Game 34: Ducks at Patriots
After Wednesday’s dramatic win, the Ducks suffered a heartbreaking loss on Thursday night. In a pitcher’s duel, the Patriots pulled even in the four-game series at one win apiece by walking off at TD Bank Ballpark with a 1-0 victory in 12 innings. Somerset also keeps their distance from the Ducks in the Liberty Division with a four game lead.
The game featured stellar pitching from Long Island and Somerset. The bats were quiet all night, thanks to starters Mickey Jannis and Sean Bierman. Jannis was outstanding for the Ducks, tossing eight strong innings without walking a single batter. He allowed three hits and struck out eight. The righty’s command with his knuckleball was fantastic, and his fastball control was also pinpoint. It was a pitch he used for strikes whenever he fell behind in counts. Jannis lowered his ERA to 1.88, fifth overall among league leaders. Bierman matched Jannis with eight shutout frames, allowing six hits to the Flock while walking one and striking out four. The southpaw kept the Ducks off balance with a mix of pitches before giving way to a series of three relievers. His ERA dropped to 1.79, good for third in the Atlantic League. Bierman and Jannis came into the night with the fifth and seventh best overall ERA, respectively, and stayed two spots apart by the ballgame’s end.
Andrew Carignan, Buddy Boshers, and Daniel Sattler would come out of Brett Jodie’s bullpen and pitch four straight hitless innings for Somerset. Sergio Perez and Bruce Kern combined for three hitless innings on Long Island’s side, bringing the game into the bottom of the 12th inning. Amalio Diaz took the ball for the Ducks, entering with a stretch of nine straight scoreless outings, but he struggled in this contest. Diaz walked Somerset’s leadoff hitter, Jonny Tucker, on a full count pitch to put the winning run aboard. Tucker stole second a few moments later, a play that resulted in manager Kevin Baez being ejected from the game. Tucker appeared to have been thrown out by catcher Jose Morales as shortstop Dan Lyons applied the tag, but the runner was ruled safe, inciting an argument from Long Island’s skipper. The play proved costly for Long Island, as Aharon Eggleston plated Tucker from second with a base hit through the right side on a 3-1 pitch for Somerset’s winning run.
CLICK HERE to view Thursday’s box score
The Ducks will try and go back ahead in the series again on Friday when they send Billy Buckner to the hill. Buckner was signed on May 19 and has started one game for the Flock, which came back on May 21 at York. Buckner threw two shutout innings, as he began the process of raising his pitch count, in what was eventually a 6-1 Ducks win. He allowed three hits and one walk while striking out two but did not factor into the decision. The righty comes to the Ducks with six years of Major League experience. He most recently made one start with the San Diego Padres in 2014. Overall, the righty was 7-12 with a 6.02 ERA in 44 Major League games (24 starts) as a member of the Kansas City Royals (2007), Arizona Diamondbacks (2008-10), Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (2013), and Padres (2014).
Somerset will go with right-hander David Harden. The 27-year-old enters with a 2-1 record and a 1.58 ERA. In five appearances, Harden has made just one start. His last outing came this past Sunday in York against the Revolution, and with four scoreless innings of relief, Harden picked up his second win. He is currently in the middle of his third season with the Patriots and owns a 15-9 record with a 3.65 ERA over 38 appearances (22 starts) thus far with Somerset. The Marietta, Georgia native has four seasons of experience in independent baseball, including two seasons with the Southern Illinois Miners. In 76 career minor league appearances (59 starts), Harden is 32-19 with a 3.23 ERA.
Here are tonight’s game notes:
The Faithful Flock: The Ducks have welcomed a total of 6,350,581 fans through the gates of Bethpage Ballpark since the team’s inaugural 2000 season. Long Island has also hosted 639 sellout crowds in that time. Both figures are Atlantic League records. The Ducks have led the Atlantic League in attendance 12 times and have an all-time average attendance of 5,863 (97.7%) entering 2015.
Ducks vs. Patriots: Tonight marks the 288th all-time meeting between the Ducks and Patriots. Somerset leads the series 145-142 and has a 75-66 advantage over the Ducks at TD Bank Ballpark. It also marks the third of 20 scheduled games between the two in 2015. The season series is currently tied at one. The 2014 matchup finished tied at 10 games apiece, with both teams going 5-5 at home.
Offensive Explosion: Despite Thursday’s loss, Long Island’s offense has still been hot in earning eight wins during the last 10 games. In those 10 contests, the Ducks have accrued 56 runs and 106 hits. That’s an average of 5.6 runs and 10.6 hits per game. The Ducks currently lead the Atlantic League in runs (148), RBI (139), walks (108) and on-base percentage (.340) while ranking second in batting average (.268), hits (297), doubles (55) and total bases (413).
Off to the Races: The Ducks stole another base on Thursday and they have now stolen 40 bases this year. That leads the Atlantic League by four over Lancaster. Long Island has at least one steal in six straight games and eight of the last nine contests. Bryan Sabatella leads the league with 14 stolen bases.
Oh Mickey, You’re So Fine: Mickey Jannis turned in his best start of the year with eight shutout innings and eight strikeouts on Thursday. The knuckleballer has been fantastic in his last five appearances (three starts), allowing just three earned runs in 22 innings of work, good for a 1.23 ERA. In that span, he has given up just 16 hits and three walks while striking out 20 batters. Jannis now sports a 1.88 ERA this season, which ranks fifth in the Atlantic League.
Sabatella’s Sizzling: Bryan Sabatella had two hits on Thursday to extend his hitting streak to nine consecutive games. During his hitting streak, the Long Island native is batting .361 (15-for-41) with five doubles, five RBI, seven runs and six stolen bases. Sabatella leads the league with 26 runs this year, three more than Bridgeport’s Nick Van Stratten. In addition, he earned his eighth two-hit game, one shy of the team-lead, and 11th multi-hit contest, three shy of the team high.
Cody’s Crushing It: Cody Puckett extended his on-base streak to nine straight games with a double on Thursday. In those nine games, the third baseman is batting .378 (14-for-37) with three doubles, five RBI, and five runs scored. The streak followed up a stretch where Puckett went 0-for-12 at the plate, and he has raised his batting average from .264 to .298 during the streak.
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. Chris Buckley 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 – DH
#5 Delta Cleary, Jr. – RF
#20 Lew Ford – CF
#2 Cody Puckett – 3B
#33 Jon Griffin – 1B
#26 Jose Morales – C
#22 Blake Davis – 2B
#12 Dan Lyons – SS
#25 Erik Komatsu – LF
#29 Billy Buckner – RHP
#6 Jonny Tucker – CF
#91 Aharon Eggleston – LF
#24 Thomas Neal – DH
#14 Chris Marrero – 1B
#5 Scott Cousins – RF
#20 Greg Hopkins – 3B
#3 Nate Spears – 2B
#13 Robert Andino – SS
#21 James Skelton – C
#27 David Harden – RHP
We’ll have updates all evening long from TD Bank Ballpark as the Ducks continue their four-game series in Somerset. You can also follow the Ducks on Twitter (@LIDucks) for updates all year long!
UPDATE (7:17): TOP 1: Game three is underway from Somerset!
UPDATE (7:48): BOT 2: Somerset goes up 1-0 on a RBI single from Robert Andino.
UPDATE (8:03): BOT 3: Chris Marrero hits a two-run homer to left and makes it 3-0 Patriots.
UPDATE (9:08): TOP 8: Ducks still trailing 3-0 but coming up to bat and looking to get on the board!
UPDATE (9:35): FINAL: Ducks fall 3-0 in game three of the series.