Games 51 and 52: Ducks vs. Skeeters

Field

After traveling to Bridgeport and taking three of four games from the Bluefish, the Ducks have returned home for a seven-game homestand that begins with a matchup against the Sugar Land Skeeters. The Flock will host Sugar Land for three games, beginning with a doubleheader, before seeing the ‘Fish again later this week for four games. In their series finale with Bridgeport, the Ducks used another explosive offensive output to complete their series win and continue their winning ways in June.

Long Island wasted no time in getting the hit parade started in the first inning against Bluefish starter Reinaldo Lopez. Bryan Sabatella, Delta Cleary, Jr., Lew Ford, and Randy Ruiz led off the game with four straight hits. Ford’s RBI single and Ruiz’s RBI double made it 2-0 Long Island. Cody Puckett reached on an error by Bridgeport third baseman Matt Burns that scored a run before Reegie Corona roped a two-run double to the wall in right field. Mike Blanke rounded out the scoring with a RBI single, putting the Ducks up 6-0. The team hit around their lineup, with Sabatella leading the inning off and finishing it as well. The Flock brought in the runs on six hits. Lopez settled down after the first frame, holding the Ducks scoreless through his final three innings. Ducks starter Billy Buckner turned in a strong outing in his fifth start of the season. In six innings, the former big leaguer allowed one run on just four hits while walking two and striking out seven. Buckner recorded at least one strikeout in all six frames he tossed.

The game remained 6-0 until the sixth inning when the ‘Fish got on the board thanks to Jobduan Morales’ RBI ground out to first base. Buckner retired Ryan Babineau one batter later to complete his outing. In the ninth, Mike Blanke gave the Ducks insurance in a big way, launching a three-run homer to deep left field. Reliever Mark Rogers, who was brought in to pitch in the bottom of the eighth, stayed on the mound for the Ducks up 9-1 to finish the game. Rogers allowed a two-run single to Joe Poletsky before being replaced by Matt Soren. Soren recorded two quick outs and the ballgame was over.

The win was Long Island’s third straight and third of the 2015 season in Bridgeport. The Ducks entered Thursday night’s game trailing 5-1 in the Ferry Cup Series, but left The Ballpark at Harbor Yard down just two games, 6-4. The teams play each other 27 times this season. Buckner improved to 3-1 with the “W.” Nick Struck made another scoreless appearance, pitching a one-hit seventh frame. Every starter scored at least one run, except Jon Griffin and Dan Lyons. However, every starter recorded at least one hit for Long Island in the win. Puckett finished with three hits to lead the Ducks. Cleary, Jr., Corona, and Blanke each had a pair as well. Blanke’s home run was his second in as many days, as he hit his first homer of the year the night before. The Flock combined to score 18 runs on 26 hits in the final two games of the series.

CLICK HERE for highlights from the series finale in Bridgeport

CLICK HERE for Sunday’s box score

Long Island opens up their series with Sugar Land with a single-admission doubleheader made up of two seven-inning games. In game one, the Ducks will send lefty Andrew Barbosa to the hill, who comes in at 2-0 with a 2.42 ERA in five starts with the team (none against Sugar Land). Long Island has won every game that Barbosa has pitched in. Through 26 innings, he has allowed eight runs (seven earned) on 21 hits while walking 10 and striking out 31. His previous start was his second shortest of the season. In four innings against the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, Barbosa allowed six runs on eight hits. He walked three and struck out five. Barbosa is in his first season in the Atlantic league and with Long Island. He has played four seasons professionally, all in the Arizona Diamondbacks organization. He began the 2014 season with Double-A Mobile, making three appearances (one start). In 2014, he split time between Rookie-level Diamondbacks and Advanced-A Visalia, combining to go 7-2 with a 3.64 ERA in 20 starts. He allowed 45 runs (36 earned) while walking 40 batters and striking out 119 batters in 89 innings and was named a midseason All-Star with Visalia. The 27-year-old’s best season came in 2013 with Visalia when, in 26 starts, he garnered a 3.81 ERA with 160 strikeouts in 134 and two-thirds innings. He was later named a postseason All-Star. The southpaw played his collegiate baseball at the University of South Florida and was originally drafted by the Diamondbacks in the 36th round of the 2012 amateur draft.

The Skeeters will send righty Josh Geer to the hill to oppose Barbosa. Geer has also started five contests (none against Long Island), entering at 1-0 with a 1.70 ERA. In 26 and one-third innings pitched, Geer has allowed five runs on 25 hits with three walks and 16 strikeouts. The right-hander last pitched on June 10, earning his lone win of the season, in Bridgeport. A 2-1 Sugar Land win, Geer allowed one run on six hits through seven innings. He walked none and struck out a season-high eight batters. Geer spent two seasons at the Major League level with the Padres in 2008 and 2009, earning a 3-8 record and a 5.28 ERA over 22 starts, including 17 in the 2009 campaign. A 10-year veteran out of Rice, Geer spent his entire professional career in the Padres organization before joining the Skeeters. In the minor leagues, the right-hander has a 78-67 record with a 4.29 ERA over 191 starts and 1,219.2 innings pitched. Geer was selected in the third-round of the 2005 MLB amateur draft by San Diego.

On the mound in game two for the Ducks will be Ian Marshall. The righty enters the nightcap at 3-2 with a 2.54 ERA in eight starts. In 46 innings of work, Marshall has surrendered 37 hits for 17 runs (13 earned) while walking 19 and striking out 29. He defeated the Skeeters at Bethpage Ballpark back on May 2 with six one-run innings as part of a 10-2 Long Island win. The Maryland native last pitched the series opener in Bridgeport, taking a tough loss against the Bluefish. In six and two-thirds, Marshall gave up three runs (two earned) on four hits with five strikeouts but walked six. The Flock fell 3-2 in the contest, snapping their 10-game winning streak. Marshall will look to rebound today against a hot Skeeters team. Marshall enters his first season on Long Island and third in the Atlantic League. 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, Marshall went 12-8 with a 4.00 ERA and 98 strikeouts in 27 starts. The 28-year-old 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. For his career, the University of Richmond alum has a 28-26 record with a 4.18 ERA and 257 strikeouts in 99 games (63 starts). Marshall was originally drafted by the New York Mets in the 14th round of the 2005 amateur draft and then was chosen after his collegiate career by the Braves in the 40th round of the 2010 amateur draft.

Sugar Land will go with Sean Gallagher, who has started 10 games this season for the Skeeters and comes in at 1-4 with a 3.47 ERA. In 57 innings hurled, the righty has allowed 23 runs (22 earned) on 49 hits while walking 12 and striking out 41. Gallagher earned his first win last time out at home against the York Revolution, a 5-1 Skeeters victory. He allowed one run on four hits through six innings while walking and striking out two. Gallagher started one game against Long Island this season, taking a no decision on May 3 at Bethpage Ballpark in an 8-4 Skeeters win. Gallagher returns to the Skeeters after joining the squad midway through the 2014 season. In Sugar Land, the right-hander posted a 3-4 mark with a 4.98 ERA over 12 starts and 68.2 innings. In his 11 minor league seasons, he has earned a 67-57 record with a 3.69 ERA and over 1,000 innings pitched. A 12th-round selection of the 2004 MLB amateur draft by the Cubs, Gallagher spent four seasons at the major league level, earning a 10-10 record with a 5.64 ERA after appearing for the Cubs, Athletics, Padres and Pirates.

Here are tonight’s game notes:

Ducks vs. Skeeters: Tonight marks the 64th and 65th all-time meetings between the Ducks and Skeeters. Sugar Land currently leads the series 34-29, but Long Island holds a 19-14 advantage at Bethpage Ballpark. Tonight is also the fourth and fifth of 19 scheduled games between the two teams in 2015. The Ducks lead the series 2-1. Long Island won the 2014 series 13-7, going 7-3 at home.

All They Do Is Win: By taking three of four games in Bridgeport, the Ducks have now won four consecutive series and are unbeaten in their last seven series. The Flock now have a 9-2-2 record in series play. Long Island is 13-1 in their last 14 games and has outscored opponents 94-42 in that span (6.7 runs scored/game).

Top of the Heap: Bryan Sabatella extended his hitting streak to 12 straight games with a single on Sunday. That’s the longest hitting streak by a Duck this season and the longest active hitting streak in the Atlantic League. During the streak, the Long Island native is batting .411 (23-for-56) with one double, one triple, 10 RBI and 13 runs scored. He has earned hits in 23 of his last 25 games, reaching base safely in 24 of them. The outfielder currently leads the league in hits (63), runs (40), at-bats (210) and stolen bases (15).

Ford’s Fury: Lew Ford has now earned hits in eight consecutive games after picking up a single on Sunday. In those eight games, the former big leaguer is batting .429 (15-for-35) with five doubles, seven RBI, and eight runs. He has driven in at least one run in five straight games. Ford currently leads the Atlantic League in hits (63), RBI (43), total bases (98), doubles (18) and extra-base hits (24). Ford also ranks third in slugging percentage (.516), fourth in batting average (.332) and on-base percentage (.405), and fifth in runs (27).

I Can See Cleary Now: Delta Cleary, Jr. collected two hits on Sunday and has now reached base safely in 16 consecutive games, earning hits in eight straight. During the 16-game on-base streak, he is batting .338 (24-for-71) with three doubles, one triple, five RBI, 14 runs and eight stolen bases. In his eight-game hitting streak, the outfielder is batting.324 (12-for-37). Cleary, Jr. has earned multiple hits  and scored at least one run in three of his last four games.

You’ve Been Thunder-Struck: Nick Struck tossed another scoreless inning of relief on Sunday. The right-hander has now made 13 consecutive appearances without allowing a run. In that span, he has pitched 13 innings and given up just nine hits and five walks while striking out 15 batters.

On the Air: Tonight’s game can be heard on the Ducks’ official YouTube channel. Live streaming audio will be available 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 for game one:

Ducks

#44 Bryan Sabatella – RF
#5 Delta Cleary, Jr. – LF
#20 Lew Ford – CF
#50 Randy Ruiz – DH
#33 Jon Griffin – 1B
#2 Cody Puckett – 3B
#11 Reegie Corona – 2B
#9 Mike Blanke – C
#12 Dan Lyons – SS

#49 Andrew Barbosa – LHP

Skeeters

#11 Willy Taveras – DH
#14 Dustin Martin – LF
#24 Delwyn Young – 2B
#5 Kevin Russo – RF
#16 Travis Scott- 1B
#20 Chris Wallace – C
#17 Denny Almonte – CF
#6 Patrick Palmeiro – 3B
#9 Amadeo Zazueta – SS

#32 Josh Geer – RHP

Check back here for updates all game long from the Duck Pond as Long Island opens their series against the Skeeters! You can also follow the Ducks on Twitter (@LIDucks) for updates all year long!

UPDATE (6:40): We are underway at Bethpage Ballpark in game one of tonight’s single admission doubleheader!

UPDATE (7:12): BOT 2: Ducks strike first! Dan Lyons rips a double down the left field line to plate Mike Blanke and give the Flock a 1-0 lead!

UPDATE (7:39): MID 4: Andrew Barbosa works out of a first-and-third situation to keep LI up 1-0! Ducks coming up to bat!

UPDATE (7:47): BOT 4: Dan Lyons with the sacrifice fly and RBI! Cody Puckett scores from third and it’s 2-0!

UPDATE (7:49): BOT 4: Delta Cleary, Jr. drives in Mike Blanke on a single to right-center! 3-0 Flock!

UPDATE (8:20): BOT 6: Dan Lyons cracks his second homer of the season, a solo shot to left! 4-0 Ducks!

UPDATE (8:31): TOP 7: Sugar Land gets on the board with a RBI single from Willy Taveras. 4-1 Ducks.

UPDATE (8:39): FINAL: The Ducks take game one of the series 4-1! Nightcap of the DH is coming up shortly!

UPDATE (8:40): Estimated start time of game two is 9:05! Ian Marshall vs. Sean Gallagher!

Here are your lineups for game two:

Ducks:

#5 Delta Cleary, Jr. – LF
#2 Cody Puckett – 3B
#20 Lew Ford – CF
#50 Randy Ruiz – 1B
#33 Jon Griffin – DH
#28 Prentice Redman – RF
#26 Jose Morales – C
#22 Blake Davis – 2B
#12 Dan Lyons – SS

#21 Ian Marshall – RHP

Skeeters

#11 Willy Taveras – DH
#14 Dustin Martin – LF
#24 Delwyn Young – 1B
#16 Travis Scott – C
#5 Kevin Russo – 2B
#25 Johan Limonta – RF
#6 Patrick Palmeiro – 3B
#17 Denny Almonte – CF
#9 Amadeo Zazueta – SS

#36 Sean Gallagher – RHP

Check back here for updates all game long from the Duck Pond as Long Island plays game two of the DH against the Skeeters! You can also follow the Ducks on Twitter (@LIDucks) for updates all year long!

UPDATE (9:15): BOT 1: Underway in game two! Ducks at the plate!

UPDATE (9:40): TOP 3: Denny Almonte’s solo HR to left gives Sugar Land the 1-0 lead.

UPDATE (9:52): BOT 3: Lew Ford with his league-leading 44th RBI of the season on a RBI single, ties the game at one!

UPDATE (9:54): BOT 3: Randy Ruiz with a RBI double, and the Ducks lead 2-1!

UPDATE (10:24): MID 5: Patrick Crider comes into a bases loaded one-out situation. Throws one pitch and gets the 4-6-3 DP!!! Ducks keep the lead 2-1!

UPDATE (10:47): BOT 6: Randy Ruiz tags up from third on a fly ball to left from Blake Davis! 3-1 Ducks with another insurance run!

UPDATE (10:55): FINAL: Ryan Kussmaul with his second save of the doubleheader, as the Ducks sweep the twinbill over the Sugar Land Skeeters!

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Posted on June 17, 2015, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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