Game 118: Ducks vs. Riversharks

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After a brief three-game series on the road against the Somerset Patriots, the Long Island Ducks return home tonight to take on the Camden Riversharks in the first game of a four-game set at Bethpage Ballpark. It marks the final four times that the Ducks and ‘Sharks will face off this season. It also comes on the heels of the Flock playing their final games against the Patriots. Long Island and Somerset have now finished their 20 games against each other this year, with the season series ending tied at 10 games apiece. In addition, the Ducks and Pats have concluded a stretch of in which the two teams played against each other in 10-of-13 games, including the last seven straight. Over that stretch, the Ducks took six of the 10 games to gain one game in the Liberty Division standings.

The Flock took the first two games of the recent series over the Patriots by a 13-2 aggregate, but failed to complete the sweep last night at TD Bank Ballpark. The Patriots 4-3 victory in the series finale prevented the Ducks’ sweep and extended Somerset’s lead in the Liberty Division to six games. The beginning of the game began similar to the first two games, as the Patriots plated three runs in the first inning but were held in check afterwards. John Brownell, making the start for Long Island, settled down after the three-run first to keep the Ducks in the ballgame.

While Brownell was pitching well, the Flock were making their comeback. A RBI groundout from Joash Brodin in the second, along with a RBI double from Dan Lyons and a run-scoring wild pitch in the seven evened the ballgame at three. Brownell exited after the seventh inning with a no-decision before Sergio Perez relinquished the tie in the eighth. Perez faced four batters, allowing one hit and two intentional walks before exiting the game with the bases loaded in favor of Eric Niesen. The first batter Niesen faced, Damaso Espino, then hit a sacrifice fly to center, scoring Ty Wright from the third base for the game-winning run.

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

Tonight, the Ducks send Bobby Blevins to the mound for his 23rd start of the year. The third-year Duck enters tonight’s ballgame 8-3 on the year with a 3.01 earned run average, good for third-best in the Atlantic League. Over 155 and one-third innings of work this year – second most in the league – Blevins has struck out 94 batters against just 25 walks. The righty has allowed more than two earned runs just one time in his last 10 starts. In three starts against Camden this year, Blevins is 2-0 with a 2.61 ERA, having allowed six earned runs over 20 and two-thirds innings.

His counterpart tonight is Riversharks southpaw Ryan Kulik, making his ninth start of the year. The first-year ‘Shark is 2-4 with a 4.75 ERA and 21 strikeouts against 17 walks in 41 and two-thirds innings pitched this season. Kulik is 0-4 in his last six starts since earning a win in his first two starts of the year. Tonight will be his first start of the year against Long Island.

Here are tonight’s game notes:

Ducks vs. Riversharks: Tonight marks the 17th meeting of the season between the Ducks and Riversharks and seventh of 10 games between them on Long Island. The Ducks lead the series 9-7 and have a 4-2 lead at home. Long Island and Camden have played 261 games against each other all-time, with the Riversharks holding a 135-126 lead overall and a 65-60 edge at Bethpage Ballpark.

Harris is Heating Up: Brendan Harris earned his first four-hit game of the season on Thursday night. The former big leaguer has now totaled 27 multi-hit games with the Ducks this year. In addition, he now has hit safely in 10 consecutive games. During the streak, Harris is batting .422 (19-for-45) with four doubles, one home run, six RBI, nine runs and four walks. He has multiple hits in five of the 10 games.

Cody’s Crushing It: Cody Puckett earned his 24th two-hit game and 38th multi-hit game with a pair of singles on Thursday. The second baseman has now hit safely in 12 of his last 14 games dating back to August 14. In those 14 games, he is batting .377 (23-for-61) with two doubles, one triple, one homer, 13 RBI and five runs. Seven of the 12 games with a hit have been multi-hit contests.

Ford’s on Fire: Lew Ford had a 12-game hitting streak snapped on Thursday night. However, he has still hit safely in 15 of his last 17 games and 18 of his last 21 games. During his 12-game hitting streak, the former big leaguer batted .447 (21-for-47) with seven doubles, one homer, 10 RBI, 14 runs and five walks. Four of the 12 games in that span were multi-hit contests, including a pair of four-hit games.

What Can Brown-ell Do For You? Despite a no-decision on Thursday, John Brownell tossed another quality start. He has now made a quality start in six of his last seven outings and 10 of his last 12. Since the start of July, the righty is 5-4 with a 3.35 ERA, allowing 31 earned runs in 83 and one-third innings of work. He leads the Atlantic League in innings pitched (173.2), complete games (5) and starts (25), is tied for the lead in wins (12) and is second in strikeouts (117), five behind Sugar Land’s Matt Wright.

Blevins on the Bump: Entering Friday, Bobby Blevins has tossed 10 consecutive quality starts dating back to July 4 against Camden. In his 10 straight quality starts, Blevins is 4-0 with a 1.61 ERA, giving up just 14 earned runs in 78 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 on Long Island’s home for news, traffic and weather 103.9 LI News Radio.Live streaming audio and video will also be available on the Ducks official YouTube channel. Fans can follow all the action by CLICKING HERE. Michael Polak and David Weiss will call the play-by-play.

Finally, here are tonight’s starting lineups:

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

#18 Bobby Blevins – RHP

#5   Brandon Chaves – SS
#10 Paddy Matera – 2B
#14 Bryan Pounds – 3B
#19 Jose Julio-Ruiz – 1B
#25 Brian Van Kirk – LF
#9   Jose Morales – C
#8   P.J. Phillips – CF
#18 Eric Perez – DH
#4   Zack MacPhee – RF

#24 Ryan Kulik – LHP

Keep it here for updates throughout the game at Bethpage Ballpark as the Ducks look to start off the series with a win!

UPDATE (7:45): BOT 2: DUCKS LEAD! Cody Puckett and Brandon Bantz hit back-to-back doubles and the Flock jump in front 1-0!

UPDATE (8:34): BOT 4: Two-run single from Dan Lyons and a RBI single from Fehlandt Lentini increase the Ducks lead to 4-0!

UPDATE (9:30): BOT 7: Two more runs come home on a pair of bases loaded walks to Adam Bailey and Cody Puckett! Ducks lead 7-0!

UPDATE (9:41): END 8: Bobby Blevins coming back out for the top of the ninth, looking to finish off the ballgame! Ducks currently leading 7-0!

UPDATE (9:49): BALLGAME!! Bobby Blevins tosses his third complete game, and first shutout of the season, as the Ducks defeat the Riversharks 7-0!


Posted on August 29, 2014, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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