Game 113: Ducks vs. Patriots

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It might not be hyperbole to call the current stretch of games for the Long Island Ducks the most important stretch of the season. Currently, the Ducks are playing seven consecutive games against their Liberty Division rival Somerset Patriots. With under one month left in the regular season, the microscope is on each game the rest of the way. The Flock are currently five games behind the Patriots for first place in the Liberty Division with 28 games left in the season, including five against Somerset. In addition, the Ducks are currently tied with the Lancaster Barnstomers for the final Wild Card spot, if the season were to end today. For more information on the current playoff race, and the league tiebreakers, please CLICK HERE.

Last night, the Patriots won their first game against the Ducks in their last five attempts with an 8-3 victory. Long Island had previously won four straight against Somerset to draw within four games of first place in the Liberty Division. However, a sloppy game (from both sides) along with a six-run top of the fifth from the Pats led the way in the Ducks’ defeat.

Both teams exchanged runs in the first two innings of the game. A RBI groundout from Lew Ford in the first put the Flock in front before Luis Montanez tied it up on a solo home run in the second. Brendan Harris regained the Ducks’ lead on a RBI single in the third, but that was the last time the Flock would lead. Somerset brought 11 batters to the plate in the fifth, scoring six runs on five hits and a pair of fielding errors by the Ducks to take a 7-2 lead. Again, the two teams would exchange a run over the final four innings of the game to close things out with an 8-3 final.

CLICK HERE to read a full recap from Friday, complete with audio highlights and postgame interviews with Kevin Baez and Harris.

Tonight’s game will feature a very strong pitching matchup. John Brownell will toe the rubber for Long Island in his league-leading 24th start of the season. Entering tonight, Brownell is 12-7 with a 3.59 earned run average. The righty leads the Atlantic League in complete games (5) and innings pitched (160.1), while tied with teammate Shaun Garceau for the league-lead in wins (12). In addition, the third-year Duck ranks second in strikeouts (109) and tenth in ERA (3.59). While the 2013 ALCS MVP hasn’t earned a win in his last two starts, he has not allowed more than three earned runs in a start since July 23, and only one time in his last last nine starts, dating back to June 28. Brownell has only gone up against Somerset once this year, which came in the first game of the season. In that start, he received a no-decision after allowing two runs on four hits with five strikeouts over six innings.

His counterpart tonight is David Purcey, who makes his eighth appearances (seventh start) of the year for Somerset. The southpaw is 3-0 this year with a 2.01 ERA and 33 strikeouts against 16 walks over 35 and two-thirds innings of work. The first-year Patriot has won his last two starts, allowing one run over six innings each time out. That includes a nine strikeout performance against the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs in his last appearance. The former big-leaguer will be making his first appearance of the year against the Ducks tonight.

Here are tonight’s game notes:

Ducks vs. Patriots: Tonight marks the 16th meeting of the season between the Ducks and Patriots and ninth of 10 games between them on Long Island. The Ducks lead the series eight to seven and have a 5-3 lead at home. Long Island and Somerset have played 280 games against each other all-time, with the Patriots holding a 141-139 lead. However, the Ducks have a 76-68 edge at Bethpage Ballpark.

Starter Success: Despite a rough outing from Mitch Talbot on Friday, Ducks starters are still 10-2 with a 2.47 ERA (26 earned runs in 109 innings) in their last 17 games. In that span, they’ve allowed 101 hits and 28 walks while striking out 70. Dating back to August 2, the starters are 12-3 with a 2.40 ERA, allowing 36 earned runs in 135 innings.

Oh, What a Relief They Are: The Ducks bullpen allowed just one earned run over five innings on Friday night. In the last 12 games, Ducks relievers have allowed five earned runs over 30 innings (1.50 ERA). In that span, they’ve yielded 23 hits and eight walks with 24 strikeouts. Josh Lansford has allowed just two earned runs in his last 10 apperances (1.93 ERA). Rob Whitenack has given up just one run over his last four outings (1.04 ERA).

Ford’s On Fire: Lew Ford extended his hitting streak to eight consecutive games with a single on Friday. During the streak, he is batting .438 (14-for-32) with six doubles, six RBI and 10 runs scored. Ford has scored a run in six of the eight games and has reached base safely in 11 of his last 12 games.

On-Base Machine: Bill Hall extended his on-base streak to 10 consecutive games with a single and a walk on Friday. During the streak, the former big leaguer is batting .364 (12-for-33) with one double, one homer, six RBI, nine runs and nine walks. Hall has drawn a walk in six consecutive games.

Multi-Hit Nights: Brendan Harris and Dan Lyons each finished the game with two hits. Harris now has 21 two-hit and 25 multi-hit games this year, while Lyons now has 18 two-hit and 20 multi-hit contests. Harris has picked up a hit in five consecutive games, including three with multiple hits.

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. 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 – RF
#25 Brendan Harris – 3B
#20 Lew Ford – CF
#6   Bill Hall – DH
#13 Adam Bailey – LF
#2   Cody Puckett – 2B
#22 Joash Brodin – 1B
#23 Jan Vazquez – C
#12 Dan Lyons – SS

#7   John Brownell – RHP

Patriots
#13 Jeff Dominguez – RF
#5   Ty Wright – LF
#35 Daryle Ward – 1B
#15 Corey Smith – 3B
#2   Luis Montanez – CF
#21 Adam Donachie – DH
#10 Brian Barden – 2B
#37 Damaso Espino – C
#12  Edwin Maysonet – SS

#40 David Purcey – LHP

Keep it here for updates throughout the game at Bethpage Ballpark as the Ducks look to get back to their winning ways.

UPDATE (7:29): BOT 1: RBI groundout from Lew Ford puts the Flock in front 1-0! Team-leading 75th RBI of the year for Lew!

UPDATE (7:37): TOP 2: Somerset takes a 2-1 lead on consecutive two-out RBI doubles from Brian Barden and Damaso Espino

UPDATE (9:29): TOP 7: Somerset plates four runs on a pair of home runs from Montanez and Dominguez, along with a Maysonet sac fly. 6-1 Patriots

UPDATE (10:32): FINAL: The Ducks rally for two runs in the ninth, but fall to the Somerset Patriots 7-3. Recap to follow shortly.

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Posted on August 23, 2014, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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