Game 99: Ducks vs. Riversharks

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It was a successful series in Texas for the Ducks, as the Flock picked up three wins to stay in the hunt for first place. On Saturday, Long Island used a four-run second inning to secure themselves a 7-3 victory over the Sugar Land Skeeters. The team’s pitching was solid all series, particularly their bullpen in the finale. The Ducks are now just one win away from their 60th of the season, which they will try to pick up on Sunday against the Camden Riversharks in the opener of a four-game series.

After one inning of play from Constellation Field on Saturday night, the Ducks were behind 2-1. Delta Cleary, Jr. launched his first homer as a Duck in the top of the frame, but Sugar Land responded with a two-run homer in the home half of the inning courtesy of Daryle Ward. In the second, the Ducks jumped out to a 5-2 lead. Dan Lyons and Cody Puckett hit back-to-back two-run singles to account for the four runs scored in the frame. Lyons wasn’t done yet, as he would strike later in the contest as well. In the bottom of the inning, the Skeeters cut the lead to 5-3 on Kevin Russo’s RBI double. But, that was all the scoring that Sugar Land would manage, as Bobby Blevins settled in to finish his outing after five innings before handing the lead to the Long Island bullpen. In the fifth, Jon Griffin notched his team-leading 57th RBI of the season for Long Island. In the ninth inning, it was Lyons once again, this time driving a RBI double to score Cleary, Jr. It was Cleary, Jr.’s third run of the game. Patrick Crider wrapped up the win in the bottom of the inning.

Blevins earned the win for the Ducks to improve to 2-3. He allowed three runs on six hits in five innings with four strikeouts. Josh Geer suffered the loss for the Skeeters and is now 4-4 on the year. Donnie Veal, Nick Struck, J.C. Romero, and Crider held the Skeeters to just one hit over the final four innings. Cleary, Jr., Lyons, and Puckett combined to go 7-14 in the win with six RBI and five runs scored.

CLICK HERE to listen to highlights from the series finale win

CLICK HERE to view Saturday’s box score

The Ducks will send Rich Hill to the mound in the series opener against the Camden Riversharks on Sunday evening. The former big leaguer has made just one start as a Duck, which came a week ago against the Bridgeport Bluefish. The southpaw fired five no-hit innings, while walking one and striking out seven. The 35-year-old began the 2015 season with the Triple-A Syracuse Chiefs in the Washington Nationals organization. He compiled a 2-2 record with a 2.91 ERA in 25 appearances, striking out 32 batters in 21 and two-thirds innings of work.

Camden counters with Eric Smith, who signed with the team on May 10. Smith has both relieved and started during his time with the ‘Sharks. In 21 appearances, Smith is 2-5 with a 3.93 ERA. In 52 and two-thirds innings, Smith has walked 25, struck out 38, and given up 52 hits. He has made six starts, and won in his last two appearances (both starts). The righty has tossed 11 and two-thirds innings in the two starts, allowing four runs on 11 hits. He also walked and struck out nine.

Here are tonight’s game notes:

Ducks vs. Riversharks: Tonight marks the 274th all-time meeting between the Ducks and Riversharks. The Ducks currently lead the series 137-136 and has a 67-66 advantage at Bethpage Ballpark. It also marks the ninth of 18 scheduled games between the two in 2015. The Ducks lead the series seven games to one and have won five consecutive games, outscoring Camden 41-9 in that span.

Home Cooking: Monday’s victory improved the Ducks’ home record this season to 34-15. Their .694 home winning percentage is currently the best in the Atlantic League. Somerset is second at .667 (32-16). As a team, the Ducks have a .296 batting average and 3.21 ERA at home. Comparatively, they have a .258 batting average and a 3.23 ERA away from Bethpage Ballpark.

Now, that’s High Quality Pitching: Ducks starting pitchers have made five quality starts in their last seven outings. The only exceptions were Rich Hill and Bobby Blevins since they lasted five innings. In their last seven games, Ducks starters have compiled a 3.00 ERA, allowing just 14 earned runs in 42 innings. In that span, they have given up just 32 hits and 10 walks while striking out 35.

The Drought Is Over: Delta Cleary, Jr. launched his first home run as a Duck in the first inning on Saturday night. It came in his 76th game since joining the Flock. The outfielder had collected 81 hits, including 12 doubles and three triples before going deep for the first time. He has now hit 28 home runs in his eight-year career, with his season high coming in 2009 when he hit seven.

Dan’s the Man: Dan Lyons had another big day at the plate on Saturday with three hits and three RBI. The shortstop now leads the Ducks with eight three-hit games and six three-RBI contests in 2015. Last year, he collected a total of two three-hit games and three three-RBI contests. Lyons has also now reached base safely in 14 of his last 15 games dating back to July 23.

Oh, What a Relief They Are: Four Ducks relievers combined to throw four scoreless innings in Saturday’s victory. In the series victory over Sugar Land, Long Island’s bullpen gave up only one run in 11 innings of work. During those 11 innings, the Skeeters managed just three hits and three walks while striking out six times. Donnie Veal has now allowed two runs in 10 innings with the Flock. Nick Struck has now yielded just two runs in his last 11 games (10.2 innings). J.C. Romero has now surrendered just one run in his last 12 games (11 innings). Patrick Crider has now yielded only one run in his last nine games (7.1 innings).

On the Air: Tonight’s game will be broadcast on the Ducks’ official YouTube channel. Live streaming audio will be available online by CLICKING HERE. Chris Buckley 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

#22 Fehlandt Lentini – RF
#5   Delta Cleary, Jr. – CF
#12 Dan Lyons – DH
#2   Cody Puckett – 2B
#9   Mike Blanke – C
#33 Jon Griffin – 1B
#27 Anthony Vega – LF
#40 Steve McQuail – 3B
#6   Carlos Hughes – SS

#32 Rich Hill – LHP

Riversharks

#2   Michael Rockett – 3B
#52 Evan Crawford – LF
#10 Paddy Matera – 2B
#3   Carlos Guzman – CF
#27 Joel Guzman – 1B
#12 Jose Gil – C
#1   Daniel Rockett – RF
#11 Eric Frain – DH
#47 Zach MacPhee – SS

#18 Eric Smith – RHP

Keep it here for updates throughout the evening, as the Ducks begin their four-game series with the Riversharks! You can also follow the Ducks on Twitter (@LIDucks) for updates all year long!

UPDATE (5:16): MID 1: Rich Hill works around a leadoff walk and strikes out the side! Ducks coming up to bat against the Riversharks!

UPDATE (5:29): BOT 1: Mike Blanke with the RBI single! 1-0 Ducks!

UPDATE (6:16): MID 4: Rich Hill has secured 12 outs in this game, 11 are strikeouts! Ducks lead 1-0!

UPDATE (6:49): BOT 6: Anthony Vega with a RBI triple in his return to LI! 2-0 Ducks!

UPDATE (7:03): MID 7: Camden ties the game 2-2 on a solo homer from Daniel Rockett and a RBI double from Michael Rockett. Ducks coming up to bat!

UPDATE (7:30): BOT 7: The Ducks take a 3-2 lead on a run-scoring wild pitch! Ryan Kussmaul in to pitch the eighth.

UPDATE (7:45): TOP 8: ‘Sharks take a 4-3 lead on RBI singles from Jose Gil and Eric Frain.

UPDATE (8:14): FINAL: Ducks fall 4-3 in their series opener.

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Posted on August 9, 2015, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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