Game 63: Ducks at Skeeters

Another night, another one-run game for the Ducks and Skeeters in Sugar Land. For the fifth consecutive game, only one run separated the two teams in this series. Unfortunately for Long Island, they were on the short end for the third straight night and fourth time in the set, as the Skeeters picked up a 4-3 win to move a game over .500 at 32-31. Not only did this one hurt because the Ducks left 10 men on base, but it also stung because of a bit of controversy.

Long Island and Sugar Land both showed ire towards home plate umpire Eric Davis for his strike zone during the course of the game. The Ducks missed out on a chance in the third inning with the score tied at two because Reegie Corona was called out on strike three. However, he contended that the pitch was up and outside, and that appeared to be the case from our view behind home plate. Unfortunately, the ruling left Lew Ford at third base. In the fourth, Bryan Sabatella believed he beat out a grounder to short that would have been a fielder’s choice and put runners at the corners for Delta Cleary, Jr. Greg Oros, the first base umpire, ruled that Sabatella was out, ending the inning and keeping the Ducks behind 3-2.

The biggest point in the game though came in the seventh inning when the Ducks had runners at first and second with nobody out, trailing by just one run. Randy Ruiz hit a fly ball to shallow right that Delwyn Young appeared to trap after it hit the grass. However, Oros ruled that Young had caught the ball for an out, and Ford was doubled off at first base. The Ducks vehemently argued the matter, and it resulted in John Brownell, who was coaching first base, being ejected from the game. Ultimately though, the call was not overturned, and instead of the Ducks having the bases loaded with nobody out, they had a runner at second with two outs. Long Island ended up being held scoreless in the seventh, eighth and ninth as Sugar Land held on for the victory.

Here is a screen shot from ESPN3’s broadcast of the play from when the ball appeared to be trapped:

Delwyn Young Trap

Despite the calls not going the Ducks’ way, they still had several opportunities to overcome some early struggles by Andrew Barbosa. The southpaw battled to give the Flock six innings and struck out nine despite allowing four runs. However, the Ducks left 10 men on base total in the game, including at least one in every inning but the eighth. Skeeters starter Sean Gallagher was removed after just three innings of work, but the only run the Ducks could muster against Sugar Land’s bullpen came on Dan Lyons’ RBI triple in the sixth.

CLICK HERE to listen to highlights from Saturday’s game
CLICK HERE to view Saturday’s box score

The series finale will feature a rematch from Tuesday’s series opener. Right-hander Ian Marshall will get the start for the Ducks and enters with a 3-3 record and a 2.51 ERA. On Tuesday night, he threw seven innings of two-run ball, allowing eight hits and a walk while striking out two. The only runs he surrendered came on a second inning homer by Chris Wallace and a fourth inning sac fly by Travis Scott. Marshall has now allowed two earned runs or less in each of his last seven outings. In that span, he has given up 15 runs (12 earned) in 41.1 innings (2.61 ERA) on 35 hits and 22 walks with 24 strikeouts.

Sugar Land will counter with righty Josh Geer, who ended up getting the win on Tuesday. He pitched six innings of shutout baseball, giving up seven hits while striking out seven batters and walking none. The Ducks had several opportunities to score against him, but they left seven men on base in Geer’s six innings. Long Island’s only run of that game came in the ninth inning on Sabatella’s RBI fielder’s choice. Geer has allowed three runs or less in each of his seven starts this season and has walked just three batters while striking out 25 in 36 and one-third innings.

Here are tonight’s game notes:

Ducks vs. Skeeters: Tonight marks the 72nd all-time meeting between the Ducks and Skeeters. Sugar Land currently leads the series 38-33 and holds a 24-11 advantage at Constellation Field. Tonight is also the 12th of 19 scheduled games between the two teams in 2015. The Ducks lead the series six to five.

Nail Biters: Long Island and Sugar Land have played five consecutive one-run games in this series. Prior to this stretch, the most consecutive one-run games for the Ducks this season was three, done May 7-9 and May 24-28. The Ducks are now 10-10 in one-run games in 2015.

Ford’s Fury: Lew Ford has now reached base safely in 20 straight games, earning a hit in 19 of those. The 20-game on-base streak is the longest by a Duck this season. In those 20 games, the outfielder/bench coach is batting .413 (33-for-80) with eight doubles, one homer, 13 RBI and 17 runs. Ford leads the Atlantic League in batting average (.345), RBI (49), hits (81), total bases (122), doubles (21), extra-base hits (28) and slugging percentage (.519).

Sabatella’s Sizzling: Bryan Sabatella has hit safely in 19 of his last 20 games after collecting a hit on Saturday. In those 20 contests, the Long Island native is batting .384 (33-for-86) with three doubles, one triple, 12 RBI and 17 runs. He now leads the league in runs (44) and stolen bases (16).

Dan’s the Man: Dan Lyons earned his fifth three-hit game of the year with two singles and a triple on Saturday. He is one behind Cody Puckett for the team lead in three-hit games. The triple was his third of the year, which is one shy of Reegie Corona for the team lead. Lyons also had two RBI for the fifth time as well.

Diaz Dazzles: Amalio Diaz continued his dominance out of the bullpen with another scoreless inning of relief on Saturday. The righty has now made 13 straight appearances without allowing a run. In addition, he has given up just one run in his last 23 outings. In that span, Diaz has combined to pitch 23 innings, yielding just 12 hits and one walk while striking out 29.

Strikeout Artist: Andrew Barbosa struck out nine batters in Saturday’s game. That total was one shy of his season high of 10, which he did in back-to-back starts May 30 and June 5. The southpaw has struck out seven or more batters in his last three starts and five or more in his last six starts. Barbosa now has 54 strikeouts in 45 innings pitched with the Ducks this season.

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. 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:

#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

#21 Ian Marshall – RHP

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

#32 Josh Geer – RHP

We’ll have updates throughout the game from Constellation Field as the Ducks and Skeeters close out their first series in Texas this season. You can also follow the Ducks on Twitter (@LIDucks) for updates all year long!

UPDATE (5:14): TOP 1: We’re underway in Texas! Ducks get two hits and a walk with two outs but are unable to push across the game’s first run.

UPDATE (5:38): BOT 2: Skeeters plate a run on Johan Limonta’s RBI single to left-center field. 1-0 Sugar Land.

UPDATE (5:53): MID 4: Josh Geer has worked three consecutive 1-2-3 innings for the Skeeters. Ducks remain in a 1-0 hole.

UPDATE (6:07): BOT 4: Two more runs on RBI doubles from Limonta and Chris Wallace extend Sugar Land’s lead to 3-0.

UPDATE (6:20): TOP 5: Ducks score twice with two outs on a RBI single by Bryan Sabatella and a RBI triple by Delta Cleary, Jr.! Long Island closes to within 3-2!

UPDATE (7:05): BOT 7: Amadeo Zazueta goes deep to left with two outs for his first homer of the season. Sugar Land now leads 4-2.

UPDATE (7:24): TOP 8: Ducks put two in scoring position with two outs against Andrew Johnston but are unable to plate a run. Still 4-2 in the eighth.

UPDATE (7:33): END 8: MAGNIFICENT double play turned by the Ducks! Lyons to Corona to Griffin for the final outs of the eighth! Onto the ninth

UPDATE (7:47): FINAL: Ducks put the tying runs on, but Randy Ruiz grounds into a game-ending double play. Skeeters win 4-2 over the Flock.


Posted on June 28, 2015, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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