally in the bottom of the sixth inning provided enough offense for the Flock. After Lew Ford reached base on a throwing error with two-out and nobody on, a two-run double from Cody Puckett and a two-run home run from Brandon Bantz put the Ducks in front for good.

CLICK HERE to read a full recap from Friday’s game, complete with audio highlights and and postgame comments from Lansford, Bantz and Puckett.

In the middle game of this three-game series tonight, Long Island sends Shaun Garceau to the mound for his 22nd appearance (21st start) of the year. The second-year Duck enters the ballgame 10-3 with a 5.03 earned run average and 85 strikeouts against 39 walks in 123 and one-third innings of work. In what has been a rollercoaster season for Garceau, he is currently on the upswing, having won his last two starts. In that span, the righty has allowed just two runs over 13 innings pitched (1.38 ERA) on 12 hits and two walks against 10 strikeouts. In three starts against Somerset this year, Garceau is 1-1 with a 7.71 ERA. After struggling mightily in his first start against the Pats, Garceau has improved each time since, including seven innings of one-run ball on June 14 with no walks and nine strikeouts.

David Harden toes the rubber tonight for the Patriots for his fifth appearance (fourth start) this season. So far, the second-year Patriot is 1-1 with a 3.95 ERA  and 10 strikeouts against three walks in 13 and two-thirds innings. While Harden has not appeared against the Flock this year, he was Somerset’s starting pitcher in Game Five of the 2013 ALCS. The righty took the loss in that start, yielding six runs on seven hits in four and one-third innings.

Here are tonight’s game notes:

Ducks vs. Patriots: Tonight marks the 12th meeting of the season between the Ducks and Patriots and fifth of 10 games between them on Long Island. The Patriots currently lead the series six games to five, though the two teams have split the first four games at the Duck Pond. Long Island and Somerset have played 276 games against each other all-time, with the Patriots holding a slim 140-136 lead in the series. However, the Ducks have a 73-67 advantage at Bethpage Ballpark.

Going the Distance: For the second consecutive night, a Ducks starting pitcher tossed a complete game. Jared Lansford earned his second complete game of the season on Friday after picking up his first against the Sugar Land Skeeters in game two of a doubleheader on June 21 at Bethpage Ballpark. Lansford has now seen his ERA drop to 3.08 on the year, which is tied for fourth-lowest in the Atlantic League. In addition, the righty’s eight strikeouts were one shy of his season high (9, July 30 at Camden). Long Island now has a league-leading 11 complete games in 2014.

Starter Success: Ducks starting pitchers are now 5-1 with a 1.40 ERA (11 earned runs in 70 and two-thirds innings) over their last 10 games after Lansford’s complete game effort on Friday. In that span, they’ve allowed 57 hits and 12 walks while striking out 43 batters. Dating back to August 2, the starters are 7-2 with a 1.55 ERA, allowing 16 earned runs in 92 and two-thirds innings.

Off to the Races: Long Island stole two bases on Friday and has now swiped 16 bases in their last seven games. The Ducks have stolen 97 bases this year, good for second-most in the league (York, 126). Evan Crawford is now a perfect 4-for-4 on stolen base attempts in five games, while Joash Brodin picked up his 21st steal in 24 attempts this year. Brodin is perfect in his last 10 stolen base attempts.

Bantz Blasts One Out: Brandon Bantz went deep on Friday for his third home run of the season and first at Bethpage Ballpark. It was the first time the former big leaguer went deep since he homered in both games of a doubleheader in Bridgeport on July 27. The Ducks now have 74 homers in 2014.

Big Nights: Fehlandt Lentini, Cody Puckett and Evan Crawford each recorded two hits on Friday. Lentini now leads the team with 29 two-hit games and 39 multi-hit games this year. Puckett earned his 32nd multi-hit game, and Crawford collected his second straight multi-hit game. Crawford is now 8-for-11 with four stolen bases and four runs, and he has a hit in each of his first five games with the Ducks.

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. The game can also be heard on Long Island’s home for news, traffic and weather, 103.9-FM LI News Radio. Michael Polak will call the play-by-play.

Finally, here are tonight’s starting lineups:

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

#28 Shaun Garceau – RHP

Patriots
#6   Jonny Tucker – CF
#13 Jeff Dominguez – 2B
#35 Daryle Ward – DH
#15  Corey Smith – 3B
#2    Luis Montanez – RF
#21 Adam Donachie – C
#10  Brian Barden – 1B
#8    Cory Harrilchak – LF
#1     Scott Kelly – SS

#25  David Harden – RHP

Keep it here for updates throughout the game at Bethpage Ballpark as the Ducks look to make it two straight wins over the Patriots!

UPDATE (8:00): BOT 3: Ducks open up the game w/ FIVE runs! RBI fielder’s choice from Lew Ford and a GRAND SLAM from Brandon Bantz! Flock lead 5-0!

UPDATE (8:26): END 4: Ducks and the Patriots exchange two runs each. Ducks lead 7-2!

UPDATE (8:37): TOP 5: Patriots plate two runs on consecutive two-out RBI doubles from Daryle Ward and Corey Smith. Ducks lead 7-4!

UPDATE (9:37): END 8: Ducks still leading the Patriots 7-4! David Kopp entering the game, looking for his third save of the year!

UPDATE (9:45):  BALLGAME!! Kopp closes the door in the ninth as the Ducks defeat the Patriots 7-4! Three straight wins for the Flock!

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Posted on August 16, 2014, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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