Game 139: Ducks vs. Blue Crabs

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Tonight marks the final fireworks night of the 2014 season at the Duck Pond! Bethpage Ballpark promises to be jumping when the Long Island Ducks take on the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs for the second of a three-game set. The Flock are looking to send off the season with a bang, and that continues tonight with the postgame Pyrotecnico Fireworks Extravaganza, courtesy of Flushing Bank.

Despite the Blue Crabs defeating the Ducks 4-3 last night, Southern Maryland was eliminated from playoff contention thanks to a Lancaster Barnstormers home win over the Camden Riversharks and a Sugar Land Skeeters home victory over the York Revolution. The Atlantic League Playoffs are now set, with the first-half division winner Somerset Patriots and Revolution joining the Barnstormers and Skeeters. The first-round matchups are still to be determined, as Lancaster and Sugar Land are still battling for the second half crown in the Freedom Division.

Long Island was playing from behind all game long last night after Jake Opitz began the night with a three-run home run to right field off Bob Zimmermann. That wound up being the only damage allowed by the fourth-year Duck, who also yielded seven hits over seven innings of work. A C.J. Retherford solo home run in the second inning and a Joash Brodin sacrifice fly in the sixth brought the Flock within one run before a C.J. Ziegler solo homer in the ninth extended the Blue Crabs lead back out to two. However, the ballgame did not end without drama.

Southern Maryland brought Jorge Marban in for the save opportunity in the bottom of the ninth, but he managed to record just one out while walking three batters. Marban then exited for Sean Keeler, who allowed a bases-loaded walk to Lew Ford to bring the Ducks back within a run. That was the only batter Keeler faced, as Blue Crabs manager Lance Burkhardt decided to play the lefty-lefty matchup with Adam Bailey coming to the plate. So Burkhardt brought in Wade Korpi, who forced Bailey to ground into a game-ending double play with the bases loaded to secure the Southern Maryland victory.

CLICK HERE to view the full recap from Friday’s game, complete with audio highlights and postgame comments from Kevin Baez and C.J. Retherford.

Tonight, Bobby Blevins takes the mound for Long Island in his 27th start of the year. The third-year Duck enters the ballgame 9-5 this season with a 3.02 ERA and an impressive 113 strikeouts against just 32 walks over 181 and one-third innings pitched. While Blevins has struggled over his last two starts, he still ranks second in the league in innings pitched and complete games (3) while ranking third in ERA. In three starts against the Blue Crabs this year, Blevins is 1-1 with a 2.91 ERA (seven earned runs over 21 and two-thirds innings) and 13 strikeouts against just two walks.

For Southern Maryland, Gaby Hernandez toes the rubber tonight in his 28th appearance (26th start) of the season. The third-year Blue Crab is 8-9 this year with a 4.79 ERA and 119 strikeouts against 52 walks in 152 innings of work. Hernandez has won his last three starts, and four of his last five dating back to August 23. During that span, the Miami native has allowed more than two runs in an start just once, lowering his season ERA from 5.36 to the current 4.79. In four starts against the Ducks this season, Hernandez is 1-2 with a 6.55 ERA (16 runs over 22 innings) and 20 strikeouts.

Here are today’s game notes:

Ducks vs. Blue Crabs: Tonight marks the 19th meeting of the season between the Ducks and Blue Crabs and ninth of 10 games between them on Long Island. The Ducks lead the series 11-7, though it is tied at four at the Duck Pond. Long Island and Southern Maryland have played 135 games against each other all-time, with the Blue Crabs holding a 74-61 lead and a 37-34 advantage on Long Island.

RBI Machines: Entering Saturday’s contest, Lew Ford leads the Ducks with 94 runs batted in, while Adam Bailey ranks second with 89. The last time two Ducks players finished with 90 or more RBI in the same season was in 2008. That year, Ray Navarrete set a franchise record with 103 runs batted in, while Carl Everett totaled 100 and Pete Rose Jr. finished with 95. Ford is just one RBI behind Chad Tracy (York) for the Atlantic League lead, while Bailey ranks fourth in the league.

The Streak Continues: With two hits on Friday, Cody Puckett has now hit safely in nine consecutive games. During the streak he is batting .429 (15-for-35) with three doubles, one homer, four RBI, four runs and three walks. It also marked the 30th two-hit and 45th multi-hit game of the year for Puckett.

Retherford Rakes at the Plate: C.J. Retherford’s solo home run in the second inning on Friday was his second of the season with the Ducks. His first came back on September 4 in game two of a doubleheader at Sugar Land. The first-year Duck also recorded his first three-hit game and fifth multi-hit game since joining Long Island. He’s hit safely in 13 of his 16 games since joining the team on September 2.

Bob on the Bump: Bob Zimmermann tossed his second quality start of the season on Friday, allowing three runs over seven innings of work. In his four starts this season, the fourth-year Duck has a 3.00 ERA, having allowed seven runs over 21 innings pitched. Over his last three starts, Zimmerman has allowed four runs over 18 innings (2.00 ERA) while giving up 15 hits and walking just three batters.

Oh, What a Relief They Are: The Ducks bullpen allowed one run over two innings of work on Friday. As a whole, the bullpen has now allowed four runs over their last 21 and two-thirds innings (1.71 ERA) on 15 hits and six walks with 26 strikeouts. Tommy Organ worked a scoreless inning and has now made 11 consecutive appearances without allowing a run. In that span, he has given up just four hits and two walks while striking out nine batters. The first-year Duck has only allowed a run in one of his 19 appearances this season (3, 8/24 vs. Somerset).

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 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

#18  Bobby Blevins – RHP

Blue Crabs
#14 Antone DeJesus – RF
#4   Bobby Stevens – DH
#2   Jake Opitz – 2B
#44 C.J. Ziegler – 1B
#20 Jermaine Mitchell – CF
#23 Mike Schwartz – LF
#19 Angel Chavez – 3B
#8   James Skelton – C
#38 Junior Arrojo – SS

#18 Gaby Hernandez – RHP

Be sure to check back here for updates throughout the ballgame from Bethpage Ballpark as the Ducks look to bounce back with a win!

UPDATE (7:15): TOP 1: Jake Opitz gives the Blue Crabs a 2-0 lead on a two-run home run to left-center field.

UPDATE (7:40): BOT 2: Cody Puckett with a solo shot, his 10th of the year, to bring the Ducks within one! 2-1 Blue Crabs.

UPDATE (8:53): BOT 6: TIE GAME! Joash Brodin draws a bases-loaded walk to tie the game at two! Meanwhile Bobby Blevins has allowed three hits w/ six Ks so far!

UPDATE (9:29): BOT 8: DUCKS LEAD!! A sacrifice fly from Brandon Bantz gives the Flock a 3-2 lead! Kris Regas now in the ballgame, looking for the save!

UPDATE (9:39): TOP 9: Blue Crabs tie the game on a two-out solo home run from C.J. Ziegler.

UPDATE (9:50): BALLGAME!!! Brendan Harris does it again!! Second waddle-off base hit of the homestand for Harris, and the Ducks win it 4-3!!

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Posted on September 20, 2014, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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