Game 64: Ducks vs. Barnstormers

Field

Having completed their lengthy road trip in Texas, the Ducks have returned to Central Islip to begin a four-game set with the Lancaster Barnstormers. After dropping five of six contests to the Skeeters (four one-run losses) including Sunday’s 4-2 loss, Long Island will try to rebound at home against the ‘Stormers. The Flock begin their push for first place during the final stretch of the first half with seven straight games at Bethpage Ballpark against Lancaster and first-place Somerset. The Patriots (45-18) now lead the Ducks (40-22) by 4 ½ games in the Liberty Division heading into the final week of the half.

The main theme of Long Island’s trip to Sugar Land was missed opportunities. The Ducks struggled to hit with runners in scoring position and to put runs on the scoreboard in key situations. After leaving 10 runners on base in Saturday’s loss, the trend continued in the series finale with the Ducks stranding 11 men. The team had the bases loaded with two outs twice in the game, but could64 not bring a run across in either situation. Skeeters starter Josh Geer was in immediate trouble in the first frame, walking Jon Griffin on four straight pitches with runners already at first and second to load the bases for Cody Puckett. However, Puckett swung at a 0-1 pitch and flew out to right as the Ducks went without a run. In the seventh inning, the Ducks trailed 3-2 and had the go-ahead run in scoring position at second with two outs and the bases loaded once again, but Randy Ruiz’s strikeout prevented Long Island from taking a lead or tying the game. Bryan Sabatella and Delta Cleary, Jr. were the two Ducks to drive in runs, doing so back-to-back in the fifth inning. Sabatella earned his 28th RBI of the season on a run-scoring single. Cleary, Jr. followed up with a RBI triple. He finished 3-5 on the day, raising his average to .322. Mike Blanke and Lew Ford each had a pair of hits as well.

Ian Marshall took the loss for the Ducks, falling to 3-4 on the year. In six and two-thirds innings, the righty allowed all four of Sugar Land’s runs on six hits while walking one and striking out four. His ERA is now 2.81 in 2015. Patrick Crider made another efficient relief appearance with one and one-third hitless innings. In a rematch of the series opener, Geer improved to 3-1 with the win for Sugar Land. He allowed two runs on six hits with two walks and three strikeouts in six innings.

CLICK HERE to view Sunday’s box score

The Ducks will try to snap their four-game skid on Monday night with Mickey Jannis on the hill. The knuckleballer enters at 5-2 with a league-leading 1.31 ERA. In 75 and one-third innings pitched, Jannis has allowed 17 runs (11 earned) on 50 hits while walking 23 and striking out 56. Of his 15 games pitched, 10 of them have been starts for the Flock. The Ducks have won the last seven games the righty has appeared in (6/2-6/24). His last outing came in game two of the Sugar Land series, a 5-4 final and Long Island’s only win of the set. In six innings, he allowed two runs (one earned) on six hits while walking two and striking out seven, taking a no decision. Since May 21, the 27-year-old has not taken a loss or allowed more than six hits in a game, allowing just five runs (four earned) in 53 innings of work during the span.

Lancaster, losers of five of six, will hand the ball to Bryan Morgado in the series opener. Morgado comes into Monday’s contest at 0-2 with a 3.91 ERA. This will be the lefty’s first start of the season, having appeared in 19 games all as a reliever for the Barnstormers in 2015. In 20 and two-thirds innings, the southpaw has surrendered 11 runs on 24 hits with nine walks and 25 strikeouts. The 26-year-old split time between York and Camden in 2014, appearing in 49 games as a reliever for the Revs and Riversharks before joining the ‘Stormers in 2015. The Miami, Florida native spent three years in the Philadelphia Phillies organization from 2010-2012, reaching as high as advanced-A Clearwater in 2012.

Here are tonight’s game notes:

Ducks vs. Barnstormers: Tonight marks the 203rd all-time meeting between the Ducks and Barnstormers. The Ducks lead the series 104-97 and have a 52-46 advantage at Bethpage Ballpark. Tonight is also the ninth of 20 scheduled games between the teams in 2015. This Ducks lead the series four to three.

Home Cooking: The Ducks are currently on a 13-game winning streak at Bethpage Ballpark. That is the longest home winning streak in franchise history. The previous long was 12 games, done July 5-20, 2006. Long Island boasts an Atlantic League best 22-6 record at home this season (.786 winning percentage).

Oh Mickey, You’re So Fine: In Mickey Jannis’ last 12 games (seven starts), the knuckleballer has allowed one earned run or less and just six earned runs total over 59 innings of work (0.92 ERA). In that span, he has given up 36 hits and 17 walks while striking out 47. Over his last six starts, the righty is 3-0 with a 0.63 ERA, yielding just three earned runs in 43 innings.

Ford’s Fury: Lew Ford has now reached base safely in 21 straight games, earning a hit in 20 of those. The 21-game on-base streak is the longest by a Duck this season. In those 21 games, the outfielder/bench coach is batting .422 (35-for-83) with eight doubles, one homer, 13 RBI and 17 runs. Ford leads the Atlantic League in batting average (.349), RBI (49), hits (83), total bases (124), doubles (21), extra-base hits (28) and slugging percentage (.521).

Sabatella’s Sizzling: Bryan Sabatella has hit safely in 20 of his last 21 games after collecting a hit on Sunday. In those 21 contests, the Long Island native is batting .374 (34-for-91) with three doubles, one triple, 13 RBI and 18 runs scored. He currently leads the league in runs (45) and stolen bases (16).

I Can See Cleary Now: Delta Cleary, Jr. earned his second three-hit game during the road trip on Sunday with a single, a double and a triple. He also had three hits on Friday night. The double was his ninth of the season, while the triple was his second. Cleary, Jr. has now collected six three-hit games this year, which is tied with Cody Puckett for the team lead. He has 13 multi-hit games overall.

Off to the Races: The Ducks earned two stolen bases in Sunday’s game. As a team, they have now accrued 66 steals in 2015, the most of any team in the Atlantic League. Reegie Corona collected his eighth stolen base, while Mike Blanke earned his fourth. Sabatella leads the team and league with 16.

On the Air: Tonight’s game will be broadcast on the Ducks’ official YouTube channel. Live streaming video and audio will be available online by CLICKING HERE. Chris King 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. – CF
#20 Lew Ford – DH
#33 Jon Griffin – 1B
#2 Cody Puckett – 3B
#26 Jose Morales – C
#11 Reegie Corona – 2B
#27 Prentice Redman – LF
#12 Dan Lyons – SS

#6 Mickey Jannis – RHP

Barnstormers
#10 Jerry Owens – CF
#1 Yusuke Kajimoto – 2B
#31 Brian Cavazos-Galvez – RF
#2 Mike McDade – 1B
#30 Wilson Batista – DH
#11 Luke Hughes – 3B
#28 Keith Castillo – C
#3 Jake Luce – LF
#19 Anderson Feliz – SS

#14 Bryan Morgado – LHP

We’ll have updates all game long from Bethpage Ballpark as the Ducks and Barnstormers begin their four-game series! You can also follow the Ducks on Twitter (@LIDucks) for updates all year long!

UPDATE (6:40): TOP 1: Mickey Jannis with a first-pitch knuckleball for a strike and we’re underway from the Duck Pond. A beautiful night for some baseball!

UPDATE (6:54): BOT 1: Ducks take a 1-0 lead on a RBI ground out from Lew Ford! Lew is the first player to 50 RBI this season!

UPDATE (7:26): MID 4: Mickey Jannis has eight strikeouts through four innings! Ducks coming up to bat still leading 1-0!

UPDATE (7:50): MID 5: Wow! Mickey Jannis works out of a bases loaded jam with a strikeout on a 3-2 count! He ties his season high with nine strikeouts!

UPDATE (8:41): TOP 8: Mickey Jannis heads back to the mound! 109 pitches into the outing, nursing the 1-0 Ducks lead!

UPDATE (8:59): TOP 9: Jannis looking to go the distance! Ducks still lead 1-0, Mickey at 116 pitches on the night.

UPDATE (9:15): FINAL: Ducks win!!! 1-0 is the final! Jannis gets the W as Ryan Kussmaul earns his league-leading 19th save of the season!

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Posted on June 29, 2015, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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