Game 70: Ducks vs. Patriots
It was a 4th of July to remember at Bethpage Ballpark on Saturday night! In front of 7,443 fans, the Ducks provided an exciting finish to a back-and-forth affair as Randy Ruiz’s RBI single lifted Long Island to a waddle-offwin against the Somerset Patriots. The second-largest crowd in franchise history was treated to fireworks during the game, as well as after, to celebrate the holiday. Long Island now looks to earn a series win over the Patriots in the final game before the all-star break.
Ducks starter Bobby Blevins struggled early against the Pats on Saturday night, allowing one run in the first and second inning to put the visitors ahead. David Vidal’s RBI double and Jose Garcia Reyes’ RBI single (the first hit and RBI of his professional career) gave Somerset a 2-0 lead. But, in the third, the Ducks erupted for a five-spot to go ahead, highlighted by Randy Ruiz’s grand slam. It was the first grand slam of the season for Long Island, as Mike Blanke added a RBI single to give the Flock five runs. Blevins allowed two more runs in the top of the fourth on a two-run single from Thomas Neal. The fourth-year Duck was pulled after the frame, allowing four runs (three earned) on six hits with two walks and strikeouts. Long Island’s bullpen held the Pats scoreless through the seventh, thanks to three hitless innings from Patrick Crider (two innings) and Nick Struck (one inning). In the eighth, the Pats pulled even on a solo homer from Robert Andino off of Amalio Diaz. Diaz would go the eighth and ninth, allowing the one run on two hits with one walk and one strikeout. His ERA is still just 1.32 in 2015. With the game tied at five in the bottom of the ninth, it took the Ducks just four batters to earn the “W.” Bryan Sabatella singled before Delta Cleary, Jr. reached on an infield single. Lew Ford struck out, but was followed by Ruiz. After a 10-pitch at-bat (during which Sabatella stole third base), Ruiz laced a single under the glove of diving third baseman Greg Hopkins and into left field, scoring Sabatella and giving the Ducks their third waddle-off victory of the homestand.
Despite allowing the game-tying homer, Diaz earned his first win to move to 1-1. R.J. Seidel took the loss for the Patriots, getting just one out in the ninth against Ford’s strikeout. Blevins finished his first start of the season with a no decision.
The Ducks will attempt to take the series finale from Somerset with Bruce Kern getting a spot start. Kern, who has primarily served as a reliever in his first year with Long Island, comes in at 3-1 with a 2.64 ERA. In 30 and two-thirds innings, he has allowed 10 runs (nine earned) on 23 hits with 10 walks and 28 strikeouts. The Long Island native has started two of the 24 games he has appeared in during 2015. He tossed a scoreless inning of relief with two strikeouts on July 1 against the Barnstormers.
Somerset closes the half with their ace, Sean Bierman, on the bump. The southpaw boasts a 7-1 record and a 1.54 ERA. His seven wins are second in the league, as is his ERA (behind the now-departed Mickey Jannis). Through 81 and one-third innings, the lefty has allowed 19 runs (14 earned) on 76 hits while walking 13 and striking out 42. He has thrown one complete game shutout this season, back on June 3 at home against Lancaster. Bierman’s previous start came on June 30 in Camden when he threw eight innings of one-run ball, allowing eight hits and striking out two. He has not lost since May 6, winning in seven of his past nine outings.
Here are this evening’s game notes:
The Faithful Flock: Saturday’s crowd of 7,443 was the largest of the season at Bethpage Ballpark and second-largest in franchise history. The team record was on July 4, 2009 when 7,582 fans came through the turnstiles. This week also marked the first time in the Ducks’ 16-year history that they welcomed three consecutive crowds of 7,000 or more. Long Island has now hosted five sold out crowds this season and 644 all-time, which is an Atlantic League record. Since the inaugural 2000 season, the Ducks have welcomed a league record 6,452,761 fans through the gates of Bethpage Ballpark.
Ducks vs. Patriots: Today marks the 292nd all-time meeting between the Ducks and Patriots. Somerset leads the series 147-144, but the Ducks have a 77-71 advantage at Bethpage Ballpark. It also marks the seventh of 20 scheduled games between the two in 2015. The series is currently tied at three.
Home Cooking: With Saturday’s win, the Ducks have won 18 of their last 19 games at Bethpage Ballpark dating back to June 1. Long Island currently boasts a league best 27-7 record at home (.794 winning percentage). As a team, the Ducks have a .311 batting average and a 3.03 ERA at home. Comparatively, they are batting .264 and have a 3.36 ERA away from the Duck Pond.
Waddle-Off Magic: Saturday’s waddle-off win was the Ducks’ seventh of the season. In addition, it was their third of the current homestand. Long Island also picked up walk-off victories on Tuesday and Thursday against the Lancaster Barnstormers. Randy Ruiz won the game on Tuesday night with a two-run single to center. The Ducks have now totaled 21 come-from-behind victories this year.
Ford’s Fury: Lew Ford has now reached base safely in 27 straight games after collecting a single on Saturday. The streak is the longest by a Duck and second-longest in the Atlantic League this year (30, Brandon Chaves, Camden). In those 27 games, he is batting .411 (44-for-107) with 12 doubles, one homer, 19 RBI and 20 runs. The former big leaguer has hit safely in five consecutive games and in 12 of his last 13 contests. He has multiple hits in nine of those 12 games.
Randy’s Dandy: On Saturday, Randy Ruiz became the first Duck in 2015 to collect five RBI in a single game. The previous high was four, done by Lew Ford (twice), Jon Griffin, Mike Blanke and Jose Morales. Ruiz had one five-RBI game with the Ducks in 2014 as well as one seven-RBI contest. His grand slam in the third inning on Saturday was the Ducks’ first grand slam of the season. Long Island hit eight grand slams in 2014, two of which came off the bat of Ruiz.
Off to the Races: The Ducks stole three more bases on Saturday. They have now stolen 76 bases in 2015, which is six more than anyone else in the Atlantic League (Bridgeport, 70). Bryan Sabatella swiped his league leading 20th base of the year, while Delta Cleary, Jr. stole his 15th and Blake Davis stole his second.
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 this evening’s starting lineups:
#44 Bryan Sabatella – RF
#5 Delta Cleary, Jr. – CF
#20 Lew Ford – DH
#50 Randy Ruiz – 1B
#2 Cody Puckett – 3B
#11 Reegie Corona – 2B
#27 Prentice Redman – LF
#9 Mike Blanke – C
#12 Dan Lyons – SS
#30 Bruce Kern – RHP
#3 Nate Spears – 2B
#4 James Skelton – 1B
#20 Greg Hopkins – 3B
#39 Michael Burgess – RF
#5 Scott Cousins – CF
#13 Robert Andino – SS
#9 Mat Gamel – DH
#14 Vinny Zarrillo – LF
#21 Adam Donachie – C
#32 Sean Bierman – LHP
Keep it here for updates all game long from Bethpage Ballpark as the Ducks look to take the series against the Somerset Patriots! You can also follow the Ducks on Twitter (@LIDucks) for updates all year long!
UPDATE (5:10): TOP 1: Bruce Kern throws one pitch and gets one out, and our Sunday contest with Somerset is underway!
UPDATE (5:15): TOP 1: Michael Burgess hits a three-run homer to right that gets carried out by the wind, just over the wall. Pats lead 3-0.
UPDATE (5:24): BOT 1: The Ducks respond! Lew Ford with the two-run shot to left! 3-2 Pats.
UPDATE (6:04): BOT 4: Lew Ford…again! This time a solo shot to left that ties the game at three!
UPDATE (6:09): BOT 4: Prentice Redman gives the Ducks the lead! LI leads 4-3 after Redman’s RBI single to left!
UPDATE (6:34): BOT 6: After a SOM HR in the top of the sixth tied it, Cody Puckett makes it 5-4 Ducks with a RBI double!
UPDATE (6:57): BOT 7: Mike Blanke pads the lead with a solo homer! Third round-tripper of the game for the Flock! They lead 6-4!
UPDATE (7:16): MID 8: J.C. Romero works out of a bases loaded jam with a strikeout! Ducks still lead 6-4 and are trying to pad their lead!
UPDATE (7:22): BOT 8: Reegie Corona draws a bases loaded walk and LI takes a 7-4 lead!
UPDATE (7:25): BOT 8: Mike Blanke makes it 8-4 Ducks with another bases loaded walk!
UPDATE (7:28): BOT 8: Dan Lyons with an infield single and it’s 9-4 Ducks! 14 hits for the Flock!
UPDATE (7:37): FINAL: Ryan Kussmaul retires the side in order and the Ducks take the series from the Patriots! 9-4 final! See you in Bridgeport!!!
Posted on July 5, 2015, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged 2015, Amalio Diaz, Atlantic League, Baseball, Lew Ford, Long Island Ducks, Patrick Crider, Randy Ruiz, Somerset Patriots. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.