Game 136: Ducks vs. Barnstormers

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The Long Island Ducks return to action tonight at Bethpage Ballpark for the fifth-to-last game of the 2014 regular season. Also, it is Bark in the Park night at the Duck Pond! With under a week left in the season, all of the games at the Duck Pond are becoming even more exciting. Last night’s ballgame against the Lancaster Barnstormers featured another nail-biter between the two teams that have been among the most productive in the league all season long. Despite Lancaster now holding a 12-6 advantage in the season series, there have been some memorable games between these teams. That includes the Ducks’ three-run ninth inning rally on May 9 in Lancaster to win a 10-8 thriller, and of course the Flock’s 19-3 drubbing of the ‘Stormers on the road on May 28.

Last night’s game followed suit in the trend of exciting games between these two teams, though this time it went Lancaster’s way. The Barnstormers were in control of the game early, taking a 3-0 lead through the top of the sixth on RBI doubles from Juan Apodaca in the second, Lance Zawadzki in the fourth and Gabe Jacobo in the sixth. Meanwhile, ‘Stormers starter Dan Osterbrock was dominant in the early goings, having only allowed two hits while striking out six through his first five innings.However, the tide turned in the bottom of the fifth when Lew Ford got the Ducks on the scoreboard in the bottom of the sixth on a sacrifice fly to deep right field. Ducks’ starter Shaun Garceau followed in the top of the seventh with a 1-2-3 inning to set the table for Long Island’s comeback.

The Flock did just that, as a solo home run from Adam Bailey – his team-leading 20th of the season – and an RBI single from Fehlandt Lentini in the bottom of the seventh evened up the ballgame at three. Long Island carried the momentum through a scoreless eighth inning, despite Ford drawing a lead-off walk and the Ducks twice having the winning run on base. The Barnstormers capitalized in the ninth, taking the lead for good on a two-out, two-run single from Blake Gailen. It marked another close loss for the Ducks this year, and another exciting chapter in the story between these two teams this season.

CLICK HERE to view the full recap from Tuesday’s game, complete with audio highlights and postgame comments from Kevin Baez and Shaun Garceau.

Gearing towards tonight, the Flock will send Jared Lansford to the mound for his 25th start of the season. The third-year Duck, and first-year starting pitcher, has continued his strong play all season long, carrying an 8-5 record alongside a 3.03 earned run average and 116 strikeouts against 40 walks in 154 and one-third innings pitched. Lansford’s ERA ranks third in the Atlantic League, while his strikeouts rank fifth. The righty made his first start of the season (and first start since 2008) against Lancaster on May 10th, tossing three shutout innings on two hits while striking out five. Overall against the ‘Stormers, Lansford is 0-1 in three starts with a 3.12 ERA (six earned runs in 17 and one-third innings).

He will work against Shunsuke Watanabe tonight, who toes the rubber for his 38th appearance (15th start) of the year. The first-year ‘Stormer is 8-2 this year with a 3.42 ERA and 84 strikeouts against just 28 walks in 113 and one-third innings of work. Watanabe has not lost since July 3 at Somerset, and has not allowed more than two runs in any appearance since yielding three runs over four and one-third innings of relief against the Ducks on July 10 in a winning effort. In addition, the Japan countryman has won each of his last four starts, including a complete game his last time out on September 12 against the Sugar Land with eight strikeouts. In five relief appearances against Long Island this year, Watanabe is 1-0 with a 4.70 ERA (four runs over seven and two-thirds innings).

Here are today’s game notes:

Ducks vs. Barnstormers: Tonight marks the 19th meeting of the season between the Ducks and Barnstormers and ninth of 10 games between them on Long Island. The Barnstormers lead the series 12-6, including a 5-3 edge at Bethpage Ballpark. Long Island and Lancaster have played 192 games against each other all-time, with the Ducks holding a 99-93 lead and a 48-44 advantage at home.

Challenge Accepted (and Met): Adam Bailey’s solo home run in the seventh inning on Tuesday was his team-leading 20th homer of the season. In addition, it was the 100th home run for Long Island this year, meaning the Ducks have met the Chapey’s Home Run Challenge. Chapey’s Funeral Homes will now donate $5,000 to the QuackerJack Foundation, the charitable arm of the Ducks. Long Island has now met the Chapey’s Home Run Challenge in eight consecutive seasons. Bailey is the first Duck to hit 20 homers in a single season since Brandon Sing launched 26 in 2012.

The Streak Continues: With two hits on Tuesday, Cody Puckett has now hit safely in six consecutive games. During the streak he is batting .375 (9-for-24) with two doubles, one homer, two RBI, three runs and one walk. Puckett has now totaled 29 two-hit and 43 multi-hit games this season.

Off to the Races: Fehlandt Lentini stole his 46th base of the season in the first inning on Tuesday. The all-time independent baseball stolen base leader has yet to be caught stealing in any of his attempts this year. He ranks second in the Atlantic League in steals behind Wilson Valdez of York (53). In addition, Lentini earned his team-leading 36th two-hit game of the year and 48th multi-hit game overall.

Oh, What a Relief They Are: With a scoreless inning on Tuesday, Kris Regas tossed his fifth consecutive scoreless appearance. In those five outings, the southpaw has allowed three hits and one walk while striking out four. Despite giving up two runs on Tuesday, the Ducks bullpen has combined to allow three runs over their last 13.2 innings (1.98 ERA) on 11 hits and three walks with 16 strikeouts.

Smacking the ‘Stormers: Lew Ford continued his outstanding play against the Barnstormers this season with a sacrifice fly and walk on Tuesday. He leads all Ducks players with a .444 (32-for-72) batting average, 23 RBI, 15 runs, 32 hits and 10 walks in 18 games against the ‘Stormers. On the mound, Josh Lansford and Brett Lorin have combined to throw 8.2 scoreless innings against Lancaster in 2014. Jared Lansford leads all Ducks starters with a 3.12 ERA this season against the Barnstormers.

On the Air: Today’s ballgame with be broadcast with live streaming audio and video available on the Ducks official YouTube channel by CLICKING HERE. Chris King will call the play-by-play.

Finally, here are today’s starting lineups.

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

#21 Jared Lansford – RHP

Barnstormers
#2   Blake Gailen – CF
#10 Olmo Rosario – 3B
#8   Cole Garner – LF
#24 Andrew Clark – DH
#35 Brett Carroll – RF
#30 Wilson Batista – 3B
#15 Gabe Jacobo – 1B
#4   Lance Zawadzki – SS
#28 Keith Castillo – C

#9   Shunsuke Watanabe – RHP

Be sure to check back here for updates throughout the ballgame from Bethpage Ballpark as the Ducks look to get back to their winning ways!

UPDATE (6:46): TOP 1: Lancaster opens the game with a solo homer to right by Blake Gailen. 1-0 Barnstormers.

UPDATE (7:31): TOP 3: The ‘Stormers extend their lead to three on Olmo Rosario’s RBI single and Andrew Clark’s sacrifice fly.

UPDATE (7:46): BOT 3: RBI fielder’s choice by Lew Ford cuts the deficit to 3-1. It is Ford’s 93rd RBI of 2014, just two shy of the league lead (95, Chad Tracy, York)!

UPDATE (8:15): TOP 5: Wilson Batista hits a two-out, two-run homer to right, which extends the Lancaster lead to 5-1.

UPDATE (8:31): BOT 5: Ducks tack on their second run of the game on a RBI ground out to second by Brendan Harris!

UPDATE (9:17): BOT 7: A run-scoring ground out off the bat of Fehlandt Lentini has trimmed the deficit to two at 5-3!

UPDATE (9:49): BOT 8: Cody Puckett ties the game at five with a two-run double to right-center field! He extends his hitting streak to seven games!

UPDATE (10:02): FINAL: Brendan Harris delivers a waddle-off RBI double to left-center field! Fourth walk-off victory of the year! Ducks win it 6-5!

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Posted on September 17, 2014, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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