Games 124/125: Ducks at Skeeters

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The Ducks continued their winning ways on Wednesday night, using a two-out rally in the 10th inning to top the Skeeters 3-2. Long Island’s victory was their sixth in a row, and moved the Flock back to their overall high water mark this season at 13 games over .500. The Ducks have frequently commented over the past couple weeks how every game at this point is essentially a playoff game for them. Well, they are certainly playing like a team that wants to defend their back-to-back Atlantic League titles.

On Wednesday night, Bobby Blevins was brilliant once again on the mound. For the second time this year in Sugar Land, he allowed just four hits over seven innings, only this time, he did not allow a single run. The right-hander walked just two batters and struck out four, displaying the control and success that has enabled him to be so reliable this year. His biggest jam was in the fifth, when he allowed a walk and hit a batter with one out in the frame, but he struck out Adam Godwin and retired Travis Scott on a ground out to escape trouble. He was unfortunately denied a win when Kris Regas allowed a game-tying two-run homer in the eighth to Delwyn Young, but the strong start and eventual Ducks win is what matters most.

Offensively, the Ducks racked up 10 hits in the game against Clint Everts and the Skeeters bullpen and consistently threatened to put up big innings. Despite leaving 12 men on base, the Ducks still managed to pull out the victory thanks to a rare rough night for the Skeeters defense. In the first inning, Fehlandt Lentini stole second base and moved to third when Travis Scott’s throw went into center field. He would score later in that at-bat on a ground out by Brendan Harris. Then in the sixth, Harris would score from third when Cody Puckett’s grounder to Michael Rockett at third was booted for an error.  The biggest break of all would come in the 10th when the Ducks mounted a two-out rally. C.J. Retherford reached on a liner to short that Dominic Ramos couldn’t scoop out of the dirt. Then, after a single by Puckett and a walk by Brandon Bantz, Joash Brodin was hit by a two-strike pitch from Brian Broderick to force home the eventual winning run.

Long Island’s biggest break outside of Texas came in Lancaster on Wednesday night when the Barnstormers rallied from a 12-1 deficit to the Somerset Patriots for a 14-12 win in 12 innings. It was a stunning comeback for a Lancaster team desperately seeking the Second Half Freedom Division title. The Ducks win and Patriots loss trimmed Long Island’s deficit in the Liberty Division standings to just half a game. In addition, Lancaster now leads the Freedom Division by a game over Sugar Land, dropping the Skeeters into a potential wild card spot. The Ducks still trail the Skeeters by a game in the wild card race, but the Flock did guarantee themselves the head-to-head tiebreaker over Sugar Land by winning their 11th game of the season against them last night.

CLICK HERE to read the full recap from Wednesday’s game, complete with audio highlights. CLICK HERE to get a full breakdown of the Ducks’ playoff scenarios.

Tonight, the Ducks and Skeeters will play a single admission doubleheader at Constellation Field, featuring two seven inning games. Shaun Garceau will start for the Ducks in game one, looking to become the first Atlantic League pitcher to 14 wins this season. He enters at 13-3 with a 4.73 ERA thus far. Garceau has won five consecutive starts for the second time this season and has a 2.23 ERA in that span. He’ll be opposed by Sean Gallagher, who is just 1-4 with a 5.19 ERA in 2014. The righty earned a win his last time out, allowing just two runs over five and two-thirds innings on six hits and four walks with five strikeouts.

Game two will feature Bob Zimmermann for the Ducks. The righty reliever will make his 15th appearance and third of the season and enters with a 2-2 record and a 4.17 ERA. His last start came in game two of a doubleheader on July 27 at Bridgeport, and Zimmermann tossed six innings of one-run ball, allowing just five hits. He last pitched on Monday night, retiring all four batters he faced to close out the four-game sweep of Camden.  He’ll be opposed by Dan Meadows, who will make his 18th appearance and sixth start of 2014. He is 2-4 with a 4.07 ERA to this point. The southpaw lost his last start, which came on August 22 against Southern Maryland. In that outing, he allowed four runs on five hits and two walks with three strikeouts over three and two-thirds innings.

Here are tonight’s game notes:

Ducks vs. Skeeters: Tonight marks the 16th meeting of the season between the Ducks and Skeeters and sixth of 10 games between them in Texas. The Ducks lead the series 11-4 and have a 4-1 lead on the road. Long Island and Sugar Land have played 55 games against each other all-time, with the Skeeters holding a 30-25 lead overall and a 17-8 advantage at Constellation Field.

Starter Domination: Ducks starters have been outstanding during Long Island’s six-game winning streak. After Bobby Blevins tossed seven scoreless innings on Wednesday, Ducks starters have combined to post a 1.02 ERA during the streak, yielding just five earned runs over 44 innings of work. They have also combined to allow just 35 hits and 5 walks while striking out 24 batters.

Blevins on the Bump: Despite earning a no-decision on Wednesday, Bobby Blevins tossed his 12th consecutive quality start. During those 12 starts, the right-hander is 5-0 with a 1.34 ERA, allowing just 14 earned runs in 94.1 innings of work. In that span, he has also yielded 77 hits and 11 walks while striking out 48. Blevins has not walked a batter in seven of those 12 starts.

Harris is Heating Up: With a single on Wednesday, Brendan Harris extended his hitting streak to 16 consecutive games. During the streak, Harris is batting .397 (27-for-68) with five doubles, two home runs, 10 RBI, 16 runs and nine walks. He has multiple hits in seven of the 16 games.

Cody’s Crushing It: Cody Puckett had another hit on Wednesday and has now hit safely in 18 of his last 20 games. In those 20 games, he’s batting .361 (30-for-83) with five doubles, one triple, one homer, 18 RBI and six runs. Eight of the 18 games with a hit have been multi-hit contests.

Bailey’s Bashing the Ball: Adam Bailey collected two hits on Wednesday, and he has now hit safely in 10 of his last 11 games, earning multiple hits in eight of them. In those 11 games, Bailey is batting .432 (19-for-44) with two doubles, three homers, 10 RBI and seven runs and six walks.

Hot Start: C.J. Retherford has picked up back-to-back multi-hit games in his first two games with the Ducks. The infielder has four hits in his first nine at-bats with a run batted in, two runs scored and a walk. Retherford totaled 39 multi-hit games this season with the Fargo-Moorhead Redhawks.

Off to the Races: Fehlandt Lentini (45) and Dan Lyons (13) both stole a base on Wednesday. Neither have been caught stealing this year. Lentini’s 45 steals rank second in the league (Wilson Valdez, 48).

On the Air: Tonight’s doubleheader will be broadcast with live streaming audio on the Ducks official YouTube channel. Fans can follow all the action for both games by CLICKING HERE. Michael Polak will call the play-by-play.

Finally, here are tonight’s starting lineups for game one:

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

#28 Shaun Garceau – RHP

Skeeters
#41 Adam Godwin – CF
#9   Rene Tosoni – 1B
#24 Delwyn Young – 2B
#16 Travis Scott – DH
#14 Denny Almonte – LF
#4   Dominic Ramos – SS
#7   Todd Jennings – C
#2   Michael Rockett – 3B
#6   Bridger Hunt – RF

#36 Sean Gallagher – RHP

Keep it here for updates throughout the game as the Ducks look to move into first place in the Liberty Division!

UPDATE (6:49): TOP 3: Ducks strike for three runs! Brendan Harris lifted a sac fly to right, and Lew Fordfollowed with a mammoth two-run homer to left!

UPDATE (7:17): BOT 4: Sugar Land gets on the scoreboard on Michael Rockett’s RBI single to right, but Garceau leaves the bases loaded. Ducks lead 3-1.

UPDATE (7:31): TOP 5: Ducks get the run back on a two-out RBI single to right by Adam Bailey! 4-1 Flock!

UPDATE (8:07): BOT 6: Skeeters tie the game at four on a RBI single by Adam Godwin and a two-run single by Rene Tosoni.

UPDATE (8:17): TOP 7: Ducks get the lead back on a RBI single to left by Ford! 5-4 Long Island in front!

UPDATE (8:28): BOT 7: Skeeters re-tie the score, again with two outs. Ryan Langerhans doubled, and Rockett singled him home. 5-5 as we go to extras.

UPDATE (9:18): MID 10: Both teams remain tied at five. Each side has threatened to score in extra innings, but neither has pushed across a run.

UPDATE (9:44): TOP 11: Ducks get the lead back on a wild pitch from Jared Wells that scores Brendan Harris! 6-5 Flock!

UPDATE (9:58): FINAL: After first two reach, Lambin strikes out on a bunt, and Josh Lansford gets Rockett to line into a game-ending double play! Ducks win 6-5! Game two coming up shortly.

UPDATE (10:09): Here are the starting lineups for game two:

Ducks
#24 Fehlandt Lentini – CF
#25 Brendan Harris – 3B
#20 Lew Ford – DH
#13 Adam Bailey – LF
#11 C.J. Retherford – 1B
#2   Cody Puckett – 2B
#14 Brandon Bantz – C
#23 Jan Vazquez – C
#12 Dan Lyons – SS

#43 Bob Zimmermann – RHP

Skeeters
#41 Adam Godwin – CF
#5   Chase Lambin – DH
#24 Delwyn Young – 1B
#16 Travis Scott – C
#9   Rene Tosoni – RF
#4   Dominic Ramos – SS
#14 Denny Almonte – LF
#2   Michael Rockett – 3B
#6   Bridger Hunt – 2B

#35 Dan Meadows – LHP

UPDATE (10:41): END 1: No score after one in game two as Bob Zimmermann gets Travis Scott to hit into an inning-ending double play.

UPDATE (10:51): TOP 2: C.J. Retherford launches his first homer as a Duck! His solo blast to left gives the Flock a 1-0 lead!

UPDATE (11:25): TOP 4: Ducks extend the lead to 3-0 on a two-out, two-run triple to left by Brandon Bantz!

UPDATE (12:10): END 6: Great job by Tommy Organ! He works out of a first and second, one-out jam in the sixth to keep the Ducks up by 3!

UPDATE (12:28): FINAL: Sergio Perez strands two on base in the seventh inning, and the Ducks sweep the doubleheader with a 3-0 shutout in game two!

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Posted on September 4, 2014, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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