Game 120: Ducks vs. Riversharks

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Life is good when you are getting good starting pitching, and right now, life is good for the Long Island Ducks. The Flock have won four of their last five games entering today’s Sunday Family Funday affair against the Camden Riversharks. That includes taking the first two games of the this four-game series against the ‘Sharks at Bethpage Ballpark thanks in large part to strong starting pitching. Friday night it was Bobby Blevins who led the way with a complete game, seven-hit shutout in the 7-0 Ducks victory. Last night, Shaun Garceau picked up where Blevins left off, yielding one run over seven innings on seven hits while striking four. Dating back to John Brownell’s start on Thursday night against the Somerset Patriots, Ducks starting pitchers have not allowed a walk in their last three starts (23 innings pitched).

The offense has not been too shabby of late for the Ducks either. Long Island has outscored Camden 12-1 over the last two games, while the Flock outscored the Patriots 16-6 in the previous three-game series at TD Bank Ballpark earlier this week. Brendan Harris is currently riding a 12-game hitting streak, while six other Ducks (Fehlandt Lentini, Lew Ford, Adam Bailey, Cody Puckett, Brandon Bantz and Joash Brodin) have experienced a great deal of success over the last two weeks at the plate as well.

This combination of strong pitching and strong hitting has led the Ducks to their most successful month of the season. Entering tonight’s ballgame, the Flock are 17-11 in August, which is tied for the most wins they have had in a single month this year. With this strong month, the Ducks currently find themselves just four games back of the Patriots for first place in the Liberty Division and three games behind the Lancaster Barnstormers for first place in the Wild Card standings with 21 games left in the regular season.  This all coming as an impressive turnaround for a team which lost 13 consecutive games at one point in July.

Last night, Long Island defeated Camden 5-1 thanks in large part to Garceaus impressive outing and a stellar game from Ford. The Ducks hitting coach and starting center fielder went 2-3 yesterday with a two-run home run, one run scored and three runs batted in. The Riversharks never led in the game, as their lone run came on a run-scoring fielder’s choice in the top of the fourth to trim their deficit at the time to 3-1. Scoreless innings of relief from Brett Lorin and David Kopp finished off the ballgame and gave the Ducks their fifth consecutive win at home against the ‘Sharks.

CLICK HERE to read a full recap from Friday, complete with the audio highlights and postgame comments from Kevin Baez, Garceau and Ford.

Jared Lansford makes his 22nd start of the season for the Ducks tonight, looking to continue this trend of strong starting pitching. The third-year Duck is 7-4 this season with a 3.09 earned run average and 104 strikeouts against just 33 walks in 133 and two-thirds innings of work. Lansford has won his last three starts while striking out 19 batters against just two walks over his last 23 innings of work. That includes a complete game effort in his last start at the Duck Pond on August 15 against the Somerset Patriots. In that start, the righty allowed two runs (one earned) on seven hits and one walk with eight strikeouts in nine innings. In three starts against Camden this year, Lansford has not factored into a decision despite allowing just six earned runs over 18 and two-thirds innings (2.89 ERA). That includes eight innings of shutout ball with a season-high nine strikeouts in Camden on July 30.

On the other end, the Riversharks will send Pedro Liriano to the mound for his 24th appearance (19th start) of the year. Liriano made one relief appearance with the Bridgeport Bluefish to begin the season before making his way over to Camden. Overall, the first-year ‘Shark is 1-9 with a 5.72 ERA this season. The Dominican countrman’s lone win this season came on August 10 at Bridgeport. In four starts against the Ducks this season, Liriano is 0-1 with a 3.00 ERA, having allowed eight runs on 24 innings. That includes seven innings of one-run ball on June 19 in Camden.

Here are tonight’s game notes:

Ducks vs. Riversharks: Tonight marks the 19th meeting of the season between the Ducks and Riversharks and ninth of 10 games between them on Long Island. The Ducks lead the series 11-7 and have a 6-2 lead at home. Long Island and Camden have played 263 games against each other all-time, with the Riversharks holding a 135-128 lead overall and a 65-62 edge at Bethpage Ballpark.

Go Go Garceau: Shaun Garceau earned his league-leading 13th win on Saturday. The righty has now won each of his last five starts, allowing just eight earned runs in 32 and one-third innings (2.23 ERA) in that span. He also won five straight starts from June 4 to 26. In addition, Garceau did not allow a walk, marking the third consecutive game in which a Ducks starter did not walk a batter (23 innings).

Harris is Heating Up: With a double in the fifth inning on Saturday, Brendan Harris extended his hitting streak to 12 consecutive games. During the streak, Harris is batting .404 (21-for-52) with five doubles, one home run, six RBI, 11 runs and five walks. He has multiple hits in five of the 12 games.

Ford’s on Fire: With two hits on Saturday, Lew Ford earned his team-leading 45th multi-hit game of the year. He has now hit safely in 17 of his last 19 games and 20 of his last 23 contests. Over his last 19 games, the former big leaguer is batting .395 (30-for-76) with 10 doubles, two homers, 15 RBI, 18 runs and five walks. In addition, Ford drove in three runs for his 17th multi-RBI game of the year. The fifth-year Duck is third in the Atlantic League in RBI with 81, three behind Lancaster’s Cole Garner.

Cody’s Crushing It: Cody Puckett earned a single on Saturday and has now hit safely in 14 of his last 16 games dating back to August 14. In those 16 games, he’s batting .368 (25-for-68) with three doubles, one triple, one homer, 14 RBI and six runs. Seven of the 14 games have been multi-hit contests.

Fehlandt’s Fury: Fehlandt Lentini had two hits on Saturday and has now hit safely in 13 of his last 14 games. Over the last 14 games, he is batting .324 (21-for-61) with two doubles, one home run, four RBI and 11 runs. In addition, he stole his 43rd stolen base of the year and remains perfect on the basepaths this season. Lentini ranks second in the league in steals, one behind Wilson Valdez (York).

Faithful Flock: Saturday’s crowd of 7,033 was the Ducks’ 11th past-capacity crowd of the season. Long Island has now hosted 638 sold out crowds all-time, an Atlantic League record. In addition, the attendance was the second-largest at Bethpage Ballpark this season (7,075, July 4 vs. Camden).

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. Marc Schwartz will call the play-by-play.

Finally, here are tonight’s starting lineups:

Ducks
#24 Fehlandt Lentini – CF
#25 Brendan Harris – 3B
#20 Lew Ford – DH
#13 Adam Bailey – LF
#2   Cody Puckett – 2B
#29 Evan Crawford – RF
#22 Joash Brodin – 1B
#23 Jan Vazquez – C
#12 Dan Lyons – SS

#21 Jared Lansford – RHP

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

#27 Pedro Liriano – RHP

Keep it here for updates throughout the game at Bethpage Ballpark as the Ducks look to make it three straight wins over Camden!

UPDATE (5:51): BOT 2: DUCKS LEAD! Brendan Harris with a two-out, two-RBI single up the middle to put the Flock in front 2-0!

UPDATE (6:14): We have officially entered a rain delay at the Duck Pond. Ducks lead 2-0, top of the fourth. Stay tuned for further updates on the weather.

UPDATE (6:29): Back underway at Bethpage Ballpark! Lansord quickly gets the final two outs of the inning! Moving to bottom of the fourth, Ducks lead 2-0! Officially a 12-minute rain delay.

UPDATE (7:03): TOP 6: The Riversharks scratch together a run on a Jose Julio-Ruiz RBI groundout. Ducks still lead 2-1!

UPDATE (7:16): BOT 6: LENTINI AGAIN! Fehlandt Lentini w. a two-run blast, his second in as many nights and sixth of the year, puts the Flock in front 4-1!

UPDATE (7:38): BOT 7: Adam Bailey with a MAMMOTH solo home run, his team-leading 18th of the season, to increase the Ducks lead to four!

UPDATE (8:00): BOT 8: RBI single from Fehlandt Lentini, his third RBI of the ballgame, extends the Ducks lead to 6-1!

UPDATE (8:09): BALLGAME!! The Ducks defeat the Riversharks 6-1 for their third straight win! Jared Lansford has now win four consecutive starts!

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Posted on August 31, 2014, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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