Game 116: Ducks at Patriots

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The theme of today? Two.

Two games. That’s it. Only two games remaining in the 2014 regular season chapter of the Long Island Ducks – Somerset Patriots rivalry. Some would have considered it difficult for this year’s slate of games between the two Liberty Division rivals would have lived up to the historic excitement of last year’s Atlantic League Championship Series. So far, the first 18 games these two teams have played against each other has certainly fit the billing. In hindsight, the intrigue of this season’s series was easy to predict, based solely off the first game of the year. Back on April 25, the Ducks and Patriots needed over four hours and 15 innings to decide a winner. Since that point, the series has gone back-and-forth, with Long Island taking the latest installment last night at TD Bank Ballpark.

Before getting into last night’s ballgame, let’s revisit the theme of this post: two. The Ducks are currently two games behind the Lancaster Barnstormers for what would be the final playoff spot in the Atlantic League – were the playoffs to begin today. That is because the Sugar Land Skeeters are tied with both the York Revolution and Southern Maryland Blue Crabs for first in the Freedom Division, but own the tiebreaker over Southern Maryland and York has already clinched a playoff spot. Though the Blue Crabs are currently 9.5 games behind Lancaster for the Wild Card race, they have the potential to throw a wrench in the playoff race if they were to win the Freedom Division. That would take away one of the remaining two playoff spots, and leave the Ducks to duke it out against the Skeeters and Barnstormers for the final berth into the postseason. For more information on the playoff race, CLICK HERE.

Regarding last night’s game, the number two once again appears. In Long Island’s 7-1 victory over Somerset, Joash Brodin and Brendan Harris led the way offensively. Brodin smacked two home runs and added three RBI, while Harris, celebrating his 34th birthday, went 3-5 with two doubles and two runs batted in. Adam Bailey also contributed with a pair of hits and a RBI as the Ducks racked up 13 hits overall in the ballgame. On the mound, the Flock needed just two pitchers to hold the Pats to their lone run thanks to Jared Lansford’s strong start. Lansford worked eight innings, allowing just a solo home run to Cory Harrilchak in the first as the lone damage, while also striking out seven without allowing a walk. The victory ended a three-game skid for the Ducks against the Patriots.

CLICK HERE to read a full recap from Tuesday, complete with the box score and audio highlights.

Tonight, the Ducks will send Doug Arguello to the mound for his first start of the year. So far, the first-year Duck has made four relief appearances, allowing two runs (one earned) over four innings (2.25 ERA). The southpaw had previously played in the Atlantic League for Somerset in 2012 and Sugar Land last year. With the Patriots, Arguello went 6-8 with 4.35 ERA in 24 appearances (22 starts). Last season with the Skeeters, he was 2-0 in seven appearances (six starts) with a 3.68 ERA. However, the long-time Houston Astros farmhand took a loss against the Patriots in last year’s Freedom Division Championship Series, yielding five runs on four hits and three walks in three innings of work. Three of Arguello’s four relief appearances this year have come against Long Island.

His counterpart tonight is Somerset righty David Harden, who will be making his seventh appearance (sixth start) of the year. The second-year Patriot enters the ballgame 1-3 with a 4.28 ERA and 14 strikeouts against six walks in 21 innings of work. Tonight will mark Harden’s third-straight start against the Flock. The Georgia native took the loss in his last two against Long Island, both times failing to last past the fifth innings. Overall, Harden has allowed eight runs (four earned) on 10 hits in seven and one-third innings against the Ducks.

Here are tonight’s game notes:

Ducks vs. Patriots: Tonight marks the 19th meeting of the season between the Ducks and Patriots and ninth of 10 games between them in Bridgewater, N.J.. Somerset currently leads the series five games to four, however the series is tied at four at TD Bank Ballpark. Long Island and Somerset have played 283 games against each other all-time, with the Patriots holding a slim 143-140 lead and a 73-64 lead in New Jersey.

Ford’s On Fire: Lew Ford extended his hitting streak to 11 consecutive games with a single on Tuesday. During the streak, he is batting .378 (17-for-45) with one home run, six doubles, nine RBI and 12 runs scored. Ford has scored a run in eight of the 11 games and has reached base safely in 14 of his last 15 games. The former big leaguer is now tied for third in the Atlantic League with 77 RBI (Eric Patterson, York).

Mashing from Both Sides of the Plate: Joash Brodin hit two home runs on Tuesday for his first multi-homer game of the year. The last time Brodin went deep twice in the same game was on July 19, 2013 against the Camden Riversharks at Bethpage Ballpark. In addition, the switch-hitter hit a home run from both sides of the plate last night. The third-year Duck now has nine home runs overall, including four in the last 10 days. It marked the second-straight game in which a Duck player hit two home runs in the same game (Sunday, Adam Bailey).

Lansford Lifts Long Island: With eight innings of one-run ball on Tuesday, Jared Lansford earned his third-straight win. The third-year Duck has now gone at least eight innings in his last two starts against Somerset, and has only lost one time in his last 13 starts (August 4 vs York). The reigning Atlantic League Pitcher of the Month in July ranks fourth in the league in earned run average (3.10).

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
#14 Brandon Bantz – C
#12 Dan Lyons – SS

#35 Doug Arguello – LHP

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

#25 David Harden – RHP

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

UPDATE (7:21): TOP 1: DUCKS LEAD! RBI double from Lew Ford and a sac fly from Bill Hall puts the Flock in front 2-0!

UPDATE (7:36): BOT 1: A two-out rally, topped off by a RBI single from Luis Montanez, cuts the Ducks lead in half. Flock still in front, 2-1.

UPDATE (7:47): TOP 2: A RBI triple from Brandon Bantz in his first at bat since returning to the lineup increased the Ducks lead to 3-1!

UPDATE (8:07): TOP 3: RBI infield single from Brandon Bantz extends the Ducks lead to 4-1! Two RBI for the former big leaguer!

UPDATE (8:59): END 5: Ducks continue to lead 4-1! Doug Arguello’s night is done after 4 IP, 1 R, 5 H, 1 BB, 4 K!

UPDATE (9:52): END 8: Ducks still in front 4-1! Four different relievers (Zimmerman, Lorin, Organ and Niesen) have tosed four-straight scoreless innings!

UPDATE (10:09): TOP 9: The Flock extend their lead to 6-1 on a two-run single from Adam Bailey! Bailey now tied w/Lew Ford for the team lead w/ 78 RBI!

UPDATE (10:17): BALLGAME!! David Kopp strikes out three in the ninth and the Ducks take the second game of the series 6-1!

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Posted on August 27, 2014, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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