Game 137: Ducks vs. Barnstormers

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In last night’s post, we mentioned how the Long Island Ducks and the Lancaster Barnstormers have played their fair share of exciting ballgames against each other this season. Really, you can even go back to the 2012 Atlantic League Championship Series to see the thrilling history between the two clubs. Well, last night’s game lived up the billing. The Ducks rallied from four runs down to win a 6-5 thriller in waddle-off fashion. It tied the largest comeback victory of the year while marking the fourth waddle-off win this season. The other three waddle-off victories were:

May 21 vs Southern Maryland: Cody Puckett RBI double in the bottom of the 12th scores Chris McClendon to give the Flock not only their first walk-off win of the year, but also their first extra-inning victory.

May 30 vs Somerset: Ducks rally for three runs in the bottom of the ninth off Patriots closer Jon Hunton, capped by a Joash Brodin game-winning single to left-center, to turn a 5-3 deficit into a 6-5 victory.

July 6 vs Camden: After the Riversharks rallied for three-runs in the top of the ninth to tie the ballgame at seven, Brodin sent the Faithful Flock home happy with a game-winning RBI double to left. It also gave the Ducks a five-game winning streak at the time.

So while last night’s theatrics were not necessarily new to the team, they did come at a good time, as the Ducks ended their three-game losing skid. Jared Lansford started the game for Long Island, but ran into trouble early, allowing five runs over his five innings of work on nine hits and a walk. The Ducks were trailing 5-1 after the top of the fifth, with their lone run coming on a run-scoring fielder’s choice from Lew Ford in the bottom of the third.

Trailing by four runs, the Flock’ comeback began in the bottom of the fifth on a RBI groundout from Brendan Harris in Shunsuke Watanabe’s final inning of work. It was the first of five unanswered runs by the Ducks. Fehlandt Lentini’s RBI groundout in the seventh brought Long Island within two before Cody Puckett’s two-run double in the eighth tied the game at five. Brett Lorin followed in the top of the ninth with a scoreless inning of relief to cap off an impressive night for the Ducks’ bullpen and set the table for the walk-off victory. With one out and Dan Lyons leading off second base in the bottom of the ninth, Harris drilled a fastball from Ian Kadish deep to left-center, splitting the outfielders and earning the Flock the 6-5 win.

CLICK HERE to view the full recap from Wednesday’s game, complete with audio highlights and postgame comments from Kevin Baez, Harris and Puckett.

The pitching matchup tonight in the finale of the season series between the Ducks and ‘Stormers features two of the top pitchers in the Atlantic League this year. On one hand, you have John Brownell, who tonight will set a new franchise record with his 29th start of the year. So far, the reigning Delmonte-Smelson Team MVP and Atlantic League Championship Series MVP is 13-8 with a 3.69 ERA. His 195 innings pitched lead the league, while the 124 strikeouts rank second behind Matt Wright of Sugar Land (137) and the 13 wins are tied with three other players for the league-lead. While Brownell has only won once in his last seven starts, only one of those appearances did not result in a quality start (8/23 vs. Somerset). In fact, 10 of his last 11 starts have been quality starts. In four starts against Lancaster this year, the righty is 2-1 with a 4.33 ERA and one complete game (June 2).

On the other hand, its Barnstormers starter Chris Schwinden, who makes his 25th start of the year. The first-year ‘Stormer has been outstanding this season, carrying a 13-5 record alongside a league-leading 2.48 ERA into tonight’s ballgame. The former New York Met spent a brief stint in the Texas Rangers organization this year, but has still tossed 159 and one-third innings in the Atlantic League, striking out 99 batters against just 31 walks. Schwinden has allowed more than three runs in a start just once in his last 10 appearances. In four starts against the Ducks, Schwinden is 2-0 with a 2.96 ERA (eight earned runs in 14 and one-third innings pitched).

Here are today’s game notes:

Ducks vs. Barnstormers: Tonight marks the final meeting of the season between the Ducks and Barnstormers and last of 10 games between them on Long Island. The Barnstormers lead the series 12-7, including a 5-4 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 49-44 advantage at home.

Record Setter: By making his 29th start of 2014 tonight, John Brownell will break the franchise record for most starts in a single season. The previous mark of 28 was set by Randy Leek (2008) and B.J. LaMura (2009). With a win, Brownell would tie the team record of 14 in one season (Mike Loree, 2011). With nine strikeouts, he would tie his own record of 133, set in 2013. Brownell has already surpassed the Ducks record for innings pitched with 195, previously held by Bob Zimmermann (179 in 2012).

Cardiac Quacks: Wednesday’s waddle-off win for the Ducks was their fourth of the season and first since July 6 against the Camden Riversharks. The other two came on May 21 against Southern Maryland and May 30 against Somerset. In addition, the four-run comeback matched the largest come-from-behind victory of the season for the Ducks, which they also completed on July 31 at Camden.

The Streak Continues: With a game-tying double in the eighth inning on Wednesday, Cody Puckett has now hit safely in seven consecutive games. During the streak he is batting .370 (10-for-27) with three doubles, one homer, four RBI, three runs and two walks. In addition, by driving in two runs, Puckett picked up his team-leading 17th two-RBI game and his 21st multi-RBI game overal this year.

Oh, What a Relief They Are: The Ducks bullpen tossed four scoreless innings of relief on Wednesday. As a whole, the bullpen has now allowed just three runs over their last 17 and two-thirds innings (1.53 ERA) on 12 hits and four walks with 21 strikeouts. Tommy Organ worked a scoreless inning and has now made 10 consecutive appearances without allowing a run. The first-year Duck has given up a run in only one of his 18 appearances this season (3, 8/24 vs. Somerset).

Smacking the ‘Stormers: Lew Ford continued his outstanding play against the Lancaster Barnstormers this season with one hit, one RBI and one run on Wednesday. The former big leaguer leads all Ducks with a .434 batting average, 24 RBI, 16 runs, 33 hits and 10 walks in 19 games against the ‘Stormers. Ford now has 93 RBI this year and trails Chad Tracy of York by two for the league lead (95).

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.

#24 Fehlandt Lentini – RF
#25 Brendan Harris – SS
#20 Lew Ford – CF
#13 Adam Bailey – LF
#11 C.J. Retherford – DH
#2   Cody Puckett – 2B
#22 Joash Brodin – 1B
#23 Jan Vazquez – C
#30 Sergio Miranda – 3B

#7   John Brownell – RHP

#1   Yusuke Kajimoto – 2B
#10 Olmo Rosario – 3B
#2   Blake Gailen – CF
#8   Cole Garner – LF
#24 Andrew Clark – DH
#15 Gabe Jacobo – 1B
#7   Greg Golson – RF
#4   Lance Zawadzki – SS
#27 Juan Apodaca – C

#20 Chris Schwinden – RHP

Be sure to check back here for updates throughout the ballgame from Bethpage Ballpark as the Ducks look take two of three from the Barnstormers!

UPDATE (7:51): TOP 4: Barnstormers put up five runs (one earned) one five hits and two errors. Lance Zawadzki’s two-run double capped the inning.

UPDATE (8:05): BOT 4: Ducks get on the scoreboard with a bases-clearing three-run double from Jan Vazquez! ‘Stormers still lead 5-3

UPDATE (9:43): FINAL: Ducks fall to the Barnstormers 5-3. The Flock wrap up the regular season with a three-game set vs. the Blue Crabs, starting tomorrow

Posted on September 18, 2014, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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