Game 45: Ducks vs. Blue Crabs

Field

Make it eight! On Monday night, the Flock secured their eighth straight victory with a 2-1 win over the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs in game two of a four game series. The Ducks are currently in the midst of their longest winning streak this season. The streak is also the longest in the Atlantic League this year. The team had been winning by scoring runs at a rampant pace entering last night. However, pitching was the key in Monday’s “W.”

Righty Bruce Kern took the ball to start the game for the Ducks. In just his second start of the season, Kern looked great, and was the key to the win. Primarily a relief pitcher, Kern was not expected to pitch any more than two or three innings. However, with his pitch count in check after three frames, Kern finished the night with five innings under his belt. He allowed one run (unearned) on three hits while walking and striking out none. Kern pitching deeper into the game than expected helped save some arms in the Ducks’ bullpen. The lone Southern Maryland tally came in the first frame. With two outs, first baseman Jon Griffin dropped a pop up in shallow right field which allowed Zach Wilson to advance to second base. Griffin was charged with an error. Jovan Rosa followed up with a RBI single to right to put the Crabs on top 1-0.

However, the Ducks struck back in the second. With two outs and no runners aboard, Reegie Corona and Mike Blanke smacked back-to-back singles. With Corona standing on second, Dan Lyons came through with the game-tying hit on a single to center that scored Corona. In the sixth, the Ducks took a 2-1 lead thanks to a two-out single down the left field line from Prentice Redman that scored Lew Ford. The Blue Crabs were held scoreless in the sixth, seventh, and eighth thanks to relievers Mark Rogers, Carmine Giardina, Patrick Crider, and Nick Struck. Just as they did the day before, Southern Maryland made things difficult for the Ducks in the ninth inning. Amalio Diaz came in to secure the save and victory because of normal closer Ryan Kussmaul’s long outing on Sunday afternoon. Diaz got two quick outs before surrendering back-to-back singles to Fred Lewis and Renny Osuna. Lewis went from first to third on Osuna’s hit. This set up a battle between Diaz and Wilson with the tying run 90 feet away. Diaz buckled down, and on a 1-2 pitch, blew a fastball by Wilson up and in to end the game.

Giardina took the win for the Ducks to improve to 2-0 on the year. Blue Crabs starter Brian Burres suffered the loss, falling to 1-3 in 2015. Struck continued his dominance out of the pen for the Flock with his 10th consecutive scoreless appearance. Long Island’s defense was outstanding in the win as well. It seemed as if every player in the field made at least one notable play that saved a run or at least kept the Blue Crabs off the base paths.

CLICK HERE to listen to highlights from Monday’s game

CLICK HERE to watch postgame interviews with Kevin Baez, Bruce Kern, and Amalio Diaz

CLICK HERE to view Monday’s box score

On Tuesday, the Ducks will be in search of their ninth straight win. Right-hander Billy Buckner will toe the rubber at Bethpage Ballpark as Long Island’ starter. Since joining the Ducks on May 19, the former big leaguer has made three appearances (all starts). He enters tonight’s contest at 1-1 with a 3.17 ERA. In 11 and one-third innings of work, the 31-year-old has surrendered four runs (all earned) on 11 hits. He has walked six and struck out 12. The Georgia native’s previous start came five days ago on June 4 in Camden. The Ducks defeated the Riversharks 9-1 at Campbell’s Field, as Buckner allowed just one run (earned) on three hits through five and one-third innings. He walked and struck out three Sharks. Buckner comes to Long Island with six years of Major League experience, having played with the Kansas City Royals (2007), Arizona Diamondbacks (2008-10), Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (2013), and San Diego Padres (2014). During his time in the big leagues, the righty combined to go 7-12 with 114 strikeouts in 161 and one-third innings. Of his 44 appearances, 24 of them were starts. He began the 2014 season with El Paso (AAA, Padres) before being called up to San Diego in May. The 31-year-old made one start against the Chicago Cubs, tossing five and two-thirds innings and striking out four batters. He was later signed by the Milwaukee Brewers and joined Nashville (AAA, Brewers) where he went 1-1 with 15 strikeouts in 12 innings.

The Blue Crabs, who have now lost four of their last five contests, will send lefty Wade Korpi to the hill. Korpi has appeared in eight games for Southern Maryland in 2015, two of which have been starts. The 29-year-old sports a 1-1 record and an ERA of 7.16. In 16 and one-third innings total, Korpi has been battered for 13 runs (all earned) on 24 hits. His 17 strikeouts are accompanied by just one walk. His two starts came back on May 12 and May 17, versus Sugar Land and Somerset, respectively. Korpi’s lines from both games are nearly identical, allowing three runs on six hits in five innings against both teams. He struck out five Skeeters and six Patriots, earning his lone win against Sugar land and taking his only loss against Somerset. The Tennessee native spent last season with Southern Maryland as well, going 6-3 with a 2.78 ERA in 56 games pitched overall.  He had at least a strikeout on 37 occasions. Drafted by the Florida Marlins in the 20th round of the 2008 amateur draft, Korpi spent four seasons in the Marlins organization, making it as high as AAA New Orleans in 2010. He attended the University of Notre Dame where he was the fourth starter on a staff that contained three MLB Draft picks (Samardzija, Manship, Thorton).  He won two games in the Big East Tournament in 2006.

Here are tonight’s game notes:

The Faithful Flock: The Ducks have welcomed 6,373,802 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. Blue Crabs: Tonight marks the 144th all-time meeting between the Ducks and Blue Crabs. Southern Maryland currently leads the series 77-66 and has a slim 38-37 advantage at Bethpage Ballpark. Tonight is also the seventh of 20 scheduled games between them in 2015. The Ducks currently lead the series four 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 eight-game winning streak. Long Island has combined to score 51 runs on 87 hits in their last eight games. That’s an average of 6.4 runs and 10.9 hits per game. The Ducks lead the Atlantic League in batting (.272), runs (206), hits (411), walks (151), on-base percentage (.344) and slugging percentage (.370).

The Streak Continues: The Ducks earned their eighth win in a row on Monday, which is the longest winning streak in the Atlantic League this year. The previous high was seven, done by the Blue Crabs from May 7 to 14. In addition, the streak surpasses Long Island’s longest winning streak from a year ago of seven, which they did July 2 to 8 and August 29 to September 4. This is also the sixth longest winning streak in team history. The longest was 12 games, done July 5-20, 2006.

Bruce is Bliss: Bruce Kern continued his strong season by pitching five innings on Monday, his longest outing of the year. In addition, he has now made eight consecutive appearances without allowing an earned run. In that span, the Yaphank resident has pitched 12 and two-thirds innings, giving up just eight hits and three walks while striking out nine batters. In the righty’s two starts, he has surrendered just one unearned run on four hits and a walk over eight innings.

Oh, What a Relief They Are: The Ducks’ bullpen continued their dominance of late with four scoreless innings of relief on Monday. In their last 14 games, Ducks relievers have allowed just six earned runs in 48 and one-third innings of work (1.12 ERA). In that span, they’ve yielded just 27 hits and 11 walks while striking out 45 in the 14 games. Nick Struck has now made 10 consecutive scoreless appearances (10.0 IP). Amalio Diaz and Patrick Crider have each given up just one run in their last 15 appearances (15.0 IP for Diaz and 13.1 IP for Crider).

Top of the Heap: Bryan Sabatella extended his hitting streak to seven straight games with a single on Monday. During the streak, the Long Island native is batting .455 (15-for-33) with five RBI and eight runs scored. The outfielder leads the Atlantic League in hits (55), runs (35), at-bats (187) and stolen bases (15).

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 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
#5 Delta Cleary, Jr. – CF
#20 Lew Ford – DH
#2 Cody Puckett – 3B
#33 Jon Griffin – 1B
#28 Prentice Redman – LF
#11 Reegie Corona – 2B
#9 Mike Blanke – C
#12 Dan Lyons – SS

#29 Billy Buckner – RHP

Blue Crabs
#1 Fred Lewis – RF
#17 Renny Osuna – SS
#29 Zach Wilson – 1B
#42 Daryle Ward – DH
#23 Gustavo Molina – C
#2 Jake Opitz – 2B
#24 Casey Stevenson – 3B
#6 Jamar Walton – LF
#3 Antone DeJesus – CF

#13 Wade Korpi – LHP

Keep it here for updates all evening long from Bethpage Ballpark as the Ducks try to win their ninth straight game! You can also follow the Ducks on Twitter (@LIDucks) for updates all year long!

UPDATE (6:44): MID 1: Billy Buckner works a scoreless top of the first and the Ducks are coming up to bat! LI looking for number nine!

UPDATE (6:55): TOP 2: Jake Opitz hits a solo HR to right field and the Blue Crabs lead 1-0.

UPDATE (7:19): TOP 3: Daryle Ward with the RBI single to center makes it 2-0 Blue Crabs.

UPDATE (7:24): TOP 3: Casey Stevenson is hit with the bases loaded to bring in a run and make it 3-0 Blue Crabs.

UPDATE (7:28): BOT 3: Dan Lyons with his first HR of the year! His solo shot to left field makes it a 3-1 game.

UPDATE (7:44): BOT 3: Jon Griffin ties the game at three with a two-run double to right-center! His 34th and 35th RBIs of the season!

UPDATE (8:19): BOT 5: The Ducks answer again! Three runs in the fifth give them their first lead of the game at 6-5! Two-run HR by Prentice Redman and a RBI single by Mike Blanke do the damage!

UPDATE (8:25): BOT 5: Dan Lyons doubles to deep left center, scoring Mike Blanke and making it 7-5 Ducks! Four runs in the fifth!

UPDATE (8:26): BOT 5: Bryan Sabatella keeps the runs coming! His single to center scores Lyons! 8-5 Flock!

UPDATE (8:42): BOT 6: Sacrifice fly and RBI for Jon Griffin, Ford tags from third and scores, 9-5 Ducks! Griffin and Ford tied with 36 RBI!

UPDATE (8:48): BOT 6: Reegie Corona drives in Cody Puckett with a RBI single and makes it 10-5 Long Island!

UPDATE (9:24): MID 8: Nick Struck works out of a first-and-second no-out jam to keep it 10-5 Ducks! LI coming up to bat!

UPDATE (9:42): FINAL: Chris McCoy wraps up the “W” and the Ducks have won nine straight! They take game three from the Blue Crabs 10-5!

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Posted on June 9, 2015, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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