Game 107: Ducks at Patriots

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Sunday turned out to be another incredibly memorable day at Bethpage Ballpark. It began with a special pre-game ceremony to honor the marvelous career of Ducks all-time great Ray Navarrete. The festivities featured video highlights from his career and video testimonials from those he played with and for, along with several others. Then, his #16 jersey was officially retired and unveiled for all to see on the brick pillar next to the DuckVision video board. The ceremony culminated with an emotional speech from Navarrete himself, which led multiple ovations from the crowd of 5,668 at the Duck Pond. Then, the 2015 Ducks earned their sixth consecutive victory, defeating the Blue Crabs 7-5 to sweep the series and compiling 16 hits in the process. How fitting?

Once again, the Ducks needed to use their come-from-behind ability to win the ballgame. Ian Marshall fell into a hole thanks to a two-out, two-run home run from Jovan Rosa in the first inning. However, Long Island answered right back with three in the bottom of the frame. Sean Burroughs and Cody Puckett had RBI singles to highlight the frame. Then, after the Blue Crabs tied the game in the second, the Ducks answered back again on another RBI single in the bottom of the inning by Burroughs, who finished with three hits. Two innings later, same story. Southern Maryland tied the game in the fourth, but a run-scoring fielder’s choice by Puckett and a sac fly by Steve McQuail in the bottom half gave the Flock a 6-4 lead they would never relinquish. Nelfi Zapata rounded out Long Island’s scored with a RBI double in the sixth as part of a three-hit, two-RBI day for the newcomer. All of those performances paled though to Delta Cleary, Jr.’s, who had four hits and a walk in five plate appearances and scored three times.

On the mound, the Ducks had their starter go just five innings for the third straight game. Marshall did not have his best stuff, allowing four runs (three earned) on seven hits in five innings. However, he avoided allowing the “big inning” to keep the Ducks in the game. Long Island’s bullpen was stout once again. Frank DeJiulio Jr. picked up a strikeout and a flyout in the sixth with two in scoring position to end the threat. Donnie Veal induced a groundout to end the seventh with the tying run at third. Ryan Kussmaul then pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning, and Amalio Diaz tossed a scoreless ninth for his eighth save of the season.

CLICK HERE to listen to highlights from Sunday’s homestand finale
CLICK HERE to watch postgame interviews with Kevin Baez, Delta Cleary, Jr. and Nelfi Zapata
CLICK HERE to view Sunday’s box score

Now winners in nine of their last 12 games, the Ducks return to the road for their final meeting of the regular season with the Somerset Patriots. With the season series tied at eight and this being a potential playoff preview, the games should certainly provide for some excitement. Darin Downs will get the start for the Ducks in the opener and enters at 2-3 with a 4.55 ERA. While those numbers don’t scream success, he has been excellent in his last two starts and has won both. On Wednesday against Camden, the southpaw tossed six innings of one-run ball, allowing four hits while striking out six. He did walk five batters but that ultimately didn’t matter as the Ducks pounded the Riversharks 11-2 to earn a series split. That outing came on the heels of a six inning, two-run performance in Texas on August 6. Downs has made two starts against the Patriots this year and is 0-2 with an 8.00 ERA, allowing eight runs on 11 hits and six walks in nine innings with nine strikeouts.

Opposing downs will be Zach Clark, who will make his third start since joining Somerset back on August 1. Thus far, he is 0-0 with a 4.50 ERA, allowing four runs on nine hits and five walks while striking out three in eight innings. Clark lasted four innings on August 11 against Sugar Land, giving up three runs on four hits and four walks with one strikeout. Earlier this year, the right-hander was a member of the Camden Riversharks and really struggled, going 2-5 with a 6.56 ERA in 13 games (11 starts). While with the ‘Sharks, he faced the Ducks twice and was 0-2 with a 10.57 ERA, surrendering 10 runs (nine earned) in seven and two-thirds innings. In the starts, he also gave up 13 hits and seven walks while striking out just four.

Here are tonight’s game notes:

Ducks vs. Patriots: Tonight marks the 302nd all-time meeting between the Ducks and Patriots. Somerset leads the series 152-149 and also has a 77-69 advantage at TD Bank Ballpark. Tonight also marks the 17th of 20 scheduled games between the two in 2015. The series is currently tied at eight, and 13 of the first 16 meetings have been decided by three runs or less.

Dan’s the Man: Dan Lyons collected two more hits on Sunday and has now reached base safely in 22 of his last 23 games dating back to July 23. In that span, he is batting .372 (32-for-86). The shortstop now has 16 two-hit games in 2015 and 25 multi-hit contests. Lyons has hit safely and scored a run in nine straight games. In addition, he’s earned multiple hits in four of his last five games.

Cody’s Crushing It: Cody Puckett picked up a single on Sunday, extending his hitting streak to 13 consecutive games. During the streak, the infielder is batting .327 (18-for-55) with three doubles, one homer, nine RBI and six runs. Dating back to July 23, Puckett has earned hits in 21 of his last 23 games.

I Can See Cleary Now: Delta Cleary, Jr. earned his second four-hit game of the season with four singles in Sundays win. His only other four-hit game came on June 1 against the York Revolution. He and Lew Ford, who has three four-hit games, are the only two Ducks players this season with multiple four-hit contests.

New Kid On the Block: Nelfi Zapata collected three hits and two RBI on Sunday to earn his first multi-hit and multi-RBI game with the Ducks. In four games with Long Island, he has collected five hits in 11 at bats, good for a .455 batting average. He’s the first Duck to collect two doubles in a game since Dan Lyons on August 1 against Bridgeport.

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. Michael Polak 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 – 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

#23 Darin Downs – LHP

Patriots
#13 Robert Andino – SS
#91 Aharon Eggleston – LF
#8   David Vidal – 3B
#39 Michael Burgess – DH
#21 Adam Donachie – 1B
#3   Nate Spears – 2B
#36 Ricky Claudio – RF
#15 Jose Garcia Reyes – CF
#4   James Skelton – C

#10 Zach Clark – RHP

Keep it here for updates all game long as the Ducks open their four-game series with the Patriots in New Jersey. You can also follow the Ducks on Twitter (@LIDucks) for updates all year long!

UPDATE (7:18): We are underway in the first of four games this week between the Ducks and Patriots!

UPDATE (7:43): Nice job by Darin Downs to work out of a first-and-second, no-out jam in the second! We’re still scoreless after two.

UPDATE (8:00): TOP 3: The Ducks break through for two runs on a RBI groundout by Dan Lyons and a RBI single by Sean Burroughs! 2-0 Flock!

UPDATE (8:13): BOT 3: Patriots tie up the ballgame on a two-run home run to left field by David Vidal. 2-2 the score.

UPDATE (8:34): BOT 4: Somerset adds two more runs on a RBI double by James Skelton and a RBI single by Aharon Eggleston. 4-2 Patriots.

UPDATE (8:48): TOP 5: Ducks have tied the game on another RBI single by Burroughs and a RBI fielder’s choice from Cody Puckett! Still two on with two out.

UPDATE (9:32): BOT 7: Downs escapes a bases loaded jam by getting Nate Spears on a lineout to right! 4-4 after seven.

UPDATE (9:50): BOT 8: Billy Buckner faces a runner at second with no one out, but he retires three straight to keep Somerset off the scoreboard!  Still 4-4.

UPDATE (10:09): FINAL: A bases loaded walk to Ricky Claudio in the bottom of the ninth gives the Patriots a 5-4 win and ends the Ducks’ six-game win streak.

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Posted on August 17, 2015, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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