Game 140: Ducks vs. Blue Crabs

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Well, here we are, Ducks fans. It is the final game of the 2014 regular season. It has certainly been a fun year; one that has seen some definite peaks and valleys for the Long Island Ducks. The Flock began their 15th Anniversary Season on a quest to become the first team in Atlantic League history to win three straight championships. Unfortunately for the back-to-back defending champs, that goal will fall short, as the Ducks have not qualified for the postseason. That said, there is still plenty for the Ducks, and their fans, to be proud of this year.

Last night marked one of the peaks for the Ducks this season, defeating the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs 4-3 in waddle-off fashion. The game started off similar to Friday night’s game, as it was Jake Opitz once again opening things off with a home run in the first inning; this time a two-run shot. Long Island rallied later in the game while Bobby Blevins was dealing on the mound. In vintage Blevins form, the third-year Duck yielded just those two runs through eight innings without walking a batter to keep the Flock in the ballgame. Meanwhile, the a solo home run from Cody Puckett in the second inning, a bases-loaded walk to Joash Brodin in the sixth and a sacrifice fly from Brandon Bantz in the eighth put the Ducks in front 3-2 heading into the ninth.

Kris Regas then entered the ballgame, looking for his first save of the season with Long Island. Regas retired the first two batters he faced before C.J. Ziegler  lifted a two-out solo home run to left field to tie the game. However, the Flock responded in the bottom of the the frame to win the ballgame. After Dan Lyons began the inning with an infield single, he was advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt from Fehlandt Lentini. With first base open and Lew Ford on deck, the Blue Crabs decided to pitch to Brendan Harris with the winning run in scoring position. It was the wrong move, as Harris laced a base-hit into left field which scored Lyons to win the ballgame.

CLICK HERE to view the full recap from Saturday’s game, complete with audio highlights and postgame comments from Kevin Baez, Brendan Harris and Bobby Blevins.

Shaun Garceau will toe the rubber today for the Ducks for the final start of the season. The second-year Duck has made 27 appearances (26 starts) this year, going 13-3 with a 4.86 earned run average and 112  strikeouts against 53 walks over 161 innings of work. The 13 wins are tied with his teammate John Brownell and David Pauley (Sugar Land) for second in the league in wins behind Chris Schwinden (Lancaster). Garceau has been excellent in his last seven outings, posting a 3.20 ERA along with a 5-0 record. In addition, the 2014 Atlantic League All-Star has struck out seven batters in each of his last two starts. In four starts against Southern Maryland this year, Garceau is 3-0 with a 3.65 ERA and 22 strikeouts over 24 and two-thirds innings.

Ian Marshall makes his 27th start of the year today for the Blue Crabs today. The second-year Crab is 9-10 with a 4.19 ERA and 76 strikeouts against 43 walks in 150 and one-third innings pitched. Marshall has not won in his last four starts including a tough-luck loss his last time out against Somerset in which  he tossed eight innings of two-run ball. In four starts against Long Island this season, Marshall is 0-2 with a 6.75 ERA.

Here are today’s game notes:

Ducks vs. Blue Crabs: Today marks the final meeting of the season between the Ducks and Blue Crabs and last of 10 games between them on Long Island. The Ducks lead the series 12-7, and have a 5-4 advantage at the Duck Pond. Long Island and Southern Maryland have played 136 games against each other all-time, with the Blue Crabs holding a 74-62 lead and a 37-35 advantage on Long Island.

Waddle-Off Magic: Saturday’s waddle-off win was the fifth of the season for the Ducks as well as their second of the homestand. Brendan Harris also had the game-winning RBI hit in the Ducks’ waddle-off victory on Thursday against Lancaster. Previously, Long Island earned walk-off wins on July 6 against Camden (Joash Brodin RBI double), May 30 against Somerset (Joash Brodin RBI single) and May 21 against Southern Maryland (Cody Puckett RBI double).

Blevins on the Bump: Bobby Blevins tossed his 21st quality start of the season on Saturday after allowing two runs over eight innings. The third-year Duck finishes the 2014 season with a 2.99 earned run average, good for third-best in the Atlantic League. In addition, Blevins did not walk a batter in Saturday’s outing. It marked the 12th start this season in which Blevins allowed zero walks.

Record Setter: By playing in Sunday’s game, Lew Ford will become the first player in Atlantic League history to appear in all 140 games during a single season. Previously, Ray Navarrete (Ducks) and Wayne Lydon (Camden) held the league record with 139. Both achieved the mark in 2009. Ford has started each of those 140 games as well. He has also broken the Atlantic League record for hits in a season with 186, surpassing the previous mark of 179 set by Victor Rodriguez (Somerset) in 2004.

The Streak Continues: With three more hits on Saturday, Cody Puckett has now hit safely in 10 consecutive games, including multi-hit games in five of his last six contests. During the streak, the second baseman is batting .462 (18-for-39) with three doubles, two homers, five RBI, five runs and three walks. Saturday also marked the 14th three-hit and 46th multi-hit game of the year for Puckett. His solo home run in the second inning was his 10th of the year, good for third on the Flock (Bailey, 20 and Ford, 15).

Retherford Rakes at the Plate: C.J. Retherford recorded his second consecutive multi-hit game on Saturday. It was the first-year Duck’s fifth two-hit and sixth multi-hit game since joining Long Island. He has now hit safely in 14 of his 17 games with the Ducks.

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
#22 Joash Brodin – 1B
#23 Jan Vazquez – C
#12  Dan Lyons – SS

#28 Shaun Garceau – RHP

Blue Crabs
#4   Bobby Stevens – SS
#14 Antone DeJesus – CF
#2   Jake Opitz – 3B
#12  Steve Moss – DH
#44 C.J. Ziegler – 1B
#23 Mike Schwartz – LF
#40 Jarmar Walton – RF
#10  Allan de San Miguel – C
#38 Junior Arrojo – 2B

#21  Ian Marshall – RHP

Be sure to check back here for updates throughout the ballgame from Bethpage Ballpark as the Ducks look to finish off the 2014 regular season with a win!

UPDATE (2:11): END 2: Scoreless from the Duck Pond through the first two innings. Shaun Garceau has three strikeouts.

UPDATE (2:38): TOP 4: Blue Crabs take a 4-0 lead on a two-run homer from C.J. Ziegler, RBI double from Jamar Walton and a RBI single from Junior Arrojo

UPDATE (3:03): MID 5: A C.J. Retherford RBI single in the fourth brought the Ducks within three, but a Jake Opitz solo shot in the fifth has Blue Crabs up 5-1.

UPDATE (3:22): TOP 6: Solo home run from Jamar Walton increases the Blue Crabs lead to 6-1

UPDATE (3:41): TOP 7: Blue Crabs add another run on a RBI single from Jamar Walton. 7-1 Southern Maryland

UPDATE (4:04): BOT 7: RALLY TIME! Ducks plate three runs, all w/ two-outs, to make it a 7-4 game! RBI singles from Brendan Harris and Lew Ford

UPDATE (4:18): TOP 8: RBI single from Jake Opitz extends the Blue Crabs lead to 8-4.

UPDATE (4:32): BOT 8: Fehlandt Lentini adds a RBI single to pull the Flock back within three! Blue Crabs still on to 8-5

UPDATE (4:46): FINAL: Blue Crabs defeat the Ducks 8-5 in the season finale. The Flock finish with a 73-67 record – best regular season record since 2011.

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Posted on September 21, 2014, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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