Game 100: Ducks vs. Riversharks
In the opener of a four-game series with the Camden Riversharks, the Ducks saw some historic pitching from their starter Rich Hill. However, despite tying the franchise record for strikeouts in a game with 14, Hill left Bethpage Ballpark with a no decision. Long Island’s bullpen struggled, giving up two leads after Hill was removed. With Sunday’s 4-3 loss, the Ducks are now 13-16 in the second half of the 2015 season, sitting five games back of the Bridgeport Bluefish. The ‘Fish lead the Somerset Patriots by one game in the Liberty Division.
On Sunday, Rich Hill picked up right where he left off exactly a week before, when the tall southpaw made his Ducks debut against the Bridgeport Bluefish at Bethpage Ballpark. Hill struck out seven batters in five innings against Bridgeport. Against Camden, he doubled that number in just one more inning of work. Through six frames (18 outs), the former big leaguer fanned 14 ‘Sharks with a steady diet of well-placed fastballs and dipping curveballs. Offensively, the Ducks provided their starter with two runs of support through those six innings. Mike Blanke dropped a RBI single into left-center field in the first, before Anthony Vega’s sixth-inning RBI triple off the wall in deep left-center made it 2-0 Ducks. It was Vega’s first game back with the Ducks after being traded to Southern Maryland on June 12. He was reacquired yesterday afternoon before the start of the series opener and later made a great sliding grab in left field.
Once Hill was pulled from the game, Long Island saw their bullpen struggle to maintain the lead in the seventh and eighth. Nick Struck was called on for the seventh frame, but saw Camden’s Rockett brothers tie the ballgame with a pair of runs. Struck allowed a solo homer to Daniel Rockett and a RBI double to Michael Rockett. The latter’s double bounced just inside the right field line and rolled into the corner, a close play in which the Ducks believed the ball to be foul. In the home half of the inning, Long Island was able to take the lead back when Riversharks reliever Dan Blewett threw a wild pitch well above the head of catcher Jose Gil. Blewett replaced starter Eric Smith, who finished the game with six innings pitched, but left the bases loaded for Blewett in the seventh without securing an out. Despite the wild pitch, Blewett escaped the jam without allowing another run. In the eighth, Camden went ahead for good. Ryan Kussmaul allowed RBI singles to Gil and Eric Frain, giving the Riversharks their 4-3 lead. The Ducks went quietly in the eighth. With runners at first and second and one out in the ninth, Bryan Sabatella struck out looking to end the game.
Dan Lyons had yet another three-hit game for the Ducks, his second straight including the series finale against Sugar Land on Saturday night. Vega finished 2-4 with a RBI and triple in his return to the Flock. Hill allowed only two hits in his six innings, one of which was an infield single beaten out by Michael Rockett at first base. Kussmaul was saddled with the loss, allowing two runs on four hits in the eighth, although he did strike out the side. He is 3-2 on the season. Blewett picked up the win while Matt Gorgen earned his 22nd save for Camden in the ninth.
CLICK HERE to listen to highlights from the series opener
CLICK HERE to watch postgame interviews with Kevin Baez, Rich Hill, and Dan Lyons
CLICK HERE to view Sunday’s box score
Game two will feature a righty-lefty pitching matchup, with the Ducks sending right-hander Bruce Kern to the hill. Kern enters the contest at 6-2 with a 2.59 ERA through five starts (31 appearances). The Long Island native has thrown 59 innings and allowed 18 runs (17 earned) on 42 hits while walking 15 and striking out 56. Kern has been one of the more versatile arms on Long Island’s pitching staff this season, having started and relieved across various stretches of the schedule. Kern has pitched to nearly an identical line in his last two starts, in which he is 1-1. The 27-year-old has allowed two runs on five hits in six innings in each of his last two starts against the Patriots (7/28) and Bluefish (8/3).
The Riversharks hand the ball to former Duck Daniel Herrera as they try to guarantee themselves a split of the set. Like Kern, Herrera has pitched as a reliever and starter this year, making three starts in 28 overall appearances. The lefty is 3-4 with a 6.46 ERA. In 54 and one-third innings, he has surrendered 45 runs (39 earned) on 79 hits with 20 walks and 38 strikeouts. Herrera played for four seasons with the Cincinnati Reds, the Milwaukee Brewers, and the New York Mets, with his best year coming in 2009, when as a member of the Reds he went 4-4 with a 3.06 ERA and 44 strikeouts in relief. After pitching for the Flock in 2013, he played with Somerset in 2014.
Here are tonight’s game notes:
Ducks vs. Riversharks: Tonight marks the 275th all-time meeting between the Ducks and Riversharks. The series is currently tied at 137 overall and at 67 at Bethpage Ballpark. It also marks the 10th of 18 scheduled games between the two in 2015. The Ducks lead the series seven games to two and have won five of the last six games, outscoring Camden 61-22 overall this season.
Home Cooking: Despite Sunday’s loss, the Ducks still sport a home record of 34-16 this season. Their .680 home winning percentage is currently the best in the Atlantic League. Somerset is second at .667 (34-17). As a team, the Ducks have a .295 batting average and 3.23 ERA at home. Comparatively, they have a .258 batting average and a 3.23 ERA away from Bethpage Ballpark.
King of the ‘K’: Rich Hill tied a franchise record for a single game by striking out 14 Riversharks batters on Sunday. The only other Ducks pitcher to strike out 14 in a game was Mike Loree, who accomplished the feat on September 15, 2011 at Southern Maryland. In two starts with Long Island, Hill has allowed just two hits and three walks in 11 scoreless innings of work while striking out 21 batters .
Now, that’s High Quality Pitching: Ducks starting pitchers have now made six quality starts in their last eight outings. The only exceptions were starts by Rich Hill and Bobby Blevins since they lasted five innings each. In those eight games, Ducks starters have compiled a 2.63 ERA, allowing 14 earned runs in 48 innings. In that span, they have given up just 34 hits and 12 walks while striking out 49.
Dan’s the Man: Dan Lyons earned his second consecutive three-hit game with a trio of singles on Sunday. The shortstop had a double and two singles during Saturday’s win. He leads the Ducks with nine three-hit games in 2015, two more than Delta Cleary, Jr. and Reegie Corona. Last year, Lyons collected just two three-hit games. He has now reached base safely in 15 of his last 16 games dating back to July 23, batting .362 (21-for-58) in that span.
Oh, What a Relief He Is: Frank DeJiulio, Jr. tossed a scoreless ninth inning for the Ducks on Sunday. The righty has now made 12 consecutive appearances without allowing an earned run dating back to June 10. In that span, he has given up just eight hits and two walks while striking out 13 batters. In four games against the Riversharks in 2015, DeJiulio, Jr. has given up just one run on four hits and no walks over five innings while striking out five.
Finally, here are tonight’s starting lineups:
#22 Fehlandt Lentini – RF
#5 Delta Cleary, Jr. – CF
#12 Dan Lyons – DH
#2 Cody Puckett – 2B
#25 Sean Burroughs – 3B
#9 Mike Blanke – C
#27 Anthony Vega – LF
#40 Steve McQuail – 1B
#6 Carlos Hughes – SS
#30 Bruce Kern – RHP
#2 Michael Rockett – 3B
#52 Evan Crawford – LF
#10 Paddy Matera – 2B
#3 Carlos Guzman – CF
#27 Joel Guzman – 1B
#1 Daniel Rockett – RF
#12 Jose Gil – C
#11 Eric Frain – DH
#47 Zach MacPhee – SS
#5 Daniel Herrera – LHP
Keep it here for updates throughout the evening, as the Ducks continue their four-game series with the Riversharks! You can also follow the Ducks on Twitter (@LIDucks) for updates all year long!
UPDATE (6:41): MID 1: Bruce Kern with a 1-2-3 first frame and the Ducks will come up to bat!
UPDATE (7:10): TOP 3: ‘Sharks take a 2-0 lead on back-to-back RBI singles from Michael Rockett and Evan Crawford.
UPDATE (7:30): TOP 4: Riversharks tack on two more runs on a RBI double from Daniel Rockett and a RBI single from Jose Gil. They lead 4-0.
UPDATE (7:43): BOT 4: Ducks make it 4-2 on solo homers from Dan Lyons and Sean Burroughs! Burroughs’ first homer as a Duck in his debut!
UPDATE (7:52): TOP 5: 5-2 Camden after Carlos Guzman’s sacrifice fly.
UPDATE (8:43): BOT 7: Ducks put up two runs on a RBI groundout from Fehlandt Lentini and a run-scoring wild pitch! 5-4 Riversharks.
UPDATE (9:26): FINAL: Ducks drop game two 5-4.
Posted on August 10, 2015, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged 2015, Anthony Vega, Atlantic League, Bethpage Ballpark, Camden Riversharks, Dan Lyons, Long Island Ducks, Rich Hill. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.