Game 115: Ducks at Patriots

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The Long Island Ducks enjoyed a needed off day on Monday after dropping its last three games to the Liberty Division rival Somerset Patriots. Now, well rested, the Flock have migrated off the Island and over to Bridgewater, N.J. to complete the second leg of a seven-game set against the Patriots. While the next three games are the final three these long-time rivals will play against each other in the 2014 regular season, they also represent three of the most important games of the year for the Ducks. Currently seven games behind Somerset for first place in the Liberty Division second half standings, this upcoming three-game series offers Long Island its best opportunity to gain ground and stay alive in the division race. As for the wild card, entering tonight’s slate of games the Ducks are two behind both the Lancaster Barnstormers and the Sugar Land Skeeters for the two remaining playoff positions. For more specifics on the Ducks’ playoff push, please CLICK HERE.

It has certainly been an interesting season series between the Ducks and the Patriots, to say the least. Currently, Somerset leads the series nine games to eight, thanks to taking three-of-four from Long Island in the last four games at Bethpage Ballpark. That said, the Flock had at one point won four consecutive games over the Pats after taking the series opener 3-1 on Thursday. The story of the Ducks’ three-straight losses to the Patriots after Thursday: early leads lost by big, late inning rallies. Long Island held an early lead in each of the past three games, only to fall in each game thanks to multiple-run rallies late in the game by Somerset. That was on display once again Sunday evening, as a 2-0 lead after the first inning (and a 5-4 lead after the fifth) turned into an 8-5 defeat.

In that game, Adam Bailey gave Long Island a 2-0 lead in the first inning with a two-run blast. After both teams exchanged a run over the next four innings, Patriots outfielder Ty Wright tied the ballgame at three in the top of the fifth on a two-run single.  The Ducks then momentarily regained the lead on a Lew Ford solo home run the next half inning, only to once again see a late Somerset rally doom their chances at a win. Somerset plated five runs in the eighth, highlighted by a Cory Harrilchak three-run home run, to take an 8-4 lead. Bailey’s second homer of the game in the ninth brought Long Island within three, but Jon Hunton forced Evan Crawford to ground into a game-ending double-play to secure the Patriots win, and his Atlantic League single-season record-setting 41st save of the year.

CLICK HERE to read a full recap from Sunday, complete with audio highlights and postgame interviews with Kevin Baez and Adam Bailey.

Tonight, Long Island will send Jared Lansford to the mound for his 21st start of the year. The third-year Duck enters tonight’s ballgame 6-4 on the season with a 3.22 earned run average – good for fifth in the Atlantic League. In 125 and two-thirds innings of work this season, Lansford has struck out an impressive 97 batters (fifth most in the league) against just 33 walks. The righty has won his last two starts, and has only lost once in his previous 12 starts dating back to June 16. In three starts against the Patriots this season, Lansford is 1-1 with a 3.00 ERA over 21 innings of work (seven earned runs). That includes a complete game, two-run effort against the Pats at the Duck Pond on August 15.

His counterpart at TD Bank Ballpark tonight is Somerset southpaw Matt Maloney. The first-year Patriot is 8-6 on the year with a 3.04 earned run average. That ERA ranks Maloney fourth in the league. In 17 starts this year, the former big leaguer has struck out 68 batters against 23 walks over 106 and one-third innings of work. In three starts against Long Island this year, Maloney is 1-2 with a 2.97 ERA (six earned runs over 18 and one-third innings), including a seven-inning complete game loss in the front end of a doubleheader in Bridgewater on June 14.

Here are tonight’s game notes:

Ducks vs. Patriots: Tonight marks the 18th meeting of the season between the Ducks and Patriots and eighth of 10 games between them in Bridgewater, N.J.. Somerset currently leads the series five games to four, including a four-to-three advantage at TD Bank Ballpark. Long Island and Somerset have played 282 games against each other all-time, with the Patriots holding a 143-139 lead and a 73-63 lead in New Jersey.

Ford’s On Fire: Lew Ford extended his hitting streak to 10 consecutive games with a home run on Sunday. During the streak, he is batting .400 (16-for-40) with one home run, six doubles, nine RBI and 11 runs scored. Ford has scored a run in seven of the 10 games and has reached base safely in 13 of his last 14 games. The former big leaguer is now tied for third in the Atlantic League with 77 RBI (Eric Patterson, York).

Cody’s Crushing It: With three hits on Sunday, Cody Puckett has now hit safely in 11 straight games. During the 11 games, the first-year Duck is batting .438 (21-for-48) with two doubles, one triple, one homer, 12 RBI and four runs scored. In addition, the three-hit game marked Puckett’s 12th three-hit game and 37th multi-hit game of the season.

Crawford’s Hot Start: With a single on Sunday, Evan Crawford has now hit safely in 10 of his first 11 games with the Ducks while reaching base safely in all 11. The 26 year-old is batting .421 (16-for-38) through the 11 games with two doubles, three runs batted in, seven runs scored and five stolen bases

Bailey Goes Yard, Pt. Deux: With two home runs on Sunday, Adam Bailey leads the team and ranks third in the Atlantic League with 17 homers this season. It was Bailey’s first multi-home run game of the year. In addition, he picked up his 22nd two-hit game and 33rd multi-hit contest of the year. Bailey also drove in three runs on the night for his team-leading fifth three-RBI game and 20th multi-RBI game overall this season.

Blevins on the Bump: With seven innings of three-run ball, Bobby Blevins has now tossed 10 consecutive quality starts. In his 10 straight quality starts, Blevins is 4-0 with a 1.55 ERA, allowing just 14 earned runs in 81 and one-thirds innings of work. In that span, he has yielded 67 hits and just nine walks while striking out 39. Blevins has not walked a single batter in six of those 10 starts and has walked just four in his last 56 and two-third 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
#22 Joash Brodin – 1B
#23 Jan Vazquez – C
#12 Dan Lyons – SS

#21 Jared Lansford – RHP

Patriots
#8   Cory Harrilchak – CF
#5   Ty Wright – LF
#35 Daryle Ward – DH
#15 Corey Smith – 3B
#2   Luis Montanez – RF
#10 Brian Barden – 1B
#37 Damaso Espino – C
#12  Edwin Maysonet – SS
#1    Scott Kelly – 2B

#22 Matt Maloney – LHP

Keep it here for updates throughout the game at TD Bank Ballpark as the Ducks look to end their losing skid and get back to their winning ways!

UPDATE (7:18): TOP 1: A RBI single from Adam Bailey gives the Ducks a 1-0 lead! Stay on Twitter for updates as we fix our broadcast difficulties.

UPDATE (7:31): BOT 1: A Cory Harrilchak solo home run evens the ballgame at one. Follow all the action here:

UPDATE (7:52): The broadcast for tonight’s game is now LIVE! We apologize for the delay. Ducks lead 2-1, bottom of the third!

UPDATE (8:28): TOP 5: Joash Brodin with a two-run homer, his eighth of the year, to extend the Flock lead to 5-1!

UPDATE (9:21): TOP 8: BRODIN AGAIN! Joash hits his second homer of the ballgame, this time a solo shot, to increase the Ducks lead to 6-1!

UPDATE (9:43): TOP 9: Ducks add an insurance run on a Cody Puckett sac fly! Flock in front 7-1! Lansford’s night done after 8 IP, 1 R, 8 H, 0 BB, 7 K!

UPDATE (9:54): BALLGAME! Long Island takes the series opener over the Somerset Patriots 7-1! Brodin w/ 2 HR, Harris w/ 2 RBI, Lansford 8 strong innings!

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Posted on August 26, 2014, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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