Game 7: Ducks at Blue Crabs

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In baseball, it is very rare to see two games in a season that are almost exactly identical. Every game tends to be different in some way, shape, or form. However, the Ducks and Blue Crabs played two eerily similar games on Tuesday and Wednesday that were mirror images of each other. One day after the Blue Crabs shut out the Ducks by a 3-0 score and allowed just three hits, Long Island responded by blanking Southern Maryland by the same run count and limited the Blue Crabs to three hits as well. Both games took exactly two hours and 28 minutes, and both winning pitching staffs struck out eight batters. The only differences? Southern Maryland had seven hits in their win, while the Ducks had six, and Long Island’s pitching staff did not walk a single batter, while the Blue Crabs walked one.

On Wednesday night, Long Island relied on hits rather than outs to score their three runs. In the second inning against starter Brian Burres, Cody Puckett started the scoring with a tremendous solo home run to left that traveled well over 370 feet. It was his second longball of the season and fourth extra-base hit. Three innings later, Evan Crawford came through with a two-out RBI single up the middle after an error by Daryle Ward kept the inning alive. The Ducks tacked on one final insurance run in the eighth on Mike Blanke’s first hit and first RBI, a clean single through the left side that plated Crawford. Unlike the Blue Crabs’ three sacrifice flies on Tuesday night that accounted for their scoring, the Ducks came up with a few clutch hits to get their lead.

The focus for the Ducks was once again on pitching. Mickey Jannis made his first start with the Flock and showcased a good mix of pitches between a fastball, a curveball and the famous knuckleball. That mix of velocity and location kept hitters off balance, as he yielded just two hits and did not walk a batter. After he threw 72 pitches in five innings, the bullpen came on to slam the door shut on the Blue Crabs. Tommy Organ dominated in a 1-2-3 sixth inning, Amalio Diaz retired the side in order in the seventh, Hector Ambriz allowed just one hit in the eighth, and Ryan Kussmaul struck out two in a perfect ninth to record his fourth save in four chance. All four pitchers were incredibly efficient too, needing just 37 pitches (28 strikes) to get the final 12 outs. Overall, the pitching staff allowed just three hits and four baserunners, and they retired 21 of the final 22 batters.

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

Long Island has now guaranteed themselves a winning road trip to start the season, and a victory on Thursday night would give them back-to-back road series victories to begin the year. Hoping to earn the win for the Ducks is right-hander Mark Rogers, who will make his second start of the trip. He pitched fairly well in his first outing but threw one bad pitch that saddled him with the loss. The first pitch fastball that Brandon Jones hit for a three-run homer off him in the fourth inning on Saturday at York ended up being too much for the Ducks to overcome. The toughest part was that it came after a strikeout of Bryan Pounds, though the Revs third baseman reach first on a wild pitch to keep the inning alive. Last year with the Barnstormers, Rogers made four starts against the Blue Crabs. He posted a 1-0 record with a 4.50 ERA, allowing 17 hits and 14 walks with nine strikeouts in 16 innings. The former big leaguer gave up three earned runs over seven innings in two starts at Regency Furniture Stadium.

Across the diamond will be a familiar face for the Ducks in Shaun Garceau. The right-hander joined the Ducks late in 2013, helped the Flock to their second consecutive championship and then spent the entire 2014 season with Long Island. He combined to post a 15-5 record with a 4.52 ERA in 31 regular season games (30 starts). Garceau’s rights were traded to Southern Maryland in the offseason in exchange for the rights to Ian Marshall and Mickey Jannis. Garceau pitched well in his first start of the season but took a no-decision, allowing just two hits and two walks while striking four in six scoreless innings against the Patriots on Sunday. He’ll be starting on just three days of rest today. As a Duck, Garceau won all three starts he made in Southern Maryland, combining to allow just six runs in 19 innings (2.84 ERA).

Here are tonight’s game notes:

Ducks vs. Blue Crabs: Tonight’s game marks the 141st all-time meeting between the Ducks and Blue Crabs. Southern Maryland currently leads the series 76-64 and has a 38-29 record at Regency Furniture Stadium. Tonight is also the fourth of 20 scheduled games between the two teams in 2015. The Ducks currently lead the series 2-1. Long Island won the 2014 series by a 12-8 margin and went 7-3 at Southern Maryland.

Rotation Domination: Mickey Jannis continued the success of the Ducks’ starting rotation by picking up the win on Wednesday. In six games this season, Ducks starters have allowed just six runs in 32 innings of work, good for a 1.69 ERA. In that span, the starters have given up just 21 hits and six walks while striking out 22 batters. Long Island has allowed three runs or less in all six games and is 4-0 when allowing two runs or less.

Oh, What a Relief They Are: Long Island’s bullpen combined to pitch four scoreless innings of relief on Wednesday, allowing just one hit while striking out five. So far this season, Ducks relievers have surrendered just five runs (four earned) in 20 innings, good for a 1.80 ERA. In addition, they’ve yielded just 13 hits and seven walks while striking out 21.

The Streak Continues: Cody Puckett extended his on-base streak to six consecutive games with a solo homer in the second inning on Wednesday. Dating back to the 2014 season, the infielder has reached base safely in 17 consecutive games. Puckett had the longest on-base streak by a Duck in 2014 at 30 games (5/6 – 6/6). He currently leads the team in batting average (.316), hits (6), runs (6), homers (2), doubles (2) and walks (4).

Oh Mickey, You’re So Fine: Jannis continued his success at Regency Furniture Stadium on Wednesday with five scoreless innings on the mound. In seven career games (six starts) in Southern Maryland, the righty is 2-0 with a 2.38 ERA. He has allowed 11 runs (nine earned) on 29 hits and 13 walks while striking out 17 batters in 34 innings of work. Jannis made one relief appearance with the Bridgeport Bluefish in 2013 and five starts with the Blue Crabs in 2014 in addition to Wednesday’s start.

Three’s Company: The Ducks have won all four of their games this season by three runs. They defeated the York Revolution 5-2 on Friday and Sunday, and then topped Southern Maryland 4-1 on Monday and 3-0 on Wednesday. Long Islands last four games have all been decided by three runs.

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
#25 Erik Komatsu – CF
#20 Lew Ford – DH
#2   Cody Puckett – 3B
#33 Jon Griffin – 1B
#26 Jose Morales – C
#29 Evan Crawford – DH
#11 Reegie Corona – 2B
#12 Dan Lyons – SS

#37 Mark Rogers – RHP

Blue Crabs
#3   Antone DeJesus – CF
#17 Renny Osuna – 3B
#1   Fred Lewis – DH
#15 Cyle Hankerd – LF
#8   Craig Maddox – 1B
#24 Casey Stevenson – 2B
#6   Jamar Walton – RF
#23 Gustavo Molina – C
#4   Casey Frawley – SS

#10 Shaun Garceau – RHP

Stay tuned for updates all game long as the Ducks try to end the road trip with another victory before returning to Bethpage Ballpark for the 2015 Home Opener. You can also follow the Ducks on Twitter (@LIDucks) for updates all year long!

UPDATE (7:16): TOP 1: The two-out magic strikes again! Jon Griffin goes the opposite way for a two-run single! Ducks score first for the sixth time in seven games!

UPDATE (7:32): TOP 2: ANOTHER two-out hit for the Ducks! Bryan Sabatella plates Dan Lyons with a RBI single to left! 3-0 Flock!

UPDATE (7:45): BOT 2: Southern Maryland gets on the scoreboard, as Jamar Walton lifts a sac fly to center. 3-1 Ducks lead

UPDATE (8:05): BOT 3: Mark Rogers exits the game with an apparent injury after allowing back-to-back two-out walks. Patrick Crider is now in the game.

UPDATE (8:43): END 5: For a second straight outing, Carmine Giardina induces an inning ending double play to get out of a jam! Ducks still lead 3-1!

UPDATE (9:16): BOT 7: Blue Crabs squeak out a run on an infield single to second base by Antone DeJesus. Ducks lead 3-2 as we go to the eighth.

UPDATE (9:42): BOT 8: Blue Crabs pull even on a RBI double to left field by Craig Maddox. All tied at three in the ninth.

UPDATE (9:54): END 9: Frank DeJiulio, Jr. strands the winning run at third, and we’ll play extras in Southern Maryland. First time for the Ducks in 2015.

UPDATE (10:14): FINAL: Looked as though the Ducks had a double play to end the inning, but third base umpire says Corona missed the tag. Blue Crabs win 4-3.

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Posted on April 30, 2015, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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