Game 58: Ducks at Skeeters

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The Ducks take their winning streak deep into the heart of Texas on Tuesday night, as they begin a six-game series against the Sugar Land Skeeters. With a seven-game homestand against the Skeeters and Bridgeport Bluefish now in the rear view mirror, the Ducks will look to continue the incredible success they have had lately and do so over a thousand miles from home. Long Island completed their four-game sweep of the Bluefish on Monday night to set a new franchise record for their longest home winning streak (13 games) and also earn their second 10-game winning streak overall this season. It’s been an incredible month for the Flock, who now sit at 20-1 in June.

After some strong offensive performances over the weekend against Bridgeport, pitching took center stage on Monday night. Andrew Barbosa started for the Ducks and was in control for most of his seven innings. He wiggled out of a two-on, one-out jam in the first by inducing a double play from John Alonso, and he followed that up by retiring the next 12 batters in order. The lefty tired a bit in the sixth, walking two and giving up a RBI single to Luis Rodriguez. However, he rebounded in the seventh with a 1-2-3 inning to end his night. Barbosa ended up allowing just two hits and two walks and struck out seven. The back end of the bullpen continued their domination in the eighth and ninth. Amalio Diaz worked a perfect eighth, needing just 11 pitches, and Ryan Kussmaul worked a scoreless ninth, throwing just 10 pitches to earn his league-best 17th save.

At the plate, the Ducks struck early against D.J. Mitchell, who had blanked the Ducks over seven innings back on June 12. Lew Ford got things going in the first with a two-out solo home run to left-center field, Ford’s sixth longball of the season. Two innings later, after they had failed to score with the bases loaded and two outs in the second, the Ducks put together a big two-out rally. Randy Ruiz and Cody Puckett singled to set the stage for the red hot Jose Morales, who doubled off the wall in right to drive both runners home. Reegie Corona followed that with a bloop RBI double that fell in right-center field, and the Ducks had a 4-0 lead that would prove to be plenty. Ruiz finished with two hits on the night, and every member of the offense had at least one hit with the exception of Delta Cleary, Jr.

CLICK HERE to listen to highlights from Monday’s game
CLICK HERE to watch postgame interviews with Kevin Baez, Andrew Barbosa and Jose Morales
CLICK HERE to view Monday’s box score

After the Ducks and Skeeters took the same flight from Newark to Houston this morning, both teams will reconvene this evening to kick start this six-game set. Long Island will send Ian Marshall to the mound, who will face Sugar Land for the second time this week. He started game two of last Wednesday’s doubleheader and took a no-decision. He gave up just one run on two hits in four and one-third innings but did walk four batters while striking out three. Patrick Crider, Diaz and Kussmaul were able to keep the Skeeters off the scoreboard to secure the win for the Flock. The righty also faced the Skeeters on May 2 and earned the win, tossing six innings of one run (unearned) ball, allowing just three hits and a walk with three strikeouts. Marshall is now 3-2 with a 2.50 ERA this year, which ranks eighth in the Atlantic League, and will be making his 10th start of the season.

Opposing Marshall will be Josh Geer, who will also face his opponent for the second time in a week. Geer started the opener of the doubleheader on June 17 and was tagged for nine hits and three runs over his four innings of work. He did not walk a batter and struck out two. Long Island had multiple runners on in three of the four innings against the righty and scored a run in the second and two more in the fourth of their 4-1 victory. Geer is now 1-1 with a 2.37 ERA in six starts this season and has walked just three batters in 30 and one-third innings. The 32-year-old was a former third round draft pick by the San Diego Padres in 2005 and posted a 3-8 record with a 5.28 ERA in 24 games (22 starts) in the big leagues from 2008-09.

Here are tonight’s game notes:

Ducks vs. Skeeters: Tonight marks the 67th all-time meeting between the Ducks and Skeeters. Sugar Land currently leads the series 34-32 and holds a 20-10 advantage at Constellation Field. Tonight is also the seventh of 19 scheduled games between the two teams in 2015. The Ducks lead the series five to one.

All They Do Is Win: The Ducks earned their 10th consecutive win on Monday night. That’s the second time the Ducks have won 10 straight games this month. In addition, Long Island has a 20-1 record in their last 21 games, outscoring opponents 133-56 in that span (6.3 runs scored/game). Their 20 wins in June are two shy of the club record for wins in a month (22 – August, 2000 and July, 2003). The Ducks also earned their fifth series sweep and 11th series victory.

Home Cooking: Long Island broke a franchise record by winning their 13th straight game at Bethpage Ballpark on Monday. The Ducks previously won 12 home games in a row from July 5-20, 2006. At 22-6, the Flock boasts the best home record in the Atlantic League this season, (.786 winning percentage).

Southpaw Success: Andrew Barbosa remained undefeated by picking up his fourth victory in seven starts as a Duck on Monday. In addition, the Ducks are now 7-0 in games which Barbosa pitches. The southpaw struck out seven batters, marking the fourth time that he has struck out seven or more in a game this year.

Liftoff for Lew: Lew Ford’s solo homer on Monday was his sixth of the season. It was also his third at Bethpage Ballpark, each of which has come against the Bluefish. In addition, the longball was his first since June 4 at Camden, ending a span of 15 games without a homer. The former big leaguer currently leads the Atlantic League in batting average (.340), RBI (46), hits (72), doubles (19), total bases (111), extra-base hits (26) and slugging percentage (.524).

Sabatella’s Sizzling: Bryan Sabatella collected a hit on Monday and has now hit safely in 15 of his last 16 games. During his last 16 contests, the Long Island native is batting .386 (27-for-70) with two doubles, one triple, 10 RBI and 14 runs. He currently leads the league in runs (41), at-bats (224) and stolen bases (15).

Diaz Dazzles: Amalio Diaz tossed another scoreless inning on Monday. The righty has now made 11 straight appearances without allowing a run. In addition, he has given up just one run in his last 21 outings. In that span, Diaz has combined to pitch 21 innings, yielding just 11 hits and one walk while striking out 27.

On the Air: Tonight’s game will be broadcast on the Ducks’ official YouTube channel. Live streaming 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:

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
#26 Jose Morales – C
#11  Reegie Corona – 2B
#12 Dan Lyons – SS

#21 Ian Marshall – RHP

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

#32 Josh Geer – RHP

We’ll have updates for you all game long from Constellation Field as the Ducks and Skeeters open up their long series in Texas. You can also follow the Ducks on Twitter (@LIDucks) for updates all year long!

UPDATE (7:05): We are underway here on this warm and humid night in Sugar Land, Texas!

UPDATE (7:30): BOT 2: Sugar Land strikes first on a solo homer to left field by Chris Wallace

UPDATE (8:08): BOT 4: A sac fly by Travis Scott makes it 2-0 Skeeters, but Marshall strands the bases loaded on a leaping catch by Cody Puckett.

UPDATE (8:48): END 6: Ducks continue to flash the leather with a couple of nice plays. However, the Skeeters are still in front 2-0 after six.

UPDATE (9:09): END 7: Marshall works out of a two-on, two-out jam, getting Delwyn Young to line out to third! Score remains 2-0.

UPDATE (9:46): FINAL: Ducks scratch out a run on Bryan Sabatella’s RBI fielder’s choice, but they leave the tying run at second. Skeeters win 2-1.

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Posted on June 23, 2015, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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