Game 4: Ducks at Blue Crabs

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The debuts keep coming for the Ducks, and so far, many of the results have been positive. Sunday featured the team debut for Long Island’s starting pitcher, set-up man and three position players. Several of the five stood out and helped contribute to a 5-2 win, the second of the series against York, and allowed the Ducks to secure their first series victory of the young 2015 season.

The story from the get-go was Ian Marshall, Long Island’s starting pitcher, who was making his first appearance in a Ducks uniform during the regular season. The right-hander allowed two runs over three innings during his lone Spring Training start, so the team was eager to see what he would provide once the games meant something. What they got was a strong performance from the three-year Atlantic League veteran. Marshall tossed five scoreless innings, surrendering only two singles and a double while striking out two batters. No runner advanced pass second base against Long Island’s #3 starter.

We caught up with Marshall to discuss his Ducks debut:

Late in the game, Kevin Baez got to break out his 7-8-9 combination of Amalio Diaz, Hector Ambriz and Ryan Kussmaul together for the first time. The plan worked to perfection, literally. Diaz bounced back from allowing two runs (one earned) on Friday to toss a perfect seventh inning, striking out one and inducing two groundouts. Ambriz made his debut in the eighth, and the former big leaguer retired the side in order on a pop out and two flyouts. Finally, Kussmaul worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning for his second save of the year, picking up a strikeout, a lineout and a groundout along the way. Although Tommy Organ yielded a two-run homer in the sixth to Eric Patterson, the Ducks bullpen looked strong once again, especially over the final three innings.

Finally, the Ducks lineup against produced throughout the course of the game. For a third straight day, the Flock scored first on a RBI double from Cody Puckett in the opening inning. Long Island would add two insurance runs in the sixth on a wild pitch and Jon Griffin’s team-high fourth RBI of the year. Then, after York pulled within one on Patterson’s longball, the Ducks responded with runs in the eighth and ninth innings, taking advantage of two York errors to pick up the win. As for the newcomers, Anthony Vega started in left field and picked up a single in his first at-bat and later scored his first run in the ninth. Mike Blanke started behind the plate, and although he went 0-for-4, he called a great game for the pitching staff. Finally, Reegie Corona made his debut as the second baseman and played a strong defensive game and was robbed of his first hit in the seventh inning.

The story offensively was Evan Crawford, who picked up two hits and wreaked havoc on the basepaths. He singled in the first and sixth innings, drew a walk in the eighth inning, and stole two bases. He would have had a third hit if not for an outstanding catch by Patterson on a pop up to right field in the third. Both times he picked up hits though, he scored runs. He made a risky decision to steal third with two outs in the sixth, but it paid off, as he beat the throw and then scored on a wild pitch by Ian Durham. He later pulled off a double-steal with Bryan Sabatella in the eighth that set them up for a run-scoring single to left field by Lew Ford. Crawford’s speed makes him a huge asset to the Ducks lineup, and he’s got a team-high four hits (tied with Puckett) to go along with it.

CLICK HERE to listen to the highlights from Sunday’s victory
CLICK HERE to view Sunday’s box score

The Ducks’ season now shifts to Southern Maryland where they will open up a four-game series against the Blue Crabs on Monday night. Long Island is looking to pick up where they left off last year and continue their success at Regency Furniture Stadium (see note below). To start the series, Sergio Perez will make his debut as a Ducks starting pitcher. Last year, the right-hander went 1-1 with a 2.37 ERA in 20 games out of the bullpen for the Ducks after joining the team in August. He has started 100 games out of 186 appearances in his career and was primarily a starter from 2007-2011 in the Astros organization. In 2014, he threw two scoreless innings against the Blue Crabs, walking one while striking out three.

Facing the Ducks will be right-handed pitcher Brian Baker, who makes his first start of 2015. Baker is a Brooklyn native who began the 2014 season with Southern Maryland. He compiled a 1-4 record with a 3.25 ERA and 28 strikeouts in 10 starts. The 32-year-old was then signed by the Mexican League and played south of the border with Reynosa and Laguna, where he combined to go 3-5 with a 5.29 ERA in 10 games (nine starts). Baker closed out the year in the Australian Baseball League with the Perth Heat, and he was 2-1 with a 7.46 ERA in 11 games (eight starts). Prior to 2014, he reached the Triple-A level in both the Rays and Brewers organizations. Baker made two starts against the Ducks last year, going 0-1 with a 3.00 ERA and allowing eight runs (four earned) on 16 hits in 12 innings.

Here are tonight’s game notes:

Ducks vs. Blue Crabs: Tonight’s game marks the 138th all-time meeting between the Ducks and Blue Crabs. Southern Maryland currently leads the series 75-62 and has a 37-27 record at Regency Furniture Stadium. Tonight is also the first of 19 scheduled games between the two teams in 2015. Long Island won the 2014 series 12-8 and went 7-3 at Southern Maryland.

Dominant Debut: Ian Marshall tossed five scoreless innings to earn the win in his Ducks debut on Sunday. The right-hander allowed just three hits and struck out two batters, retiring 15 of the 18 hitters he faced. Sunday was also Marshall’s 100th career appearance. In his last four starts against York, the Maryland native is 3-1 with a 1.11 ERA and 18 strikeouts in 24.1 innings.

Oh, What a Relief They Are: Long Island’s 7-8-9 bullpen combination of Amalio Diaz, Hector Ambriz and Ryan Kussmaul each threw a perfect inning of relief in Sunday’s win. The three pitchers have combined to allow just one earned run in five innings this year. In that span, they’ve given up two hits and two walks while striking out four batters.

Off to the Races: The Ducks stole five bases as a team in Sunday’s win against the Revolution. Long Island’s 2014 season high for stolen bases in a single game was six, done on August 9 at York. Evan Crawford became the first Duck to steal multiple bases in a game this year. Dating back to 2014, he is a perfect 9-for-9 on stolen base attempts with the Ducks.

Multi-Hit Madness: Crawford and Lew Ford each picked up their first multi-hit game of the 2015 season on Sunday. Ford led the Ducks with 56 multi-hit games in 2014 and finished second on the team with 34 two-hit games, three behind Fehlandt Lentini. Crawford collected multiple hits in four of his 15 games with Long Island in 2014.

On the Air: Tonight’s game will be broadcast with live streaming audio on the Ducks’ official YouTube channel. Fans can follow all the action with live streaming audio online by CLICKING HERE. Michael Polak will call the play-by-play. Fans can also follow a pitch-by-pitch account of the game via Pointstreak’s GameLive application by CLICKING HERE.

Finally, here are tonight’s starting lineups:

Ducks
#44 Bryan Sabatella – RF
#29 Evan Crawford – LF
#20 Lew Ford – CF
#26 Jose Morales – C
#2   Cody Puckett – 3B
#33 Jon Griffin – 1B
#11 Reegie Corona – 2B
#40 Anthony Vega – DH
#12 Dan Lyons – SS

#41 Sergio Perez – RHP

Blue Crabs
#3   Antone DeJesus – CF
#1   Fred Lewis – RF
#2   Jake Opitz – 2B
#15 Cyle Hankerd – LF
#42 Daryle Ward – 1B
#8   Craig Maddox – DH
#24 Casey Stevenson – 3B
#23 Gustavo Molina – C
#4   Casey Frawley – SS

#30 Brian Baker – RHP

Keep it here for updates from Regency Furniture Stadium as the Ducks begin their four-game set in Waldorf. You can also follow the Ducks on Twitter (@LIDucks) for updates all year long!

UPDATE (7:11): We are underway on a cloudy, chilly and windy night in Southern Maryland!

UPDATE (7:34): BOT 2: Strike-em-out, throw-em-out double play induced by Sergio Perez to end the inning!

UPDATE (7:59): TOP 4: The Ducks strike first again! This time, Lew Ford goes deep to left-center for a solo homer, his first longball of 2015!

UPDATE (8:13): BOT 4: Blue Crabs tie the game on a RBI single to left by Daryle Ward. 1-1 after four.

UPDATE (8:34): END 5: Perez strikes out two in a scoreless inning and has now struck out six in five innings! Still tied up at one after five.

UPDATE (8:51): END 6: OUTSTANDING double play turned by Reegie Corona, Dan Lyons, and Jon Griffin gets Carmine Giardina out of a jam! Still 1-1.

UPDATE (9:16): TOP 7: Dan Lyons is clutch again! A two-out, two-strike, two-run single to right gives the Ducks a 3-1 lead! His first two RBI of 2015!

UPDATE (9:40): TOP 8: Ducks add an insurance run thanks to a bases loaded walk to Corona! It’s his first RBI of the year! 4-1 Flock!

UPDATE (10:09): FINAL: Ryan Kussmaul earns his third save in as many tries, and the Ducks win their third game of the season, 4-1 over the Blue Crabs!

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Posted on April 27, 2015, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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