Game 44: Ducks vs. Blue Crabs


Seven in a row! After sweeping the Camden Riversharks in four games on the road, the Long Island Ducks returned home to Bethpage Ballpark on Sunday and took a series opener from the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs in waddle off fashion. After amassing five walk off wins in 2014, the Flock notched their fourth of the year on Sunday afternoon.

Knuckleballer Mickey Jannis was masterful once again. In his fourth straight start, the righty allowed just one run on four hits in seven innings of work. He walked one and struck out four. Jannis’ knuckleball movement and ability to spot his fastball when necessary continues to baffle hitters. 68 of Jannis’ 99 pitches were strikes. The lone run came in the fifth inning on a close play in right field, a deep fly ball that Bryan Sabatella nearly caught but missed. The result was a RBI triple off the bat of Antone DeJesus, putting Southern Maryland up 1-0. However, Sabatella made up for the play in the bottom of the frame with a two-run single to center that scored Mike Blanke and Dan Lyons. Sabatella continues to be a force at the top of Kevin Baez’s lineup, leading the league in hits (54), stolen bases (15), and runs (35). The Flock were able to extend the lead to 4-1 by the end of the eighth inning, thanks to a sacrifice fly from Blanke in the sixth and a bases loaded walk from Sabatella in the eighth.

The victory seemed easily in hand going into the top of the ninth. Closer Ryan Kussmaul emerged from the Long Island bullpen looking for his league-leading 11th save. But, things got dicey quickly. Southern Maryland’s Zach Wilson led the inning off by hitting a lazy fly ball to right field that should have been easily playable for Sabatella. Despite an attempt to shield the sun with his hand, Sabatella turned away as the ball fell a few feet away from him in the grass. Wilson ended up at second base with a double. Jovan Rosa followed up with a single to right field to put runners on the corners. After retiring the next two batters, Kussmaul was nearly out of the jam. Then, Craig Maddox, pinch hitter Daryle Ward, and DeJesus each brought in a run with two strikes against them to tie the game at four. DeJesus brought in the tying run on a deep fly ball to right field that Sabatella tracked down but was unable to hold on to. He was charged with an error. Kussmaul retired Fred Lewis to end the top of the frame. In the bottom of the ninth, Lew Ford doubled into the left field corner to put the winning run on second. Cody Puckett flew out, Jon Griffin was intentionally walked, and after a wild pitch during the at-bat to Prentice Redman advanced the runners, Redman was walked to load the bases. Reegie Corona came through with the game-winning hit to center that plated Ford for the 5-4 win.

Despite his troubles in the outfield, Sabatella finished with two hits and three RBI to pace Long Island. Corona and Blanke each finished with a pair of hits and one RBI apiece. Jannis took a tough no decision, Amalio Diaz was solid as usual in the eighth with a scoreless frame, and Kussmaul ended up with the win, his second of the year. Blue Crabs reliever Justin Berg took the loss for the road team, recording just one out in the bottom of the ninth.

CLICK HERE to listen to highlights from Sunday’s game

CLICK HERE to watch postgame interviews with Kevin Baez, Reegie Corona, and Mickey Jannis

CLICK HERE to view Sunday’s box score

Long Island will try to make it eight straight on Monday night when they give the ball to right-hander Bruce Kern, who has primarily been a reliever to this point. It will be the Yaphank native’s second start of the season. Kern enters at 2-1 with a 2.54 ERA. Through 17 and two-thirds innings of work, he has allowed five runs on 11 hits while walking eight and striking out 20. His last appearance came on June 4 in Camden as part of a 9-1 Ducks win over the Riversharks. Kern pitched a scoreless inning of relief with two strikeouts. His lone start of the year came on May 9 in Central Islip in a 3-2 Long Island win over the Lancaster Barnstormers. In three innings, he allowed just one hit and one walk with two strikeouts. Kern has amassed five seasons of professional baseball experience, all in the Colorado Rockies organization. He split time in 2014 with Single-A Modesto and Double-A Tulsa, combining to appear in 30 games and strike out 23 batters in 28 innings of work. The previous year, he went 2-0 with a 1.52 ERA, three saves and 29 strikeouts in 31 games split between Modesto and Single-A Tri-City.

Southern Maryland counters with southpaw Brian Burres. The 33-year-old has appeared in seven games on the season, four of which have been starts. He enters at 1-2 with a 4.43 ERA. The lefty has allowed 11 runs on 22 hits in 22 and one-third innings of work. He has walked eight and struck out 19. He last pitched on June 1 in Sugar Land against the Skeeters, a 13-5 loss. Burres lasted three innings, giving up six runs (all earned) on six hits while walking four and striking out one. The Ducks have faced Burres once this season, his longest outing of the season (six innings) back on April 29. The Crabs fell to the Ducks 3-0 in Southern Maryland. Drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 31st round in 2000, the southpaw made his Major League debut with the Baltimore Orioles in 2006. In six seasons, Burres appeared in 106 games at the Major League level for three teams, including the Orioles, Toronto Blue Jays and Pittsburgh Pirates. He rejoins the Blue Crabs for the second straight season. He went 3-2 with a 1.64 ERA in nine starts last season.

Here are tonight’s game notes:

Ducks vs. Blue Crabs: Tonight marks the 143rd all-time meeting between the Ducks and Blue Crabs. Southern Maryland currently leads the series 77-65 and has a 38-36 advantage at Bethpage Ballpark. Tonight is also the sixth of 20 scheduled games between them in 2015. The Ducks currently lead the series three games to two. Long Island won the 2014 series 12-8.

Offensive Onslaught: The Ducks have broken out the bats in a big way during their seven-game winning streak. Long Island has combined to score 50 runs on 78 hits in their last seven games. That’s an average of 7.1 runs and 11.1 hits per game. The Ducks lead the Atlantic League in batting (.272), runs (204), hits (402), walks (151), on-base percentage (.346) and slugging percentage (.372)

Waddle-Off Magic: The Ducks earned their fourth waddle-off victory of 2015 and second in the month of June on Sunday. Their first was on Prentice Redman’s RBI single in the 11th inning June 1 against York. Long Island has now collected two walk-off wins in the last three Sunday games. Last year, the Ducks totaled five walk-off wins for the entire season.

Oh Mickey, You’re So Fine: Mickey Jannis continued his masterful pitching with seven innings of one-run ball on Sunday. In his last seven games (four starts), the knuckleballer has allowed just four earned runs over 37 innings of work, good for a 0.97 ERA. In that span, he has given up 21 hits and nine walks while striking out 33 batters. In his last three starts, the righty is 1-0 with a 0.39 ERA.

Top of the Heap: Bryan Sabatella extended his hitting streak to six straight games with two singles on Sunday. During the streak, the Long Island native is batting .483 (14-for-29) with five RBI and eight runs scored. Sunday was also his 12th two-hit game and 17th multi-hit contest, both of which lead the Ducks. In addition, Sabatella collected his team-high third three-RBI game as well as his fourth multi-RBI contest. The outfielder leads the Atlantic League in hits (54), runs (35), at-bats (183) and stolen bases (15).

We’re Going Streaking: Jon Griffin extended his on-base streak to 12 straight games with a single and three walks on Sunday. During the streak, the first baseman is batting .340 (16-for-47) with four doubles, three homers, 15 RBI, six runs, 10 walks and three stolen bases. Delta Cleary, Jr. extended his on-base streak to 10 consecutive games with a single. The outfielder is batting .318 (14-for-44) with two doubles, one triple, three RBI, eight runs and four stolen bases in that span.

On the Air: Tonight’s game can be heard on the Ducks’ flagship radio station, 103.9-FM LI News Radio. Live streaming video and audio will also be available on the Ducks official YouTube channel by CLICKING HERE. Chris King and David Weiss 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. – LF
#20 Lew Ford – CF
#2 Cody Puckett – 3B
#33 Jon Griffin – 1B
#28 Prentice Redman – RF
#11 Reegie Corona – 2B
#9 Mike Blanke – C
#12 Dan Lyons – SS

#18 Bruce Kern – RHP

Blue Crabs
#1 Fred Lewis – RF
#17 Renny Osuna – 3B
#29 Zach Wilson – 1B
#36 Jovan Rosa – DH
#23 Gustavo Molina – C
#2 Jake Opitz – 2B
#6 Jamar Walton – LF
#4 Casey Frawley – SS
#3 Antone DeJesus – CF

#12 Brian Burres

Keep it here for updates all evening long from the Duck Pond as the Ducks try to keep their winning streak going against the Blue Crabs. You can also follow the Ducks on Twitter (@LIDucks) for updates all year long!

UPDATE (6:36): TOP 1: Bruce Kern deals a first pitch strike to Fred Lewis and we are underway from Bethpage Ballpark!

UPDATE (6:42): TOP 1: Jovan Rosa with the RBI single to right and it’s 1-0 Blue Crabs.

UPDATE (7:08): BOT 2: Dan Lyons ties the game at one with a single into center field!

UPDATE (8:14): BOT 6: Prentice Redman lines a single to left that scores Lew Ford! Ducks go ahead 2-1!!!

UPDATE (8:46): MID 8: Nick Struck escapes the jam! After Southern Maryland’s leadoff runner reached third, Struck didn’t allow the run to score! 2-1 Ducks!

UPDATE (8:51): TOP 9: Amalio Diaz on for the save! Ducks leading 2-1 and looking for their eighth straight win!

UPDATE (9:06): FINAL: Diaz strands two runners on in the ninth, and the Ducks beat the Blue Crabs 2-1 for their eighth straight win!



Posted on June 8, 2015, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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