Game 66: Ducks vs. Barnstormers

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It was another historic night at Bethpage Ballpark on Tuesday, as the Ducks broke a team record for most wins in a first half. A 3-2 waddle-off win over the Barnstormers secured Long Island’s 42nd victory of the half, breaking the team’s previous record of 41 wins set last season. Randy Ruiz played hero for the Flock, who are trying to keep pace with the Somerset Patriots in the Liberty Division. The Ducks trail the Pats by 4 ½ games in the final stretch of the half with five games to go. Long Island wraps up their series with Lancaster across the next two nights before welcoming the Patriots for a three-game set beginning on Friday.

Tuesday’s contest was another pitcher’s duel, this time between John Brownell for the Ducks and Bryan Woodall of Lancaster. Each starter allowed one run apiece through seven innings. The Ducks got on the scoreboard in the fourth thanks to an error from Lancaster shortstop Anderson Feliz. Jon Griffin chopped a bouncing ball up the middle that Feliz could not handle, allowing Lew Ford to score his 37th run of the season from third base. Had the ball been fielded cleanly, the ‘Stormers had a chance for a double play. The visitors got the run back against Brownell in the seventh on Brian Cavazos-Galvez’s RBI single to right that scored Mike McDade from second. Brownell worked out of any further damage and was pulled after the frame. He allowed the lone run on five hits while walking one and striking out three. Woodall was removed after six frames, allowing one run on eight hits with one walk and five strikeouts. Pete Andrelczyk held the Ducks scoreless in the seventh and eighth frames, while Amalio Diaz threw a shutout eighth for the Ducks.

In the ninth, Ryan Kussmaul emerged from the Long Island bullpen. However, the Barnstormers loaded the bases with one out for Brandon Jones. Kussmaul walked the Lancaster right fielder to bring in the go-ahead run. The closer was able to work out of any further damage by getting two straight outs with the bases loaded. The Ducks trailed 2-1 going into the bottom of the frame. Reegie Corona led off with a single against reliever Zach Jackson. Dan Lyons dropped a perfect sacrifice bunt to move Corona over, followed by a Bryan Sabatella walk. Delta Cleary, Jr. then grounded out to third, but the runners advanced. Manager Butch Hobson chose to go to his bullpen and bring in righty Marcus Walden to face Randy Ruiz after intentionally walking Lew Ford to load the bases. On a 1-1 pitch, Ruiz went down in the zone and lined a single into center field that scored Corona easily. Sabatella came in right behind him and slid safely ahead of the tag, giving the Ducks the dramatic win, their 19th come-from-behind victory of the 2015 campaign.

Kussmaul ended up the win, improving to 3-0 on the year. He allowed one run on two hits with one walk and one strikeout. Jackson was saddled with the loss, falling to 2-5. The Ducks tied their 2014 total of five walk-off wins thanks to Ruiz’s two-run hit. He finished 2-5 on the night. Lew Ford also had two hits, raising his average to .350.

CLICK HERE to listen to highlights from the historic victory

CLICK HERE to watch postgame interviews with Kevin Baez, Randy Ruiz, and John Brownell

CLICK HERE to view Tuesday’s box score

As they continue their push for first place, the Ducks will move forward without one of their best hurlers in knuckleballer Mickey Jannis. Jannis, who was signed earlier today by the New York Mets, was the top pitcher in the Atlantic League as of July 1, leading in earned run average (1.18), strikeouts (67) and innings pitched (83.2) for 2015. The righty was in the middle of his first year with the Flock, emerging as an elite arm for Kevin Baez’s pitching staff. The Nevada native served as a starter and reliever. Jannis will report to the Mets’ High-A affiliate in Port St. Lucie, Fla. and is the Ducks’ sixth player signed by a Major League Baseball or foreign organization this season. While the signing certainly leaves a void for the Ducks, Jannis is well deserving of the opportunity. With that being said, the team will get a boost in the form of a former World Series champion, as Long Island has signed veteran reliever J.C. Romero. Romero played with seven different organizations in the Major Leagues, including seven seasons with the Minnesota Twins and five with the Philadelphia Phillies. The southpaw combined to appear in 680 games (22 starts) and compiled a 34-28 record with a 4.16 ERA, seven saves and 526 strikeouts in 661 and one-third innings. He was a member of the Phillies’ 2008 World Series championship team and earned two wins during the series, including the title clinching victory in Game Five over the Tampa Bay Rays. The 39-year-old began the 2015 season with Puebla in the Mexican League and earned two saves in five games, allowing two runs in six innings while striking out five.

With Jannis gone and Romero a Duck, Long Island continues their set with the Barnstormers. In game three of four, the Ducks will send Billy Buckner to the mound. On the season, the righty is 4-1 with a 5.45 ERA. In 31 and one-third innings pitched, he has allowed 19 runs on 43 hits while walking 14 and striking out 30. Prior to his last outing in Sugar Land, Buckner had won four straight decisions for Long Island. Against the Skeeters on June 26, the former big leaguer allowed five runs on 11 hits in four innings. He walked none, struck out six and took a no decision in what turned into a 7-6 Ducks loss. The 31-year-old has yet to face the Barnstormers this season.

The ‘Stormers will go with Nate Reed in hopes of giving the Ducks their first home loss in over a month. Reed is in his second go-around with the Barnstormers, having spent time in Lancaster during the 2013 season. Reed is currently 1-4 with a 2.45 ERA. He has spent time as both a starter and reliever this year, starting four of the 18 games he has appeared in. His last outing was a start on June 26 in Camden. Reed took the loss as Lancaster fell 4-3 to the Riversharks. He allowed three runs (one earned) on four hits in five innings with two walks and seven strikeouts. Reed pitched against the Ducks in consecutive relief appearances on May 16 and 17, combining to toss one and one-third innings, allowing one run with one walk and one strikeout. He went a combined 3-2 with a 4.48 ERA between Double-A Portland and Single-A Salem in the Red Sox organization in 2014.

Here are tonight’s game notes:

Ducks vs. Barnstormers: Tonight marks the 205th all-time meeting between the Ducks and Barnstormers. The Ducks lead the series 106-97 and have a 54-46 advantage at Bethpage Ballpark. Tonight is also the 11th of 20 scheduled games between the teams in 2015. This Ducks lead the series six games to three.

Record Setters: The Ducks broke two franchise records on Tuesday. With their 23rd win in the month of June, they set a new mark for wins in a single month. Long Island had previously won 22 games in a month twice, doing so in August, 2000 (22-8) and July, 2003 (22-5). In addition, the Ducks broke the team record for wins in first half of a season with their 42nd. Long Island’s previous high of 41 wins came in the first half of 2014 (41-29). The 42 wins also tied the franchise mark for most wins in any half. The Ducks also won 42 in the second half of 2000.

Home Cooking: The Ducks have currently won 15 straight games at Bethpage Ballpark, going a perfect 15-0 at home in June. That’s the longest home winning streak in franchise history. The previous long was 12 games (July 5-20, 2006). The Ducks boast a league best 24-6 record at home (.800 winning percentage).

Waddle-Off Magic: Tuesday’s waddle-off victory was the Ducks’ fifth of the 2015 season. That equals their total from all of last year. It was also their third in the month of June. The first two took place on June 7 against Southern Maryland and June 1 against York. In addition, it was Long Island’s second walk-off victory of the year over the Barnstormers. Their first came on May 8 when Jon Griffin’s ninth inning double gave the Flock an 11-10 win.

Ford’s Fury: Lew Ford has now reached base safely in 23 straight games after collecting two hits and two walks on Tuesday. The streak is the longest by a Duck and third-longest in the Atlantic League this year. In those 23 games, the outfielder/bench coach is batting .420 (37-for-88) with nine doubles, one homer, 14 RBI and 18 runs. Ford currently leads the league in batting average (.350), RBI (50), hits (85), total bases (127), doubles (22), extra-base hits (29) and slugging percentage (.523). He’s second in runs (37) and on-base percentage (.427).

Diaz Dazzles: Amalio Diaz continued his dominance out of the bullpen with yet another scoreless inning of relief on Tuesday. The righty has now made 14 straight appearances without allowing a run. In addition, he has given up just one run in his last 24 outings (0.38 ERA). In that span, Diaz has combined to pitch 24 innings, yielding just 13 hits and one walk while striking out 29.

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
#11 Reegie Corona – 2B
#20 Lew Ford – CF
#50 Randy Ruiz – DH
#33 Jon Griffin – 1B
#2 Cody Puckett – 3B
#27 Prentice Redman – LF
#9 Mike Blanke – C
#12 Dan Lyons – SS

#29 Billy Buckner – RHP

Barnstormers

#10 Jerry Owens – CF
#1 Yusuke Kajimoto – 2B
#35 Mike McDade – 1B
#31 Brian Cavazos-Galvez – RF
#30 Wilson Batista – DH
#11 Luke Hughes – 3B
#22 Brandon Jones – LF
#27 Juan Apodaca – C
#19 Anderson Feliz – SS

#33 Nate Reed – LHP

Keep it here for updates all game long from Bethpage Ballpark as the Ducks and Barnstormers continue their four-game series! You can also follow the Ducks on Twitter (@LIDucks) for updates all year long!

UPDATE (6:39): TOP 1: Billy Buckner deals his first pitch and game three of four with Lancaster is underway from the Duck Pond!

UPDATE (7:28): BOT 2: Reegie Corona with a RBI double and Lew Ford with a two-run single! 3-0 Ducks!

UPDATE (8:08): MID 4: Barnstormers put up three runs in the top of the frame and we are tied 3-3. Lyons, Sabatella, and Corona due up for the Flock!

UPDATE (8:20): BOT 4: Jon Griffin ropes a two-run single into center and the Ducks take a 5-3 lead!

UPDATE (8:26): BOT 4: LI gets all three runs back! Cody Puckett with the RBI single! 6-3 Flock!

UPDATE (8:33): TOP 5: Brian Cavazos-Galvez hits a solo homer to left and the Ducks lead is cut to 6-4.

UPDATE (9:22): BOT 7: Reegie Corona draws a bases loaded walk and brings in Prentice Redman from third! 7-4 Long Island!

UPDATE (10:07): FINAL: Ryan Kussmaul comes in and secures the save, the Ducks win 7-4! 16 straight wins at home! The Flock go for the sweep tomorrow!

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Posted on July 1, 2015, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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