Game 60: Ducks at Skeeters
The Ducks have been kings of the comeback throughout the course of the 2015 season. In the face of a deficit, the team has almost never panicked and has put together a ton of great come-from-behind efforts. On Wednesday night at Constellation Field, the Ducks needed yet another one of those efforts and perhaps a little bit of luck too. Ultimately, they got both in a thrilling 5-4 victory over the Skeeters that kept the Flock within two and a half games of the Somerset Patriots.
Throughout the game, Long Island found themselves having to battle back from deficits. They fell behind 1-0 in the second inning on a passed ball by Mike Blanke and came up short on a couple of opportunities to score against Roy Merritt in the early portion of the game. However, in the fifth, Prentice Redman doubled to open the inning, and Reegie Corona brought him home with a two-out triple down the left field line. The Ducks again fell behind in the sixth when Amadeo Zazueta delivered a two-out RBI single off of Mickey Jannis. However, they immediately answered in the seventh on a double from Mike Blanke and a two-base error committed by Patrick Palmeiro. Long Island had tied the score at two but could not take the lead, and in the bottom of the frame, Bruce Kern surrendered two runs to the Skeeters to give them their largest lead of the night.
It looked as though the 4-2 advantage would hold up for a second consecutive Skeeters win, but that was until a key defensive miscue gave the Ducks new life. In the top of the ninth with two men out, John Lujan got Dan Lyons to hit a grounder to second for what would have been the final out of the ballgame. However, Delwyn Young booted the ball and his recovery throw to first was late. With Lyons on base, the floodgates opened for the Flock. Bryan Sabatella followed with a walk, and Corona lined a base hit to right that scored Lyons. Trailing by just a run, Corona moved to second on a wild pitch, which allowed the Skeeters to intentionally walk Ford. The move did not pay off however, as Randy Ruiz followed with a two-run single to center that plated Sabatella with the tying run and Corona with the go-ahead run. Long Island had taken their first lead of the series at 5-4. Ryan Kussmaul came on to nail down the save, and despite allowing a pair of walks, he induced a soft liner to second by Palmeiro for the final out. Just like they did to start their last 10-game winning streak, the Ducks rebounded from a one-run loss that opened a road trip with a one-run comeback victory.
Thursday night will feature a terrific pitching matchup for the swing game of the series. John Brownell takes the mound for the Flock with a 6-1 record and a 3.19 ERA in 10 starts. His six wins and 57 strikeouts rank second in the Atlantic League this year. The right-hander was splendid his last time out, tossing eight innings of one-run ball and allowing just four hits and two walks while striking out seven. The result was a 6-2 win over the Bridgeport Bluefish on the night that the Ducks retired Justin Davies’ #4. Brownell has won each of his last two starts and has not lost since May 6 at Bridgeport. He dominated the Skeeters on Opening Night at Bethpage Ballpark (May 1), pitching eight shutout innings and yielding just four hits and two walks while striking out five. In three starts at Constellation Field last year, Brownell was 2-0 with a 2.53 ERA, giving up six runs in 21 and one-third innings.
Sugar Land counters with Matt Wright, who enters at 3-2 with a 3.59 ERA in 11 starts this season. The Skeeters veteran has pitched well for the most part but is winless in over a month, with his last victory coming on May 21 at Lancaster. He suffered the loss in his last outing on Friday, June 19, giving up three runs on four hits and a walk with four strikeout in six innings. However, the Patriots came away with a 4-2 victory that night. This will be Wright’s first outing against the Ducks this season. In 2014, he lost his only start against the Flock at Constellation Field but was 2-0 with a 1.74 ERA in three starts at the Duck Pond.
Here are tonight’s game notes:
Ducks vs. Skeeters: Tonight marks the 69th all-time meeting between the Ducks and Skeeters. Sugar Land currently leads the series 35-33 and holds a 21-11 advantage at Constellation Field. Tonight is also the ninth of 19 scheduled games between the two teams in 2015. The Ducks lead the series six to two.
No Swoon in June: With Wednesday’s victory, the Ducks now have a 21-2 record this June, outscoring opponents 139-62 in that span (6.0 runs scored/game). Their 21 wins in June are one shy of the club record for wins in a month. Long Island won 22 games in August of 2000 and July of 2003. The Ducks have won each of the six series they have play so far in June as well.
Cardiac Quacks: The Ducks earned their 18th come-from-behind victory of the year by overcoming three deficits on Wednesday. It was also Long Island’s fifth win of the season when trailing after six innings, which is the most in the Atlantic League. The Ducks also improved to 14-10 when their opponent scores first.
Oh Mickey, You’re So Fine: Mickey Jannis turned in another quality start on Wednesday. In his last 12 games (seven starts), the knuckleballer has allowed one earned run or less and just six earned runs total in 59 innings (0.92 ERA). In that span, he’s given up 36 hits and 17 walks while striking out 47. In his last six starts, the righty is 3-0 with a 0.63 ERA, yielding three earned runs in 43 innings.
Ford’s Fury: Lew Ford has now hit safely in 16 of his last 17 games after picking up a hit on Wednesday. In those 17 games, he is batting .415 (27-for-65) with six doubles, one homer, 10 RBI and 15 runs. The sixth-year Duck leads the Atlantic League in batting average (.341), RBI (46), hits (75), total bases (114), doubles (19), extra-base hits (26) and slugging percentage (.518).
Sabatella’s Sizzling: With his single on Wednesday, Bryan Sabatella has now hit safely in 17 of his last 18 games. In those 18 contests, the Long Island native is batting .380 (30-for-79) with two doubles, one triple, 11 RBI and 15 runs. He currently leads the league in runs (42), at-bats (233) and stolen bases (16).
Randy Rakes: Randy Ruiz collected two hits on Wednesday and has now earned multiple hits in each of his last four games and in six of his last seven contests. In addition, he has reached base safely in each of his last 10 games. In that span, the former big leaguer is batting .417 (15-for-36) with four doubles, one homer, 10 RBI and seven runs.
On the Air: Tonight is the “Ducks Game of the Week” and will be broadcast on the Ducks’ flagship radio station, 103.9-FM LI News Radio. Live streaming audio will also be available online 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
#22 Blake Davis – SS
#7 John Brownell – RHP
#17 Denny Almonte – CF
#11 Willy Taveras – DH
#24 Delwyn Young – 1B
#16 Travis Scott – RF
#20 Chris Wallace – C
#25 Johan Limonta – LF
#5 Kevin Russo – SS
#6 Patrick Palmeiro – 3B
#9 Amadeo Zazueta – 2B
#34 Matt Wright – RHP
We’ll have updates all game long from Constellation Field and the Ducks and Skeeters battle in the third game of a four-game series. You can also follow the Ducks on Twitter (@LIDucks) for updates all year long!
UPDATE (7:12): We are underway in Texas! Follow all of the action live on LI News Radio as the “Ducks Game of the Week!”
UPDATE (7:34): END 2: Prentice Redman and Blake Davis both make outstanding plays in the field to keep Sugar Land off the scoreboard! No score after two
UPDATE (8:04): TOP 4: The Ducks strike for four runs! A run-scoring throwing error by Matt Wright and a three-run homer by Jon Griffin give Long Island a 4-0 lead!
UPDATE (8:12): BOT 4: Sugar Land gets two runs on the scoreboard thanks to RBI groundouts from Chris Wallace and Johan Limonta. 4-2 Ducks lead.
UPDATE (8:37): BOT 5: Skeeters tie the game on a RBI infield single by Delwyn Young and a bases loaded walk to Travis Scott. 4-4 the score.
UPDATE (9:06): TOP 7: The Ducks retake the lead on a RBI infield single from Lew Ford! Long Island is back in front 5-4!
UPDATE (9:22): BOT 7: Patrick Crider comes into the game and gets Travis Scott to ground out to second, leaving two men on base! 5-4 Ducks after seven!
UPDATE (9:50): TOP 9: Ducks add two more runs on a RBI single by Blake Davis and a RBI fielder’s choice from Ford! 7-4 Long Island!
UPDATE (10:14): BOT 9: Sugar Land rallies for three runs off of Ryan Kussmaul to tie the game at seven. Extra innings now at Constellation Field.
UPDATE (10:33): BOT 11: Bruce Kern induces a double play off the bat of Amadeo Zazueta to keep the ballgame tied! Onto the 11th in Texas.
UPDATE (10:44): FINAL: Denny Almonte hits the first pitch of the 11th for a solo homer to right off of Mark Rogers. Skeeters win 8-7.
Posted on June 25, 2015, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged 2015, Atlantic League, Bryan Sabatella, Constellation Field, John Brownell, Long Island Ducks, Matt Wright, Mickey Jannis, Randy Ruiz, Reegie Corona, Roy Merritt, Ryan Kussmaul, Sugar Land Skeeters. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.