Bats Break Out; Ducks vs. Black Sox: Round 2

High-Fives-4-21-15
In the first two Spring Training victories for the Ducks, the pitching staff took the spotlight. Back-to-back four-hit shutouts over the cross-sound rival Bluefish, even if the games don’t count, are still something to be proud of. On Tuesday though, it was Long Island’s offense that stole the show. Against the semi-pro Long Island Black Sox, the Ducks’ bats pounded out 13 runs on 17 hits on their way to a 13-3 victory and a 3-0 preseason record.

Once again, it’s hard to get overly excited about a blowout victory in Spring Training, especially when the opponent is not on the same level as you. However, overlooking it would still be a mistake. The Ducks have now shown in three games that they can win with offense, pitching and defense. That is obviously a good sign for a team that features a lot of new faces. It’s also impressive that the Ducks strung together that many runs and hits a day after losing a strong bat from their lineup in Trayvon Robinson.

The Flock received contributions from up and down the order. After falling behind early, the Ducks took the lead for good with a three-run third innings. Evan Crawford led off with a single, and Dan Lyons immediately brought him home with a double to left field. Later in the frame, a sac fly to center from Jose Morales and a RBI single by Cody Puckett put the Ducks in front. The teams traded runs in the bottom of the fourth and top of the fifth, with Blake Davis’ solo blast marking the Ducks’ first Spring Training homer.

However, Long Island put the game out of reach with four runs in the sixth inning, and they did it all with only one hit. Thanks in part to a wild James Roubal, the Ducks drew four walks, one with the bases loaded, had a run score on a hit batter with the bases loaded, and capped the frame with a two-run single by Puckett. With the score 8-3, Long Island added a five-spot in the eighth inning for good measure. Jon Griffin and Bryan Sabatella each had two run singles, while Crawford added a RBI base hit.

While the offense was superb, the pitching was once against strong for the Ducks. Ian Marshall was the starter on Tuesday, and he got into trouble in the first inning. The Black Sox put two in scoring position with one out, and Dan Pembroke’s two-run double put the visitors on top early. However, Marshall got out of further trouble and settled down after that, allowing just two more hits and no runs. From then on, it was the bullpen who took center stage. The sextet of Tommy Organ, Patrick Crider, Carmine Giardina, Amalio Diaz, Hector Ambriz and Ryan Kussmaul combined to allow just one run on four hits and two walks while striking out 10 batters. Just how good has the Ducks bullpen been this spring? The numbers don’t lie:

16.0 IP, 6 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 5 BB, 14 K

CLICK HERE to view the box score from Tuesday’s win

After the game, we caught up with both Marshall and Puckett to get their take on the performance:

Today will feature the exhibition schedule finale, with the Ducks and Black Sox playing an early morning matinee. The game was originally scheduled for 1:00 p.m., but with some inclement weather in the forecast for the afternoon, the teams agreed to move up the start time to 10:00 a.m. The Ducks will give the ball to Sergio Perez to start things off. This will be the first time the team will see Perez as a starter, as he made all 20 of his appearances out of the bullpen with the Ducks in 2014. However, the right-hander has started 110 of his 186 career games. Eric Niesen will follow him, and he too is making the transition to the starting rotation from the bullpen this year. He has appeared in 151 games as a Duck but has made only two starts, with both coming back in the 2012 season. Out of 312 career games, 76 have been starts.

Here are the Ducks pitchers scheduled to throw in the Spring Training finale:

RHP Sergio Perez
LHP Eric Niesen
RHP Matt Soren
RHP Frank DeJiulio, Jr.
RHP Bruce Kern
RHP Mickey Jannis

The lineup that will support Perez looks like this:

#44 Bryan Sabatella – RF
#25 Erik Komatsu – CF
#20 Lew Ford – DH
#26 Jose Morales – C
#2   Cody Puckett – 3B
#33 Jon Griffin – 1B
#22 Blake Davis – 2B
#29 Evan Crawford – LF
#12 Dan Lyons – SS

As for the Black Sox, their lineup will be the following:

#10 Joe Guido – 2B
#14 Elliott Ayala – CF
#3   Jon Kourie – LF
#6   Chris Degennaro – DH
#9   Dan Pembroke – 1B
#27 Tom Pennino – C
#18 Benjamin Fraias – SS
#12 Chris Triano – RF
#21 Ryan Pembroke – 3B

As a reminder, admission to the game at Bethpage Ballpark is free for season ticket holders while a $5 donation to the QuackerJack Foundation will apply to everyone else. If you cannot make it out to the ballpark, you can follow along pitch-by-pitch via Pointstreak’s GameLive application by CLICKING HERE. We’ll also be posting updates throughout the game on the Ducks Twitter feed (@LIDucks). T-minus two days until the 2015 Atlantic League season begins!

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Posted on April 22, 2015, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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