Game 110: Ducks at Bluefish
Tuesday’s game started eerily similar to Monday’s series opener between the Ducks and Bluefish. Long Island had the bases loaded and one out in the second inning, but failed to score a run. However, on this night, the Ducks would respond…in a BIG way!
The Ducks put together arguably their second-best offensive performance of the season, pounding out 18 runs and 19 hits, four of which left the yard, to batter the Bluefish 18-1 and even up the three-game series. In addition, the win guaranteed the Ducks at least a share of the 2014 Ferry Cup title, meaning that the Cup, which was won by the Ducks last year, will remain on Long Island. It also marks the first time that the Ferry Cup will have the same home for back-to-back seasons.
The big innings for the Ducks were a five-run third and a seven-run fourth that sent Bluefish starter D.J. Mitchell to the showers early. Looking for a big hit in the third, Bill Hall delivered a two-run single that put the Ducks ahead. Two batters later, Cody Puckett crushed a three-run homer over both walls in left field. The following inning, Long Island sent 11 men to the plate and put the game out of reach. Following a RBI single by Lew Ford and a bases loaded walk to Hall, Adam Bailey crushed a grand slam that nearly landed on the train tracks in right field. Two batters later, after Boof Bonser relieved Mitchell, Brandon Bantz launched a solo blast that hit about halfway up off the Webster Bank Arena behind the wall in left field. If not for the arena, that ball might still be traveling.
For good measure, the Ducks added three more runs in both the sixth and seventh innings. Puckett added a two-run triple, Joash Brodin, who was the only Ducks to go hitless and scoreless, drove in a run with a groundout, and Hall capped the scoring with a three-run blast to left. Everyone contributed in some way, but the middle three batters were the key. Hall, Bailey and Puckett combined to go 10-for-16 at the plate with a triple, three homers, 15 RBI and nine runs scored in the game. In a word: WOW!
As for the pitching, it was vintage Bobby Blevins once again at The Ballpark at Harbor Yard. The righty was in control and seemed to pitch comfortably with the Ducks finally giving him the run support he had been lacking all year. Blevins allowed eight hits in the game, all of which were singles except for a James Simmons solo homer in the third. For the fifth time in his last six starts, he did not walk a single batter, and he finished the game with seven strikeouts total. Make it nine consecutive quality starts for Blevins. With the score so lopsided, Kevin Baez then called on Rob Whitenack for the final two innings, and the righty allowed just one single while striking out two. From the pitching to the offense, this really was a full team victory.
CLICK HERE to read a full recap from Tuesday’s victory, complete with audio highlights.
Thanks to last night’s win, the Ducks will have a chance to secure the 2014 Ferry Cup title outright tonight with the finale of a three-game series against the Bluefish. The Ducks will go with right-hander Jared Lansford, who is coming off of a complete game win over the Somerset Patriots on Friday. In that start, he allowed just seven hits and two runs (one earned) and one walk while striking out eight. The third-year Duck is now 5-4 with a 3.08 ERA through 19 starts this year. Lansford has made two starts against the Bluefish this season and is 0-1 with a 3.75 ERA, allowing five runs on 10 hits and four walks with 11 strikeouts over 12 innings.
On the other side, the Bluefish will give the ball to right-hander Kelvin Castro, who was signed by Bridgeport today. Hunter Jones was originally scheduled to make the start, but he has been scratched due to a shoulder injury. Castro has not pitched in professional baseball this year, but he spent time in the New York Yankees organization in 2013. Combined with Low-A Staten Island and Single-A Charleston, Castro posted a 2-2 record with a 3.21 ERA and two saves over 20 games. It was his first full season as a pitcher, after he began his career as primarily a middle infielder. The Dominican Republic native is 26 years old.
Here are tonight’s game notes:
Ducks vs. Bluefish: Tonight marks the 20th meeting of the season between the Ducks and Bluefish and final of 10 games between them in Bridgeport. The Ducks lead 10-9 and have guaranteed themselves at least a share of the 2014 Ferry Cup title. Long Island and Bridgeport have played 284 games against each other all-time, with the Bluefish holding a 143-141 lead and a 78-62 edge in Bridgeport. Both teams have played for the Ferry Cup since 2009, with the Ducks winning three times (2009, ‘11, ‘13).
Homer Party: On Tuesday, the Ducks hit four homers in a game at Bridgeport for the second time this year. Adam Bailey hit a grand slam, Cody Puckett and Bill Hall each had a three-run homer, and Brandon Bantz crushed a solo homer. Long Island previously hit four homers at Bridgeport in game one of a doubleheader on July 27. In that game, Puckett had a grand slam, Bantz had a three-run blast, Hall hit a two-run homer and Dan Lyons clubbed a solo blast to complete the home run cycle.
Starter Success: Ducks starting pitchers are now 8-1 with a 1.98 ERA (21 earned runs in 95 and two-thirds innings) over their last 14 games after Bobby Blevins yielded one earned run in seven innings on Tuesday. In that span, they’ve allowed 84 hits and 18 walks while striking out 61. Dating back to August 2, the starters are 10-2 with a 1.99 ERA, allowing 26 earned runs in 117 and two-thirds innings.
Blevins on the Bump: With seven innings of one-run ball on Tuesday, Bobby Blevins tossed his ninth consecutive quality start. The right-hander has allowed two runs or less and tossed at least six and two-thirds innings in all nine starts. In his nine consecutive quality starts, Blevins is 4-0 with a 1.39 ERA, allowing just 11 earned runs in 74.1 innings of work. In that span, he has allowed 60 hits and just seven walks while striking out 32. Blevins has not walked a single batter in six of those nine starts.
Oh, What a Relief They Are: The Ducks bullpen continued their strong pitching on Tuesday with two scoreless innings from Rob Whitenack. In the last nine games, Ducks relievers have allowed three runs over 20.1 innings (1.33 ERA), In that span, they’ve yielded 13 hits and five walks with 19 strikeouts.
Offensive Onslaught: The Ducks finished just one run and one hit shy of their season-high totals in both categories on Tuesday. Their season-high in runs was 19 and their season-best in hits was 20, both done on May 28 in a 19-3 win at Lancaster. Their four homers were also one shy of their season-high, done most recently on July 7 against Sugar Land.
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. Michael Polak will call the play-by-play.
Finally, here are tonight’s starting lineups:
#24 Fehlandt Lentini – CF
#25 Brendan Harris – 3B
#20 Lew Ford – DH
#6 Bill Hall – 1B
#13 Adam Bailey – LF
#2 Cody Puckett – 2B
#14 Brandon Bantz – C
#29 Evan Crawford – RF
#12 Dan Lyons – SS
#21 Jared Lansford – RHP
#7 James Simmons – CF
#11 Sean Burroughs – 3B
#27 Prentice Redman – RF
#36 Fred Lewis – DH
#23 J.R. Towles – C
#15 Ramon Castro – 2B
#17 Casper Wells – LF
#34 Austin Gallagher – 1B
#5 Juan Martinez – SS
#32 Kelvin Castro – RHP
Keep it here for updates throughout the game at The Ballpark at Harbor Yard as the Ducks look to win the 2014 Ferry Cup title outright!
UPDATE (7:34): TOP 1: Ducks strike for three runs on three bases loaded walks by Kelvin Castro! Adam Bailey, Cody Puckett and Evan Crawford earn RBIs!
UPDATE (8:02): BOT 2: Bridgeport pulls within one on a two-run home run to left field by J.R. Towles.
UPDATE (8:32): TOP 3: The Ducks explode for six runs! RBI singles by Puckett, Harris, a two-run single for Lentini and a RBI double for Ford! Dan Lyons also scored on a wild pitch!
UPDATE (9:12): TOP 6: Another run batted in for Bailey as he brings home Ford with a double to center! 10-2 Flock!
UPDATE (9:32): BOT 6: Bluefish close to within four runs at 10-6 with a four-run sixth inning (two earned).
UPDATE (10:01): TOP 8: Ducks balloon their lead to six on a mammoth solo homer to left by Brendan Harris and a RBI single to center by Joash Brodin!
UPDATE (10:22): FINAL: Ducks win it 12-7 over the Bluefish and win the Ferry Cup Series for a second consecutive season!!
Posted on August 20, 2014, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged 2014, Adam Bailey, Atlantic League, Bill Hall, Bobby Blevins, Brandon Bantz, Bridgeport Bluefish, Cody Puckett, D.J. Mitchell, Ferry Cup Series, Jared Lansford, Kelvin Castro, Long Island Ducks, Rob Whitenack. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.