Game 105: Ducks vs. Blue Crabs
It was a wild one at the Duck Pond on Friday night against the Blue Crabs. In the end, the Ducks left the ballpark with their eighth waddle-off win of the season, a 7-6 final thanks to Mike Blanke’s game-winning RBI single to right field. With losses by the Bridgeport Bluefish and Somerset Patriots, the Ducks now sit three games back of first-place Somerset and one game behind the ‘Fish for second place in the Liberty Division.
Things did not start off on a good note for the Ducks, as starter Bobby Blevins allowed a first-inning grand slam to Southern Maryland catcher Gustavo Molina. The lead was pushed to 5-0 in the second when Zach Wilson hit a RBI double. In the home half of the second, the Ducks began their climb back into the game. Anthony Vega’s RBI single through the hole into left field plated Cody Puckett to make it a 5-1 ballgame. Blevins settled down and did not allow a run through the fifth. By that point, the Flock had tied the game. In the fourth, Nelfi Zapata put up his first Ducks RBI and hit on a RBI single. One inning later, Long Island put together three runs on Dan Lyons’ RBI double, Puckett’s RBI double, and an error by Blue Crabs shortstop Casey Frawley. Blanke picked up a RBI on the play, hitting the ground ball to Frawley that was booted. After both teams went scoreless in the sixth and seventh, the Ducks took their first lead in the eighth. With the bases loaded, Blanke was at the plate and behind 0-2 to Southern Maryland reliever Orlando Santos. Fehlandt Lentini, leading off third base, took off sprinting for home plate on the next pitch, sliding in safely ahead of the tag by Molina, and giving the Ducks a 6-5 lead. Santos was working from the wind up and fired a fastball upstairs, which allowed Lentini to beat the tag. But, in the ninth, Donnie Veal’s wild pitch allowed Tyler Wagner to score from third and tie the ballgame. The Flock went scoreless in the ninth, sending the game to extras. In the 10th, Ryan Kussmaul worked out of a bases loaded jam with just one out, using a double play ball from Grant Zawadzki to keep the game tied. The Ducks then loaded the bases in the bottom of the frame, setting up Blanke for the walkoff hit to shallow right field.
Kussmaul improved to 4-2 with the win for Long Island, allowing one hit and walking two in the 10th but not allowing a run. Cody Eppley allowed the game winner, falling to 3-4. Puckett finished with three hits in the win, while Lyons, Vega, and Lentini each had a pair. Lyons also set a new career-high for RBI in one season with the Ducks, picking up his 57th of 2015 on Friday night.
CLICK HERE to listen to highlights from the waddle-off victory
CLICK HERE to watch postgame interviews with Kevin Baez, Mike Blanke, and Fehlandt Lentini
CLICK HERE to view Friday’s box score
Winners of four straight, Long Island sends Bruce Kern to the hill in game three of four with the Crabs. Kern enters the game at 6-3 with a 3.09 and six starts in 32 total appearances. In 64 innings, the righty has allowed 23 runs (22 earned) on 51 hits while walking 16 and striking out 60. Kern has started once against Southern Maryland this year, taking a no decision with five one-run innings back on June 8. His last start came on August 10 against Camden in Central Islip. The Long Island native suffered the loss, giving up five runs on nine hits in five innings.
Southern Maryland will try and get their first win of the series with Brian Grening taking the ball. Like Kern, Grening has been a reliever and starter in 2015, with 14 starts in 21 appearances. The right-hander enters game three at 3-6 with a 4.50 ERA, having thrown 86 innings on the year. In that time, the Colorado native has given up 50 runs (43 earned) on 99 hits while walking 28 and striking out 56. Opponents are hitting .287 against Grening, who last threw on August 11, allowing four runs (one earned) on five hits in four innings with three strikeouts against the Bluefish in Southern Maryland.
Here are tonight’s game notes:
Ducks vs. Blue Crabs: Tonight marks the 148th all-time meeting between the Ducks and Blue Crabs. Southern Maryland currently leads the series 77-70, but the Ducks have a 41-38 advantage at Bethpage Ballpark. Tonight is also the 11th of 20 scheduled games between the two teams in 2015. The Ducks currently lead the series eight games to two and have won six in a row, all at home.
Cardiac Quacks: Friday was Long Island’s eighth waddle-off win of the year. It was also their first since July 4 against the Somerset Patriots. The win was the Ducks’ 28th come-from-behind victory of the season and third in extra innings. All three of their extra inning wins have come at Bethpage Ballpark. In addition, Friday was Long Island’s first extra inning game since June 25 at Sugar Land.
Dan’s the Man: Dan Lyons collected two more hits in Friday’s win. He has now reached base safely in 20 of his last 21 games dating back to July 23 and is batting .364 (28-for-77) in that span. By collecting his 57th RBI of the season, he surpassed his Ducks career high in RBI for a single season, which he set during his All-Star season of 2012. His professional career high for RBI in any single season was 71, which he accomplished in 2008 with two different teams.
Cody’s Crushing It: Cody Puckett had three hits for the Ducks on Friday to extend his hitting streak to 11 consecutive games. During the streak, the infielder is batting .319 (15-for-47) with three doubles, one homer, six RBI and five runs scored. Dating back to July 23, Puckett has earned hits in 19 of his last 21 games. Friday was the second-year Duck’s seventh three-hit game of the season, which is one shy of Lyons for the team lead.
Welcome to the Flock: Nelfi Zapata collected his first hit and first RBI as a Duck with a RBI single in the fourth on Friday. In addition, he drew his first walk as a Duck in the seventh. Zapata was signed by the Ducks on Thursday after beginning the season with Triple-A Las Vegas in the New York Mets organization.
Oh, What a Relief They Are: Five Ducks relievers combined to limit the Blue Crabs to just one unearned run in five innings of work on Friday. J.C Romero, Nick Struck, Patrick Crider and Ryan Kussmaul each threw scoreless innings. Combined, Long Island’s bullpen allowed just two hits and three walks in their five innings of work and struck out one batter. They retired the first nine batters they faced as well. Romero has given up just one run in his last 14 appearances, and Crider has yielded just two runs in his last 10 outings.
Finally, here are tonight’s starting lineups:
#22 Fehlandt Lentini – RF
#5 Delta Cleary, Jr. – CF
#12 Dan Lyons – SS
#25 Sean Burroughs – DH
#2 Cody Puckett – 3B
#9 Mike Blanke – C
#27 Anthony Vega – LF
#40 Steve McQuail – 1B
#11 Ryan Gebhardt – 2B
#30 Bruce Kern – RHP
#3 Antone DeJesus – CF
#24 Casey Stevenson – 2B
#29 Zach Wilson – 1B
#36 Jovan Rosa – LF
#23 Gustavo Molina – C
#8 Craig Maddox – DH
#4 Casey Frawley – SS
#9 Tyler Wagner – RF
#7 Grant Zawadzki – 3B
#11 Brian Grening – RHP
Keep it here for updates throughout the evening, as the Ducks continue their four-game series with the Blue Crabs! You can also follow the Ducks on Twitter (@LIDucks) for updates all year long!
UPDATE (6:42): TOP 1: Bruce Kern delivers his first pitch and we are underway in Central Islip! Game three of four with the Blue Crabs!
UPDATE (6:46): TOP 1: RBI groundout for Casey Stevenson, 1-0 Blue Crabs.
UPDATE (6:58): BOT 1: Sean Burroughs ties the game 1-1 with a RBI double in the right-centerfield gap!
UPDATE (7:17): BOT 2: 3-1 Ducks! In his first AB with the Flock, Ryan Gebhardt hits a sacrifice fly to center! Welcome to Long Island, Ryan!
UPDATE (7:29): TOP 3: RBI single for Gustavo Molina, making it 3-2 Ducks.
UPDATE (7:59): TOP 5: Jovan Rosa’s two-run homer to left puts the Blue Crabs up 4-3.
UPDATE (8:33): OT 6: After his walkoff hit last night, Mike Blanke puts the Ducks ahead 5-4 with a two-run homer to left-center!
UPDATE (8:42): BOT 6: Ryan Gebhardt’s second sacrifice fly of the game gives LI the 6-4 lead!
UPDATE (8:51): TOP 7: Casey Frawley’s solo homer to left makes it 6-5 Ducks.
UPDATE (9:02): BOT 7: Sean Burroughs with the sacrifice fly giving LI the two-run advantage once again! 7-5 Ducks!
UPDATE (9:13): TOP 8: Zach Wilson’s RBI double makes it a 7-6 ballgame, Ducks still lead.
UPDATE (9:39): BOT 8: Fehlandt Lentini provides some insurance! His RBI double makes it 8-6 Flock!
UPDATE (9:46): FINAL: Ducks win 8-6! Amalio Diaz picks up the save, five straight for the Flock!
Posted on August 15, 2015, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged 2015, Atlantic League, Baseball, Bethpage Ballpark, Bobby Blevins, Bruce Kern, Dan Lyons, Fehlandt Lentini, Long Island Ducks, Mike Blanke, Southern Maryland Blue Crabs. Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.