Game 21: Ducks at Barnstormers

The first 20 games of a 140-game season for the Ducks has come and gone, and through the first seventh of the season, a lot of ups and downs have come Long Island’s way as well. Since the start of the year, the Ducks have won 10 games and lost 10 games. They’ve played 10 at home and 10 away from home. Five players have joined the roster (Prentice Redman, Dillon Haupt, Nick Struck, Chris McCoy and Delta Cleary, Jr.) and three have left for new teams (Mike Blanke, Hector Ambriz and Evan Crawford). Ultimately, the first stretch can be defined as a mixed bag thus far for the Flock.

The Ducks fell to 10-10 by dropping their homestand finale 9-7 on Thursday night to the Bridgeport Bluefish. Despite seven runs, three of which came on homers, and 14 total hits, Long Island’s pitching was unable to keep the Bluefish at bay. Eric Niesen suffered through a second consecutive rough start, lasting only five innings and allowing 10 hits and seven runs (five earned). The left-hander has now given up 15 runs (10 earned) over his last eight innings of work, erasing a solid first two starts in his first year as a full-time starter with the Ducks. The bullpen had trouble keeping the Bluefish quiet as well, as Mickey Jannis and Bruce Kern combined to allow two runs on just one hit.

As for the offense, Long Island swung the bats very well in the early going. A RBI single by Lew Ford in the first put the Ducks on top 1-0, and even after the Bluefish scored three in the second, Jon Griffin and Dillon Haupt each hit homers in the bottom of the frame to tie the score. Two innings later, after falling behind 6-3, the Ducks answered right back with two more runs on a Griffin solo blast and a Dan Lyons RBI single to close the gap to one. From there on though, the Ducks struggled with their situational hitting. By the end of the night, they had tied a season-high by leaving 11 men on base. The Ducks mounted a rally in the ninth when trailing by three, as they drew four walks against Luis Perdomo. Unfortunately, they left the bases loaded and couldn’t get the single they needed to tie up the ballgame.

CLICK HERE to listen to highlights from Thursday’s game
CLICK HERE to watch postgame comments from Kevin Baez and Griffin
CLICK HERE to view Thursday’s box score

With the loss and a Somerset Patriots victory, Long Island saw their deficit in the Liberty Division grow to three games. Thankfully for the Ducks, 50 games remain in the first half of the season, and they have yet to face the Patriots. There’s still plenty of time to make up ground, but the Ducks definitely do not want to wait. Now, the team embarks on a seven-game road trip against the two teams who have gotten off to the toughest starts in the Atlantic League: the Lancaster Barnstormers (6-15) and the York Revolution (8-12).

Long Island opens up a four-game weekend wraparound series in Lancaster on Friday night after they took three of four from the Barnstormers at Bethpage Ballpark last weekend. One of the three wins was partly on account of a terrific start from Mark Rogers, who will take the mound for the Ducks to open this series. The right-hander made his first start in nine days after suffering an Achilles injury, and he was magnificent. Rogers tossed six no-hit innings, allowing just two baserunners on a walk and an error, and he struck out eight batters. Had he not been on a limited pitch count coming off of injury, he might have completed the no-no. He’ll try to continue that success tonight in a ballpark that he called home last year. The former big leaguer hopes for better results than 2014 though, as he was 1-1 with a 5.92 ERA in five starts at Clipper Magazine Stadium.

Facing Rogers will be the only starter to earn a win for the Barnstormers last weekend: Dan Osterbrock. The southpaw pitched five innings this past Sunday, allowing one unearned run on three hits and four walks while striking out two. He didn’t get much run support until the sixth inning of that game when the ‘Stormers scored twice to take a 3-0 lead. Long Island rallied back in the game, but ultimately fell a run short, giving the lefty his first win of the season. Rogers and Osterbrock were teammates in Lancaster this past season, and Osterbrock struggled at home as well. Aside from a 6-3 record, he had a 4.95 ERA in 15 games (12 starts) and surrendered 78 hits in 67 and one-third innings.

Here are tonight’s game notes:

Ducks vs. Barnstormers: Tonight marks the 199th all-time meeting between the Ducks and Barnstormers. The Ducks lead the series 103-95 and have a 51-49 record at Clipper Magazine Stadium. Tonight is also the fifth of 20 scheduled games between the teams in 2015. Long Island leads the series 3-1. Lancaster won the 2014 season series 13-7 and went 7-3 against the Flock at home.

Griffin Goes Yard (Twice): Jon Griffin became the second Duck to hit two home runs in a single game this season with two solo blasts on Thursday. The first Duck with a multi-homer game in 2015 was Cody Puckett, who went deep twice on May 2 against Sugar Land. With his two longballs, he is now tied with Puckett for the team lead in homers at four, and the two were his first longballs hit at Bethpage Ballpark. Griffin also collected his first three-hit game of the season and second multi-hit contest.

Dan’s the Man: Dan Lyons extended his hitting streak to nine consecutive games with three hits on Thursday. That’s the second-longest hitting streak by a Duck this season (Reegie Corona, 11). During the streak, Lyons is batting .419 (13-for-31) with two doubles, five RBI and three runs. The shortstop has now collected a hit in 13 of the 18 games that he has played in this season. Thursday was also his first three-hit game and fourth multi-hit contest. Lyons amassed two three-hit and 25 multi-hit games in 2014.

Redman Keeps Reaching: Prentice Redman had a single and a walk on Thursday and has now reached base safely in all 12 games played as a Duck. That is the longest on-base streak by a Duck this year. During the stretch, the former New York Met has drawn 10 walks while totaling five RBI and eight runs. He has drawn at least one walk (seven total) in five consecutive games.

Two-fer Thursday: Reegie Corona and Bryan Sabatella each finished with two hits on Thursday. Corona is now tied with Puckett for the team lead with six two-hit games and has seven multi-hit contests. Sabatella earned his fourth two-hit and sixth multi-hit game of the year. Corona has now hit safely in 12 of his last 13 games, while Sabatella has reached base safely in 15 of his last 16 contests.

On the Air: Tonight’s game will be broadcast on the Ducks’ flagship radio station, 103.9-FM LI News Radio. Live streaming audio will also be available 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:

#44 Bryan Sabatella – RF
#11  Reegie Corona – 2B
#20 Lew Ford – CF
#2   Cody Puckett – 3B
#28 Prentice Redman – DH
#33 Jon Griffin – 1B
#26 Jose Morales – C
#25 Erik Komatsu – LF
#12 Dan Lyons – SS

#37 Mark Rogers – RHP

#1   Yusuke Kajimoto – 2B
#6   Chevy Clarke – CF
#2   Blake Gailen – 1B
#31 Brian Cavazos-Galvez – RF
#7   Lance Zawadzki – SS
#28 Keith Castillo – DH
#27 Juan Apodaca – C
#3   Tyler Bortnick – 3B
#5   Masato Fukae – LF

#41 Dan Osterbrock – LHP

Keep it here for updates all game long from Clipper Magazine Stadium, as the Ducks and Barnstormers kick off their four-game set. You can also follow the Ducks on Twitter (@LIDucks) for updates all year long!

UPDATE (7:09): We are underway at Clipper Magazine Stadium, as Lew Ford picked up his eighth double of the year for the Flock!

UPDATE (7:25): BOT 1: Barnstormers take a 3-0 lead on a three-run home run to right-center by Blake Gailen.

UPDATE (8:00): BOT 3: Barnstormers add two more on a wild pitch by Mark Rogers and a sac fly from Juan Apodaca. They lead 5-0.

UPDATE (8:11): TOP 4: Ducks get on the scoreboard on a RBI single to center by Jon Griffin! Long Island closes to within 5-1.

UPDATE (8:44): BOT 5: A two-out RBI double by Apodaca gives Lancaster its five-run lead back at 6-1.

UPDATE (9:19): TOP 7: Ford picks up his fourth hit of the night with a two-out RBI single to center! That cuts the deficit to 6-2.

UPDATE (9:57): FINAL: Barnstormers take the opener of the series 6-2 from the Ducks. Game two of the set will be Saturday night at 7:00.


Posted on May 15, 2015, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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