Game 73: Ducks at Patriots
After failing to score in the series opener, the Ducks bounced back in the middle game of a three-game set at TD Bank Ballpark, using a pair of home runs to defeat the Somerset Patriots 4-3 on Saturday night. Starter Bobby Blevins also looked sharp, as Long Island picked up its first win after the All-Star Break.
The Ducks got on the board in the first inning. Bryan Sabatella led the game off with a single and was advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt from Reegie Corona. Delta Cleary, Jr.’s groundout moved Long Island’s leadoff hitter to third. During Randy Ruiz’s at-bat, Somerset starter Mickey Storey bounced a curveball in the dirt that skipped away from catcher Adam Donachie, allowing Sabatella to score easily. It was Sabatella’s league-leading 55th run of the season. The Pats tied the game at one run apiece after Nate Spears’ RBI single in the second frame. However, the Ducks went ahead for good in the fourth. Corona led the inning off with a solo homer to right field, his second of the year to make it 2-1 Flock. With one out, a pitch hit Ruiz, bringing Cody Puckett to the plate. Puckett launched the first pitch he saw over the wall in left field, extending the lead to 4-1. It was the third baseman’s fifth of the season, giving him 26 RBI. One inning later, Somerset got a run back on Vinny Zarrillo’s RBI single to center off of Blevins. In the eighth, the Pats threatened when Michael Burgess continued his tear against Ducks pitching with a RBI double to the wall in left field, making it a 4-3 ballgame. Amalio Diaz was on to pitch that eighth inning, setting up closer Ryan Kussmaul for the save in the ninth. Mat Gamel bounced a single through the hole into right field to lead off the inning. The Ducks then caught a huge break when shortstop Robert Andino failed to drop a sacrifice bunt, instead pushing the ball up the first base line for Jon Griffin to catch for the first out. Nate Spears flew out to left for the second out. Kussmaul finished the job by striking out pinch hitter James Skelton to end the game.
Kussmaul notched his 21st save of the year in the ninth. That number leads the Atlantic League. In his second start since rejoining the Ducks, Blevins moved to 1-0 with the win. He went six innings and allowed two runs on six hits. He struck out six. Storey suffered the loss for the Pats, falling to 4-1. He also went six frames, allowing all four Long Island runs on six hits with three strikeouts. Paul Smyth, Anthony Collazo, and Daniel Sattler held the Ducks to one hit over the final three innings. Bruce Kern pitched a dominant seventh inning of relief for the Ducks.
CLICK HERE to listen to highlights from the middle game
CLICK HERE for Saturday’s box score
The Ducks will try to take the series from Somerset with Billy Buckner getting the ball in the rubber game. The righty comes into Sunday’s contest at 5-1 with a 5.69 ERA through eight starts. In 36 and one-third innings, Buckner has allowed 23 runs on 49 hits with 18 walks and 33 strikeouts. The former Big Leaguer has faced the Patriots once this season, back on May 29 at TD Bank Ballpark. He took the loss in a 3-0 Pats win, tossing four innings and allowing three runs on five hits. It was just his second start since joining the Ducks. He last pitched on July 1 in Central Islip against the Lancaster Barnstormers. The 31-year-old picked up the win by throwing five innings and allowing four runs on six hits.
Somerset will go with Rand Boone in the finale. The right-hander is 4-1 with a 2.64 ERA. He has allowed 29 runs (24 earned) through 13 starts. The 30-year-old has pitched 81 and two-thirds innings, surrendering 66 hits and 12 walks with 45 strikeouts. Through two starts against the Ducks, Boone does not have a decision. He has pitched 11 innings and allowed 10 runs on 16 hits to the Flock. The former Blue Jays prospect last started on July 4 at Bethpage Ballpark against the Ducks. He allowed five runs on six hits in six innings. Boone has not issued more than three walks in any start this season.
Finally, here are tonight’s starting lineups:
#44 Bryan Sabatella – RF
#11 Reegie Corona – 2B
#5 Delta Cleary, Jr. – CF
#50 Randy Ruiz – DH
#2 Cody Puckett – 3B
#33 Jon Griffin – 1B
#9 Mike Blanke – C
#22 Blake Davis – LF
#12 Dan Lyons – SS
#29 Billy Buckner – RHP
#14 Vinny Zarrillo – CF
#91 Aharon Eggleston – LF
#8 David Vidal – 1B
#39 Michael Burgess- RF
#20 Greg Hopkins – 3B
#9 Mat Gamel – DH
#3 Nate Spears – 2B
#13 Robert Andino – SS
#4 James Skelton – C
#36 Randy Boone – RHP
Keep it here for updates all game long from TD Bank Ballpark as the Ducks wrap up their series against the Somerset Patriots! You can also follow the Ducks on Twitter (@LIDucks) for updates all year long!
UPDATE (5:30): TOP 2: Ducks back up at the plate leading 1-0! Randy Ruiz with a RBI single in the first!
UPDATE (6:11): MID 4: Randy Ruiz goes deep! A solo shot to deep left-center! Ducks lead 2-0!
UPDATE (6:35): MID 5: 3-0 Ducks! Bryan Sabatella with a RBI single!
UPDATE (7:00): BOT 6: Pats get on the board thanks to David Vidal’s RBI single. Ducks still lead 3-1!
UPDATE (7:08): MID 7: Mike Blanke!!! Solo homer to deep left! Ducks lead by three again, 4-1!
UPDATE (7:19): BOT 7: Pats get another run back on Aharon Eggleston’s RBI single. 4-2 LI.
UPDATE (7:50): MID 9: Ducks tack on three more runs in the top of the inning and now lead 7-2!!! Nick Struck in to try and wrap up a series win!
UPDATE (8:00): FINAL: Ducks take the series from Somerset with a 7-2 win on Sunday!
Posted on July 12, 2015, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged 2015, Atlantic League, Baseball, Bobby Blevins, Long Island Ducks, New Jersey, Ryan Kussmaul, TD Bank Ballpark. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.