Game 55: Ducks vs. Bluefish
Friday night was quite a special one at Bethpage Ballpark, capped off by yet another Ducks win. Before defeating the Bridgeport Bluefish 6-2, the Ducks retired the jersey number of Justin Davies in a pre-game ceremony. His #4 now sits permanently next to the scoreboard in left-center field. It was only fitting that the Ducks win by four runs on the night in which the Flock retire the all-time great’s number. Late offense and yet another strong pitching performance did the trick for Long Island. The Ducks improved to a 5-6 record in the 2015 Ferry Cup Series after initially sitting at 1-5.
Before Friday’s game got underway, Justin Davies made a return to Bethpage Ballpark for the very special occasion. In a presentation emceed by Ducks broadcaster Chris King, the Flock Faithful welcomed the fan-favorite back to the Duck Pond to see his number retired by the team. A special video montage featuring Ducks Founder/CEO Frank Boulton, President/GM Michael Pfaff, Current Manager/Former Teammate Kevin Baez, and Co-owner/Coach Bud Harrelson was played for all in attendance. The group spoke about Justin’s time with the Ducks and their memories of his playing days. In addition, special video highlights were played remembering the Ducks clinching their first playoff berth in 2004 as well as the 2004 Championship Series. Justin and his family were then welcomed onto the field. He donned the #4 jersey one last time and was presented with a memento to commemorate the ceremony. After speaking to the crowd, Justin threw out the ceremonial first pitch leading into Friday night’s contest.
CLICK HERE to view a Facebook photo album from the pre-game ceremony
Ducks starter John Brownell and Bluefish starter Mike Antonini were in a pitcher’s duel for a majority of the game, but Brownell fell behind first against the Bluefish. In the third, Bluefish shortstop Matt Wessinger hit a solo homer to left to put the road team on top 1-0. But, Brownell rebounded quickly to keep Long Island in the contest. He and Antonini traded zeroes until the seventh when the Ducks began their comeback. With the bases loaded, Prentice Redman hit a line drive off of Antonini’s back that deflected in front of the mound. As Antonini ran to grab the ball, he lost his balance and tossed the ball over the head of battery mate Jobduan Morales to the backstop behind home plate. Randy Ruiz and Cody Puckett scored on the throwing error as unearned runs and the Flock were leading 2-1. Dan Lyons followed up with a sacrifice fly and Reegie Corona’s run-scoring triple had Long Island on top 4-1. All of the runs in the inning were unearned.
The Ducks were able to add two more runs in the eighth on a RBI double from Puckett and Morales’ ground ball to first that was misplayed by John Alonso, scoring Puckett. Up 6-1, Bruce Kern was brought in for the non-save situation in the ninth. The Bluefish put together one run on three hits, but Kern worked out of any further damage to finish the 6-2 win.
Brownell (6-1) is now second in the Atlantic League in wins behind Southern Maryland’s Jake Hale. He is also first in strikeouts with 57, finishing last night’s game with seven in eight innings. He allowed just the one run on four hits while walking two. Antonini (3-5) is second in the Atlantic with 55 strikeouts. With two hits last night, Ford raised his average to .343, putting him back in first place among league leaders. His 70 hits are tops in the Atlantic. The win was Long Island’s 10th straight at Bethpage Ballpark and their 16th come-from-behind “W” this year.
The Ducks will try to win their 11th straight home game on Saturday night with Billy Buckner on the hill. The righty comes into the second game of the series at 3-1 with a 4.03 ERA through five starts. In 22 and one-third innings pitched, the former big leaguer has allowed 10 runs on 24 hits with nine walks and 20 strikeouts. The Ducks have won four of the five games Buckner has started, including his previous outing in which the right-hander looked very sharp. On June 14 in Bridgeport, Buckner went six innings and allowed one run on our hits while walking two and striking out seven. He had at least one strikeout in every inning, lifting him to a third straight win. Tonight will be his second start against the ‘Fish. Buckner is in his first season with the Ducks and in the Atlantic League.
The Bluefish, who have now dropped four straight contests to the Ducks, will send Kameron Loe to the hill. The veteran will be making his first ever start for the Bluefish, joining the team with 15 years of professional experience. The 6-foot-8 righty spent nine years in the Major Leagues with the Texas Rangers (2004-2008), Milwaukee Brewers (2010-2012), and the Seattle Mariners, Chicago Cubs, and Atlanta Braves in 2013. The 33-year-old has appeared in 322 Major League games and has a 4.49 ERA with 357 strikeouts in 569.0 innings of work. In 2014, the Arizona native spent time with Triple-A Gwinnett (Atlanta) of the International League and Triple-A Omaha (Kansas City) and Reno (Arizona) of the Pacific Coast League. Kameron was originally drafted by the Philadelphia Phillies in the 39th round of the 1999 MLB amateur draft out of California State University Northridge.
Here are tonight’s game notes:
The Faithful Flock: The Ducks have welcomed an Atlantic League record 6,399,008 fans through the gates of Bethpage Ballpark since the team’s inaugural 2000 season. Long Island also hosted their 640th sellout crowd on Friday, a league record as well. 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. Bluefish: Tonight marks the 297th all-time meeting between the Ducks and Bluefish. Bridgeport currently leads the series by a 149-147 margin, but the Ducks hold an 81-67 advantage at Bethpage Ballpark. Tonight is also the 12th of 27 scheduled games between the two teams in 2015. The Bluefish lead this year’s series six to five. This season marks the seventh edition of the Ferry Cup Series, with the Ducks winning the Cup in four of the first six years.
All They Do Is Win: The Ducks earned their seventh consecutive win on Friday night. In addition, Long Island has a 17-1 record in their last 18 games, outscoring opponents 109-46 in that span (6.1 runs scored/game). Their 17 wins in June is two more than they totaled in all of May. In addition, the Flock have won 10 straight games at Bethpage Ballpark. The longest home winning streak in team history was 12 games, which was done July 5-20, 2006.
Ford’s Fury: Lew Ford has earned hits in 12 consecutive games after picking up a single on Friday. In those 12 games, the former big leaguer is batting .449 (22-for-49) with six doubles, eight RBI, and 11 runs. Ford currently leads the Atlantic League in batting average (.343), hits (70), RBI (44), total bases (106), doubles (19), extra-base hits (25) and slugging percentage (.520). He is also second in on-base percentage (.410) and third in runs scored (30).
What Can Brown-ell Do For You? John Brownell improved to 2-0 at Bethpage Ballpark against Bridgeport this year with Friday’s win. In his two home starts against the Bluefish, he has given up just three runs in 15 innings of work on 10 hits and three walks while striking out 11. The right-hander has not lost in his last seven starts, and the Ducks have earned wins in nine of his 10 starts this year.
Comeback Quacks: The Ducks earned their 16th come-from-behind win on Friday thanks to a four-run seventh inning. Long Island earned their league-best 31st win when leading after seven innings. They also improved to 12-9 in games when their opponent scores first.
Historic Night: Prior to Friday’s game, the Ducks retired the #4 jersey of all-time great Justin Davies. The outfielder spent six seasons with the Ducks (2000-05) and became the first Duck ever to have his jersey number retired. Davies led the Ducks to the 2004 Atlantic League title and was named Championship Series MVP. In addition, he played in two All-Star Games and retired as the team’s all-time leader in games (637), hits (615), runs (426) and stolen bases (149).
On the Air: Tonight’s game can be heard on the Ducks’ flagship station, 103.9-FM LI News Radio. Live streaming video and audio will be available by CLICKING HERE. Michael Polak 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:
#11 Reegie Corona – 2B
#5 Delta Cleary, Jr. – LF
#20 Lew Ford – CF
#50 Randy Ruiz – DH
#33 Jon Griffin – 1B
#2 Cody Puckett – 3B
#26 Jose Morales – C
#27 Prentice Redman – RF
#12 Dan Lyons – SS
#29 Billy Buckner – RHP
#2 Ethan Chapman – LF
#6 Luis An. Rodriguez – 2B
#19 Welington Dotel – RF
#26 John Alonso – 1B
#17 Jobduan Morales – C
#32 Andres Rodriguez – DH
#7 James Simmons – CF
#27 Frazier Hall – 3B
#4 Matt Wessinger – SS
#34 Kameron Loe – RHP
Check back here for updates all game long from the Duck Pond as Long Island continues their series against the Bluefish! You can also follow the Ducks on Twitter (@LIDucks) for updates all year long!
UPDATE (6:10): The start time for tonight’s ballgame has been delayed to 7:00 p.m. due to inclement weather. Stay tuned for further updates.
UPDATE (7:18): TOP 1: Billy Buckner kicks and deals and we are finally underway from Bethpage Ballpark!
UPDATE (7:35): BOT 1: It’s a two-run double from Randy Ruiz! Ducks out to a quick 2-0 lead over the Bluefish!
UPDATE (8:14): BOT 3: LI takes a 3-0 lead! Another RBI for Randy Ruiz on the ground out to short!
UPDATE (8:18): TOP 4: Bridgeport gets on the board with a solo homer to left from Jobduan Morales. Ducks lead cut to 3-1.
UPDATE (8:29): MID 4: A two-run double from Luis Rodriguez to right field ties the game at 3. Ducks coming up to bat trying to get back on top!
UPDATE (8:31): BOT 4: Jose Morales with his first homer of the year! A solo shot to left and it’s 4-3 LI!
UPDATE (8:38): BOT 4: Ducks take a 6-3 lead! A throwing error from Kameron Loe scores Prentice Redman and a sacrifice fly and RBI from Delta Cleary, Jr.!
UPDATE (8:48): BOT 4: Jon Griffin keeps the train moving with a RBI single to left! 7-3 Ducks!
UPDATE (8:54): BOT 4: Jose Morales strikes again! This time a three-run double! Ducks on top 10-3!
UPDATE (9:07): TOP 5: James Simmons’ RBI single to left makes it a 10-4 ballgame.
UPDATE (9:19): BOT 5: Dan Lyons knocks one out of the ballpark in left field! 11-4 Ducks!
UPDATE (9:28): BOT 5: Another RBI single for Jon Griffin! 12-4 LI! 12 runs on 15 hits for the Flock.
UPDATE (9:37): TOP 6: A sacrifice fly to right from John Alonso and a RBI single to center from Jobduan Morales makes it a 12-6 contest in favor of LI.
UPDATE (10:37): FINAL: Ducks WIN! 12-6 is the final! Let the fireworks begin!!!
Posted on June 20, 2015, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged Atlantic League, Bethpage Ballpark, Billy Buckner, Bridgeport Bluefish, John Brownell, Jose Morales, Lew Ford, Long Island Ducks. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.