Game 126: Ducks at Skeeters

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(Don’t worry folks, the rain has departed since the above picture was taken. But you can’t beat that rainbow!)

The Long Island Ducks have now won a season-high eight games in a row after the doubleheader sweep of the Sugar Land Skeeters last night in Texas. In addition, the Ducks are also now a season-high 15 games above .500 with a 75-60. The previous high was 14 games, set back in early July. Immediately after that win streak, Long Island proceeded to drop its next 13 games in a row. This time around, however, the Flock are playing arguably their best baseball of the season, having taken the first four games of a seven-game series in Sugar Land.

Last night, Long Island took both games of a doubleheader over the Skeeters. While game one lasted a little longer than anticipated, the end result was still favorable for the Flock. The Ducks took an early lead with a three-run third inning, and again led 4-1 through five innings before a three-run rally by Sugar Land in the bottom of the sixth inning tied things at four. Both teams exchanged runs in the seventh inning to set up extra innings. The game remained tied until the top of the 11th when a run-scoring wild pitch gave the Ducks the lead for good.

Game two was a bit more consolidated, but still yielded the same result. This time around, Bob Zimmermann was the star of the game. Making the spot start (and just third start of the year), the fourth-year Duck was excellent, tossing five innings of shutout ball. Three other relievers (Josh Lansford, Tommy Organ and Sergio Perez) combined to keep the Skeeters off the board for a quick seven-inning, five-hit shutout. Included in the win were recent acquisition C.J. Retherford’s first home run as a Duck and a two-out, two-run triple from Brandon Bantz.

With the two wins, the Ducks now find themselves in a playoff spot, a game up on the Skeeters for the final wild card spot. However, because one of the games from last night counts towards the Ducks’ first half record, not second half record, the Flock remain a half-game behind the Somerset Patriots for first place in the Liberty Division with 15 games left to play.

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

Tonight, the Ducks send Jared Lansford to the mound for his 23rd start of the season. The third-year Duck enters the ballgame 8-4 with a clean 3.00 earned run average and 109 strikeouts against 35 walks over 140 and two-thirds inning pitched. Lansford has won each of his last four starts, allowing just one earned run in three of those four starts. The Atlantic League Pitcher of the Month for July has only lost once in his last 14 starts, dating back to June 16. In two starts against Sugar Land this season, Lansford is 2-0 with a 1.06 ERA, having allowed two runs over 17 innings with 15 strikeouts to one walk.

Matt Wright was originally scheduled to toe the rubber for the Skeeters, but he has been scratched from today’s start due to upper body soreness. Delgado last pitched on Tuesday night, tossing one and one-third scoreless innings against the Ducks, allowing just one hit. He has a 3-2 record overall this year with a 3.10 ERA through 40 games (three starts). His last start was on Saturday, August 30 in Bridgeport, and he took a no-decision, allowing two runs on four hits while striking out one over three innings. Delgado has a 2.84 ERA in five games against Long Island this year, yielding two runs on four hits and three walks with four strikeouts in six and one-third innings.

Here are tonight’s game notes:

Ducks vs. Skeeters: Tonight marks the 18th meeting of the season between the Ducks and Skeeters and eighth of 10 games between them in Texas. The Ducks lead the series 13-4 and have a 6-1 lead on the road. Long Island and Sugar Land have played 57 games against each other all-time, with the Skeeters holding a 30-27 lead overall and a 17-10 advantage at Constellation Field.

Starter Domination: Ducks starters have been outstanding during Long Island’s season-high eight-game winning streak. Following starts from Shaun Garceau and Bob Zimmermann on Thursday, Ducks starters have combined to post a 1.51 ERA during the streak, yielding just nine earned runs over 53.2 innings of work. They have also combined to allow just 46 hits and 7 walks while striking out 29.

Twinbill Success: With two wins in Thursday’s doubleheader, the Ducks improved to 13-5 this season in doubleheader games. It marked the second time this year the Ducks swept a doubleheader from the Skeeters after taking both games of a day/night twinbill at Bethpage Ballpark on June 21. Long Island is 8-2 in doubleheader games played on the road this season.

Harris is Heating Up: With hits in both games of Thursday’s twinbill, Brendan Harris extended his hitting streak to 18 consecutive games. During the streak, Harris is batting .397 (29-for-73) with five doubles, two home runs, 11 RBI, 18 runs and 11 walks. He has multiple hits in seven of the 18 games.

Cody’s Crushing It: Cody Puckett had another hit in game two on Thursday and has now hit safely in 19 of his last 22 games. In those 22 games, he’s batting .360 (32-for-89) with six doubles, one triple, one homer, 18 RBI and seven runs. Nine of the 19 games with a hit have been multi-hit contests.

Bailey’s Bashing the Ball: Adam Bailey collected hits in both games on Thursday, and he has now hit safely in 12 of his last 13 games, earning multiple hits in eight of them. In those 13 games, Bailey is batting .404 (21-for-52) with two doubles, three homers, 11 RBI and seven runs and six walks.

Hot Start: C.J. Retherford has picked up three multi-hit games in his first four games with the Ducks. The infielder has seven hits in his first 16 at-bats with two RBI, four runs and two walks. Retherford hit his first Ducks homer with a solo blast to left field in the second inning of game two on Thursday.

RBI Machine: Lew Ford drove in three runs in game one of Thursday’s doubleheader. The former big leaguer now has 87 RBI this season, which leads the Atlantic League.

On the Air: Tonight’s ballgame with be broadcast on Long Island’s home for news, traffic and weather 103.9 FM LI News Radio. Fans can also follow all of the action online by CLICKING HERE. Michael Polak will call the play-by-play.

Finally, here are tonight’s starting lineups.

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

#21 Jared Lansford – RHP

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

#19 Ramon Delgado – RHP

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

UPDATE (7:38): BOT 2: Skeeters get the first run of the game on a solo homer to left-center by Denny Almonte.

UPDATE (8:10): BOT 4: Skeeters extend the lead to 2-0 on a run-scoring passed ball with two outs that plates Almonte.

UPDATE (8:36): TOP 6: Ducks get on the scoreboard! C.J. Retherford delivers a two-out RBI single to left field that plates Brendan Harris!

UPDATE (9:33): END 8: Eric Niesen comes in with the bases loaded and two out and strikes out Travis Scott to keep it a 2-1 game! Final line for Jared Lansford: 7.2 IP, 5 H, 2 R, 1 ER, 3 BB, 4 K, 116 pitches, 71 strikes

UPDATE (9:43): FINAL: Skeeters win 2-1. Close call at home plate goes against the Ducks on Hall’s grounder to short. Would have tied the game.

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Posted on September 5, 2014, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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