Game 77: Ducks at Barnstormers

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July has not been an easy month for the Ducks. After posting an incredible 23-6 record during the month of June, the Ducks have had to endure losing not one, not two, not three, but now four key pieces of their team in July. Their top performing pitcher (Mickey Jannis) and hitter (Lew Ford) have been signed by outside organizations, as have another successful starting pitcher (Andrew Barbosa) and strong contributor on offense and defense (Reegie Corona). In addition, they’ve lost their one of their catchers due to injury (Jose Morales). Despite all of that though, the Ducks are still 8-3 in the month of July and earned a second consecutive 5-0 shutout victory over the Barnstormers on Wednesday in Lancaster. That improves their record on the road trip to 4-2, guaranteeing them a winning trip.

When a team loses several key pieces, it’s up to the remaining guys on the roster to step up. On Wednesday, John Brownell certainly did that. The right-hander and ace of the Ducks’ staff tossed a complete game shutout, becoming the first member of the Flock this year to do so. He needed 128 pitches to get through, and he threw 86 of them for strikes, or approximately two-thirds of his pitches. In addition, he limited the damage to just four singles and two walks and struck out five batters in the contests. The big key for the fourth-year Duck was getting out of a first-and-third, one-out jam in the first by inducing a double play ball from Mike McDade. He did not allow another hit until there was one out in the fifth, when he gave up back-to-back hits. However, after a wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position, he induced a pop out and a fly out to end trouble. The only two baserunners to reach against Brownell after that came on a walk and an error.

Offensively, Long Island was quiet over the first four innings against Lancaster righty Joe Gardner. However, they came alive with two runs in the fifth and followed it up with two more in the sixth. With two outs and a runner on first in the fifth thanks to a Barnstormers error, Prentice Redman delivered a RBI double to put the Ducks on the scoreboard. He is now hitting .310 this season with runners in scoring position and two outs. Blake Davis and Bryan Sabatella followed with singles, with the latter plating Redman to double the advantage to two. In the sixth, a one-out single by Cody Puckett was followed by a two-run home run to right off the bat of Jon Griffin. With one swing, the lead was doubled once again, this time to four. Long Island added an insurance run in the eighth on a single by Mike Blanke, coupled with an error by Brian Cavazos-Galvez, to round out the scoring for the Flock. However, with the way Brownell was pitching, one run would have been enough.

CLICK HERE to listen to audio highlights from Wednesday’s victory
CLICK HERE to view Wednesday’s box score

Long Island will look to earn back-to-back series wins to begin the second half on Thursday in the road trip finale. Taking the mound for the Ducks will be Bobby Blevins, fresh off of a win in Somerset on Saturday. In that outing, the right-hander pitched six innings and allowed just two runs on six hits without walking a single batter. He also struck out six to earn his first win of the year in a 4-3 Ducks victory. Thursday will be his fourth appearance (third start) of the season after beginning the year in Taiwan with Brother Elephants of the Chinese Professional Baseball League. In 2014, the Briarcliff native made three starts against the Barnstormers and was 1-1 with a 4.91 ERA.

Lancaster will counter with a newcomer, who is making his Atlantic League debut. That man will be Ray Hanson, who was signed by the Barnstormers today. The 6-foot-7 right-hander began the season with the River City Rascals of the independent Frontier League and made two starts. He recorded an 0-1 record with an 11.42 ERA, allowing 11 runs on 17 hits in just eight and two-thirds innings. In 2014, he began the season with River City and was 4-1 with a 3.53 ERA in eight games (six starts). The California native’s efforts earned him a contract with the Los Angeles Angels organization, and he proceeded to make 12 starts with Advanced-A Inland Empire, going 4-5 with a 4.00 ERA and 55 strikeouts to 31 walks in 72 innings. Hanson was originally drafted by the San Francisco Giants in the 47th round of the 2010 amateur draft, but he never pitched professionally with the organization.

Here are tonight’s game notes:

Ducks vs. Barnstormers: Tonight marks the 210th all-time meeting between the Ducks and Barnstormers. The Ducks lead the series 110-99, but the series is tied at 53 in Lancaster. Tonight is also the 16th of 20 scheduled meetings between the teams in 2015. Long Island leads the series 10 games to five.

Randy’s Dandy: Randy Ruiz extended his hitting streak to 15 consecutive games with a single on Wednesday. That is the longest active hitting streak in the Atlantic League and second-longest this season (17, Chris Marrero, Somerset). During the streak, the former Major Leaguer is batting .381 (24-for-63) with three homers, 14 RBI and eight runs scored. He also has six multi-hit games in his last eight contests overall and 17 multi-hit games with the Ducks this year.

Going the Distance: John Brownell became the first Ducks pitcher this season to pitch a complete game. The right-hander has led the Atlantic League in complete games in each of the last two seasons, with seven in 2013 and five in 2014. In his last three starts, the fourth-year Duck is 1-1 with a 1.23 ERA, allowing just three runs on 15 hits and five walks while striking out 11 batters in 22 innings.

Griffin Goes Yard: Jon Griffin launched his team leading 10th home run of the season with a two-run blast in the sixth inning on Wednesday. His 10 longballs rank second in the Atlantic League, one behind Lancaster’s Kevin Rivers. Five of his 10 homers have been of the two-run variety. It was also Griffin’s first home run since June 25 at Sugar Land, ending a 12-game homerless drought. His two RBI upped his season total to 49, which is second in the league behind Lew Ford (58).

Silencing the ‘Stormers: Tuesday and Wednesday marked the first time the Ducks posted back-to-back shutouts against an opponent since June 5 and 8 of 2013. That year, they won 5-0 at Bridgeport and 2-0 (seven innings) against Southern Maryland. Long Island has now shut out an opponent eight times this season. That ranks second in the Atlantic League behind Somerset, who has 14.

Plucked from the Flock: Reegie Corona was signed on Thursday by the Washington Nationals organization and will report the Double-A Harrisburg Senators, who play just 38 miles from Clipper Magazine Stadium. The infielder becomes the fourth Duck signed by an MLB or foreign organization this month (Mickey Jannis, Mets; Andrew Barbosa, Braves and Lew Ford, Mexico). He’s also the ninth Duck to be signed this year and second to report to Harrisburg (Hector Ambriz).

On the Air: Tonight’s game will be broadcast on the Ducks’ flagship radio station, 103.9-FM LI News Radio, as the “Ducks Game of the Week.” Live streaming audio will also 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

#5 Delta Cleary, Jr. – CF
#12 Dan Lyons – SS
#2   Cody Puckett – 3B
#50 Randy Ruiz – DH
#33 Jon Griffin – 1B
#40 Steve McQuail – RF
#27 Prentice Redman – LF
#6   Dan Coury – C
#22 Blake Davis – 2B

#18 Bobby Blevins – RHP

Barnstormers

#8 Zach Collier – CF

#31 Brian Cavazos-Galvez – RF

#21 Kevin Rivers – DH

#35 Mike McDade – 1B

#22 Kent Matthes – LF

#7 Lance Zawadzki – SS

#11 Luke Hughes – 2B

#28 Keith Castillo – C

#19 Anderson Feliz – 3B

#44 Ray Hanson – RHP

Stay tuned to the Ducks on Twitter (@LIDucks) for updates all game long, as the Ducks wrap up their week-long road trip before returning to Bethpage Ballpark!

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Posted on July 16, 2015, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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