Game 47: Ducks at Bluefish
Double digits—10 in a row! On a wild Wednesday night, the comeback quacks struck again, this time, overcoming a six-run deficit to win 10-9 at Bethpage Ballpark. Besides extending the winning streak, the Flock notched their second straight four-game sweep, having now swept the Camden Riversharks and Southern Maryland Blue Crabs in back-to-back series. Additionally, one lucky fan in attendance took home $10,000! More on that later in the blog. Long Island (29-16) now trails Somerset (31-14) by just two games in the Liberty Division heading into a crucial four-game road series with the Bridgeport Bluefish. The Ducks enter the series with a 1-5 record against the ‘Fish in 2015.
To say that that last night’s game was exciting would be an understatement. The Ducks found themselves on top early, when Lew Ford brought in Bryan Sabatella on a RBI single to center field putting the Flock up 1-0. But, the Blue Crabs erupted for five runs in the second off of Ducks starter Andrew Barbosa. A RBI single from Casey Stevenson, a three-run double off the bat of Fred Lewis, and a RBI ground out from Renny Osuna put the road team up 5-1. The Ducks got two of the runs back in the third. Ford dropped another RBI single into center and was followed up by Randy Ruiz, who roped a RBI double to deep right-center. At the end of six, things were not looking good for the Ducks, who were trailing 9-3. The Crabs tacked on another run in the fourth and three more in the sixth. Lewis picked up two more RBI in the sixth with a two-run double.
After going scoreless in the sixth, the Ducks began their incredible offensive stand in the seventh. Long Island batted through their lineup and were kick started by Delta Cleary, Jr., who led the frame off with a double. Ford walked before Ruiz drove in Cleary, Jr. for the first run of the inning. Cody Puckett singled to score Ford and advance Ruiz to second. Jon Griffin struck out for the first out, but Reegie Corona followed up by reaching on an error at first to load the bases. Mike Blanke’s single scored Ruiz and made it 9-6 Southern Maryland. Dan Lyons popped out for the second out. The next batter was Sabatella, who made it a 9-8 game with a two-run double off the top of the wall in left field. The right fielder missed a grand slam by just a few feet. Cleary, Jr., who led the inning off, completed the incredible comeback with a ground ball single up the middle into center that scored two and put the Ducks up 10-9. Lew Ford’s strikeout ended the inning.
Amalio Diaz held the Crabs scoreless in the eighth, setting up closer Ryan Kussmaul for the ninth. Kussmaul allowed one hit in the final frame, but struck out the side to complete the series sweep and earn his league-leading 11th save of the season. Barbosa took a no decision for Long Island. He was roughed up for six runs (all earned) on eight hits in four innings, his second-shortest outing of the season. He walked three and struck out five. Southern Maryland starter Brian Baker also took a no decision, giving up three runs (all earned) through five innings on eight hits. He walked and struck out two. Mark Rogers, who pitched a scoreless inning of relief in the seventh, picked up the win to improve to 3-3. Fernando Nieve took the loss for the Crabs, allowing all seven of Long Island’s runs in the seventh, although four of them were unearned. He recorded just two outs in the seventh before being replaced by Justin Berg, who surrendered the two-run single to Delta Cleary, Jr.
Sabatella finished the game with two hits and two runs, keeping him atop the league in each category. His 38 runs lead teammate Cody Puckett who is in second with 27. Sabatella and Puckett are first and second in hits as well, with 59 and 55, respectively. Cleary, Jr. swiped two bases, giving him 10 on the season in just 23 starts. He is tied for fourth in the league in that category.
Because the Ducks scored exactly seven runs in the seventh inning, one fan took home $10,000 as part of Long Island’s “Winning Inning Wednesday” promotion. At each Wednesday home game, the Ducks will designate a specific occurrence for each inning. If the event takes place during that inning, one lucky fan will win $10,000. To be eligible to win, fans need to simply sign up prior to first pitch at the Long Island Ducks Ticket Kiosk, located on the main concourse behind home plate. Long Island had designated a seven-run seventh as the occurrence for that inning.
CLICK HERE to listen to highlights from the incredible come-from-behind win
CLICK HERE to watch postgame interviews with Kevin Baez, Delta Cleary, Jr. and Randy Ruiz
CLICK HERE to view Wednesday’s box score
Having reached 10 straight wins, the Ducks will go across the Long Island Sound to Bridgeport, Connecticut for a four-game set as part of the Ferry Cup Series. Down four games overall on the season, Long Island will send righty Ian Marshall to the mound in game one against the Bluefish. He enters at 3-1 on the year with a 2.57 ERA. In 39 and one-third innings, the 28-year-old has allowed 14 runs (11 earned) on 33 hits while walking 13 and striking out 24. Marshall is coming off of one of his best starts of the season. On June 6 in Camden, he surrendered just one run on five hits in eight strong innings against the Riversharks, leading the Ducks to a 7-1 road win. The win was the sixth straight as part of their current winning streak. He joins Long Island after spending each of the past two seasons with the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs. In 2014, he made 27 starts, going 10-10 with a 4.09 ERA over 156 and one-third innings. His efforts earned him a selection to play in the Atlantic League All-Star Game, where he tossed a scoreless inning of relief. In 2013, the Maryland native went 12-8 with a 4.00 ERA and 98 strikeouts in 27 starts. Marshall spent two seasons in the Atlanta Braves organization (2010, ‘12), reaching as high as Single-A. In 32 games as a reliever in 2012, he struck out 42 batters in 45 innings and compiled three saves.
Bridgeport (18-26), currently last in the Liberty Division, will counter with lefty Scott Maine. Maine comes into Thursday’s contest with a 1-4 record and 6.04 ERA. Through 41 and two-thirds innings, Maine has given up 30 runs (28 earned) on 54 hits while walking 23 and striking out 41. The southpaw’s previous two starts have come on the road in Lancaster (May 30) and Southern Maryland (June 6). Against the Blue Crabs, he went six and two-thirds innings and allowed four runs (all earned) on six hits. He walked and struck out three. Through two starts against the Ducks this season (1-0), the 30-year-old has pitched 10 and two-thirds innings, giving up seven runs (all earned) on 12 hits with seven walks and six strikeouts. The left-hander began last season with the ‘Fish, before his contract was sold to Double-A Pensacola of the Southern League (Cincinnati Reds). In 32 combined appearances in 2014, Scott collected three wins with 32 strikeouts in 30.1 innings pitched. Maine made three appearances in the Major Leagues, pitching for the Chicago Cubs in 2010, 2011, and 2012, and the Cleveland Indians also in 2012. In 50 appearances, he recorded a 5.59 ERA and 48 strikeouts in 46.2 innings.
Here are tonight’s game notes:
Ducks vs. Bluefish: Tonight marks the 292nd all-time meeting between the Ducks and Bluefish. Bridgeport currently leads the series by a 148-143 margin and has an 81-63 advantage at The Ballpark at Harbor Yard. Tonight is also the seventh of 27 scheduled games between the two teams in 2015. The Bluefish lead this year’s series 5-1. This season marks the seventh edition of the Ferry Cup Series, with the Ducks winning the Cup in four of the first six years.
Offensive Onslaught: The Ducks have broken out the bats in a big way during their 10-game winning streak. Long Island has combined to score 71 runs on 116 hits in their last 10 games. That’s an average of 7.1 runs and 11.6 hits per game. The Ducks lead the Atlantic League in batting average (.278), runs (226), hits (440), walks (159), on-base percentage (.352) and slugging percentage (.380).
The Streak Continues: The Ducks earned their 10th win in a row Wednesday, which is the longest winning streak in the Atlantic League this year. The streak is also tied for the third-longest in team history. Long Island also won 10 in a row in May 20-30, 2001. The longest winning streak in franchise history was 12 games, done July 5-20, 2006. The Ducks have now swept back-to-back series, have earned three series sweeps this year and are unbeaten in their last six series.
Comeback Quacks: Wednesday marked the third time this season that the Ducks rallied from a deficit of six runs or more to win a game. Long Island previously overcame a deficit of eight runs (9-1) on May 8 against Lancaster for an 11-10 win, and they came back from a seven run deficit (8-1) at York on May 20 for an 11-9 victory. The Ducks have now earned 12 come-from-behind wins this season, including in each of the four wins this past series over the Blue Crabs.
Top of the Heap: Bryan Sabatella extended his hitting streak to nine straight games with two hits on Wednesday. During the streak, the Long Island native is batting .452 (19-for-42) with eight RBI and 11 runs scored. He has earned hits in 20 of his last 22 games, reaching base safely in 21 of them. The outfielder leads the Atlantic League in hits (59), runs (38), at-bats (196) and stolen bases (15).
Marshall’s Masterful: Tonight’s starter, Ian Marshall, has been strong on the mound of late. The right-hander has allowed just seven earned runs over his last four starts (23.1 IP), good for a 2.70 ERA. In that span, he has given up 21 hits and 11 walks while striking out 14. The Maryland native has yielded two earned runs or less in each of those four starts and in six of his seven starts in 2015.
On the Air: Tonight’s game will be broadcast on the Ducks’ official YouTube channel. Live streaming audio will 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 – RF
#11 Reegie Corona – 2B
#20 Lew Ford – CF
#50 Randy Ruiz – DH
#2 Cody Puckett – 3B
#33 Jon Griffin – 1B
#28 Prentice Redman – LF
#9 Mike Blanke – C
#22 Blake Davis – SS
#21 Ian Marshall – RHP
#3 Jake Luce – LF
#22 Sean Burroughs – 3B
#19 Welington Dotel – RF
#26 John Alonso – 1B
#17 Jobduan Morales – C
#27 Frazier Hall – DH
#6 Luis An. Rodriguez – 2B
#7 James Simmons – CF
#4 Matt Wessinger – SS
#24 Scott Maine – LHP
Keep it here for updates all evening long from Bridgeport, as the Ducks look for their 11th straight! You can also follow the Ducks on Twitter (@LIDucks) for updates all year long!
UPDATE (7:19): TOP 1: Ducks plate two runs in the first! RBI single from Lew Ford and a run-scoring double play ball from Randy Ruiz! 2-0 Flock!
UPDATE (8:14): TOP 4: Bridgeport tacks on one run, sacrifice fly from Welington Dotel. 2-1 Ducks. LI coming up to bat!
UPDATE (8:27): TOP 5: Jake Luce with a RBI ground out, tying the game at two. Ducks coming up in the top of the fifth to try and get back on top!
UPDATE (8:45): TOP 5: A dropped fly ball in center off the bat of Frazier Hall scores a run and the Bluefish lead 3-2. Ducks coming up!
UPDATE (9:14): BOT 7: Ian Marshall out, Patrick Crider in. Marshall responsible for a runner at second base. Ducks trail 3-2.
UPDATE (9:29): TOP 9: Last chance! Ducks trail 3-2 and will have Ruiz, Puckett, and Griffin due up!
UPDATE (9:50): FINAL: Ducks fall 3-2 in Bridgeport.