Game 138: Ducks vs. Blue Crabs

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The Long Island Ducks begin their final series of the season tonight when they welcome the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs into Bethpage Ballpark. It promises to be an exciting weekend at the Duck Pond as all three games of the series feature some great promotions! Tonight marks Italian Heritage Night at the ballpark as the first 1,500 fans in attendance will receive Bracelets, courtesy of Order Sons of Italy in America. Tomorrow night features the last postgame Pyrotecnico Fireworks Extravaganza of the season, this time courtesy of Flushing Bank. Then, to wrap up the season, the Ducks will be hosting Fan Appreciation Day, presented by Pepsi, on Sunday. Bethpage Ballpark will be the place to be this weekend as the Ducks send off the 2014 season with a bang!

The Blue Crabs, on the other hand, will look to put a damper on the weekend as they enter this series still in contention for a postseason berth. It has been a strong second half for Southern Maryland, which has seen them now surprisingly stick around into the final weekend. They currently stand three games back in the division with three-to-play, needing to win-out and get help from both Sugar Land and Lancaster losing out. It is a tall order for the Crabs, but they will be entering the Duck Pond with confidence, having won seven of their last 10, including sweeping the three game series here last week. Unfortunately for Southern Maryland, both the Skeeters and the Barnstormers have been playing well of late.

Lancaster took the rubber game of the series against the Ducks last night at Bethpage Ballpark 5-3. Despite a combined eight runs and 24 hits in the contest, all of the offensive production for both teams came in the fifth inning. The ‘Stormers plated five runs off John Brownell in the top of the fifth, helped in large part to a pair of errors by the Ducks. Only one of the five runs charged against the Flock in the inning were earned. In the bottom of the frame, a bases-clearing three-run double from Jan Vazquez ultimately provided Long Island’s lone run production of the evening.

CLICK HERE to view the full recap from Thursday’s game, complete with audio highlights and postgame comments from Kevin Baez and John Brownell.

Tonight, the Ducks will send Bob Zimmermann to the mound for his 18th appearance (fourth start) of the season. So far, the fourth-year Duck is 3-2 with a 3.55 earned run average and 18 strikeouts in 38 innings pitched.  In his last two starts, Zimmermann is 1-0, having allowed one run on eight hits and one walk over 11 innings of work, including five shutout innings against Sugar Land on Sept. 4. The righty worked three scoreless innings of relief in his last appearance on Sept. 13 at the York Revolution. In his lone appearance against the Blue Crabs this year, Zimmermann allowed two runs on three hits over two innings of relief.

His counterpart tonight will be Southern Maryland starter Daryl Thompson, who will be making his 22nd appearance (21st start) of the year. The third-year Blue Crab enters 6-6 this season with a 4.88 ERA and 95 strikeouts against 38 walks in 116 innings pitched. Thompson is coming off the heels of two consecutive starts against the Bridgeport Bluefish, both times allowing four runs. However, on Sept. 7 the righty set a season high with 11 strikeouts in a complete game effort. Even more impressive was that Thompson did not walk a single batter in that outing. The Maryland native has made two appearances (one start) against the Ducks this season, having allowed four runs over five and one-third innings of work.

Here are today’s game notes:

Ducks vs. Blue Crabs: Tonight marks the 18th meeting of the season between the Ducks and Blue Crabs and eighth of 10 games between them on Long Island. The Ducks lead the series 11-6 and have a 4-3 lead at home. Long Island and Southern Maryland have played 134 games against each other all-time, with the Blue Crabs holding a 73-61 lead overall and a 36-34 advantage on Long Island.

Record Setter: By making his 29th start of 2014 on Thursday, John Brownell set a new 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). The third-year Duck is one win shy of the franchise record for wins in a season, set by Mike Loree in 2011. He is also just three strikeouts shy of his own franchise record of 133 for one season, which he set in 2013. Brownell has now tossed a franchise record 202 innings this season, five shy of Allan Sontag’s Atlantic League record set with the Bridgeport Bluefish in 2000.

The Streak Continues: With three hits on Thursday, Cody Puckett has now hit safely in eight straight games. During the streak, he is batting .419 (13-for-31) with three doubles, one homer, four RBI, four runs and two walks. It also marked the 13th three-hit and 44th multi-hit game of the year for Puckett.

Jan’s Big Night: With two hits on Thursday, Jan Vazquez earned his seventh multi-hit game of the season. The first-year Duck also drove in a season-high three runs for his third multi-RBI game of the year. The catcher collected his first triple of 2014 and fifth double, giving him eight extra-base hits.

Off to the Races: Joash Brodin stole his 27th base of the season on Thursday night when he swiped second in the second inning. It marked the second consecutive night in which Brodin stole a base. The third-year Duck ranks second on the team in steals, 19 behind Fehlandt Lentini (46). In addition, Brodin also earned his 24th two-hit and 32nd multi-hit game of the year.

Oh, What a Relief They Are: The Ducks bullpen tossed two scoreless innings of relief on Thursday. As a whole, the bullpen has now allowed three runs over their last 19 and two-thirds innings (1.37 ERA) on 14 hits and six walks with 25 strikeouts. Eric Niesen has worked seven consecutive relief appearances without allowing an earned run. In that span, he has 10 strikeouts against six hits and two walks. The third-year Duck has 65 strikeouts in 53 innings pitched this season. Josh Lansford has given up just one run in his last nine appearances, compiling a 1.17 ERA in that span (7.2 innings pitched).

On the Air: Today’s ballgame with be broadcast on Long Island’s home for news, traffic and weather 103.9 LI News Radio, with live streaming audio and video also available on the Ducks official YouTube channel by CLICKING HERE. Michael Polak and David Weiss will call the play-by-play.

Finally, here are today’s starting lineups.

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

#43  Bob Zimmermann – RHP

Blue Crabs
#4   Bobby Stevens – SS
#20 Jermaine Mitchell – CF
#15 Cyle Hankerd – RF
#2   Jake Opitz – 2B
#12 Steve Moss – DH
#44 C.J. Ziegler – 1B
#23 Mike Schwartz – LF
#19 Angel Chavez – 3B
#8  James Skelton – C

#32 Daryl Thompson – RHP

Be sure to check back here for updates throughout the ballgame from Bethpage Ballpark as the Ducks look spoil the Blue Crabs’ playoff hopes!

UPDATE (7:19): TOP 1: The Blue Crabs jump in front 3-0 on a three-run home run from Jake Opitz

UPDATE (7:44): BOT 2: Ducks pull within two on a solo home run from C.J. Retherford – his second home run with the Flock!

UPDATE (8:14): END 4: Blue Crabs still leading the Ducks 3-1. Both teams with four hits to this point.

UPDATE (8:52): BOT 6: A Joash Brodin sacrifice fly trims the deficit to 3-2! Ducks outhitting the Blue Crabs seven-to-six.

UPDATE (9:35): TOP 9: A solo home run from C.J. Ziegler extends the Blue Crabs lead back out to 4-2. Last licks for the Ducks coming up..

UPDATE (10:00): FINAL: Ducks plate a run in the ninth, but ultimately fall short to the Blue Crabs 4-3.


Posted on September 19, 2014, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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