Game 108: Ducks at Patriots

The Ducks and Patriots have been playing tightly contested battles since their first meeting back in 2000. This year, they’ve played 17 times thus far, and 14 of them have been decided by three runs or less. Monday featured more of the same, as both teams were tied at four entering the ninth inning after both having taken a two-run lead at some point in the game. Ultimately, Somerset came away from the series opener with a 5-4 victory on a bases loaded walk in the bottom of the ninth inning by Ricky Claudio, ending the Ducks’ six-game winning streak.

Both teams were unable to maintain leads in Monday’s ballgame. After back-to-back scoreless innings, the Ducks broke through in the third against Zach Clark. Dan Lyons brought in a run with a groundout, and Sean Burroughs delivered a RBI single to break the scoreless tie. However, the Patriots answered right away in the bottom half of the inning on a two-run homer by David Vidal. Somerset took the lead in the fourth on three hits off of Darin Downs, including a RBI double by James Skelton and a RBI single by Aharon Eggleston. However, Long Island was able to respond immediately in the fifth on Burroughs’ second RBI single of the game and a run-scoring fielder’s choice off of Cody Puckett’s bat to even the score at four. Somerset’s bullpen limited the Flock to just two hits over the final four innings, and Downs found a way out of trouble in seventh, after retiring seven in a row prior to the inning, to keep the ballgame tied. However, Billy Buckner’s wildness in the ninth, coupled with an error from Puckett, gave Somerset the walk-off win.

After back-to-back quality starts, Downs did not have his best stuff on Monday. He walked six batters during the seven innings he lasted, although one was intentional. However, he found a way to limit the damage to four runs on six hits and was able to give Long Island some length on the mound after their starters went just five innings the previous three days. Buckner worked around a leadoff single in the eighth to keep the Patriots off the scoreboard. However, a leadoff walk in the ninth was the beginning of his downfall. After a sac bunt and an intentional walk, Puckett mishandled a grounder to third from Adam Donachie and failed to get at least the second out of the inning. Nate Spears would strike out after the miscue, but Buckner fell behind the newcomer Claudio and eventually walked him on a 3-2 pitch to end the game.

CLICK HERE to listen to highlights from Monday’s series opener
CLICK HERE to view Monday’s box score

The Ducks will look to start a new winning streak tonight with their ace on the hill. John Brownell enters looking to become the league’s active wins later. Patriots southpaw Sean Bierman is the only pitcher with 10 wins this season, but he is no longer a member of the team after getting signed by the Baltimore Orioles on July 31. Brownell takes the mound with a 9-3 record this year and a 2.95 ERA that ranks seventh in the Atlantic League. He is also the league leader in strikeouts (107) and innings pitched (131.1). The right-hander was flat out dominant his last time out, coming within one strike of a complete game shutout against the Blue Crabs on Thursday. He settled for eight and two-thirds innings of one-run ball, giving up just four hits and three walks while striking out eight. Brownell has made two starts against Somerset this year, both at TD Bank Ballpark, and has lost both. He gave up six runs in six innings on May 27 in a 7-6 defeat and surrendered two runs over six innings on July 10 but was outdueled by Matt Zielinski in a 2-0 loss.

The Patriots will counter with R.J. Seidel, who will be making his 27th appearance and ninth start of the season. He enters at 2-4 with a 3.22 ERA and has allowed 59 hits over 53 innings while walking 16 and striking out 46. The right-hander suffered a loss in his last start, giving up four runs on eight hits over five innings and striking out two in a 4-3 loss to Sugar Land on August 12. Seidel’s last win came on May 14 when he tossed a scoreless inning of relief on May 14 against Lancaster. This season, he has made five appearances (one start) against the Ducks and is 0-1 with a 2.89 ERA, allowing 13 hits in nine and one-third innings. The loss came on July 4 when he surrendered a run on five hits, including a walk-off single from Randy Ruiz, in two and one-third innings of relief.

Here are tonight’s game notes:

Ducks vs. Patriots: Tonight marks the 303rd all-time meeting between the Ducks and Patriots. Somerset leads the series 153-149 and also has a 78-69 advantage at TD Bank Ballpark. Tonight also marks the 18th of 20 scheduled games between the two in 2015. The Patriots currently lead the series nine to eight, and 14 of the first 17 meetings have been decided by three runs or less.

Dan’s the Man: Dan Lyons collected another hit and run scored on Monday and has now reached base safely in 23 of his last 24 games dating back to July 23. In that span, he is batting .367 (33-for-90). Lyons has hit safely and scored at least one run in 10 straight games. During those 10 games, he is batting .439 (18-for-41) with two homers, 11 RBI and 15 runs scored. The fifth-year Duck now ranks third in the Atlantic League in batting (.316) and fourth in runs (56).

Cody’s Crushing It: Cody Puckett’s hitting streak was ended on Monday, but he did draw a walk to extend his on-base streak to 14 consecutive games. During the streak, the infielder is batting .310 (18-for-58) with three doubles, one homer, 10 RBI and six runs. Dating back to July 23, Puckett has earned hits in 21 of his last 24 games and ranks second in the league with 114 hits.

Sean’s Sizzling: For the third straight game, Sean Burroughs collected multiple hits and multiple runs batted in. He finished with three hits and two RBI for the second straight day also. The former big leaguer has eight hits in 12 at bats with six RBI and two runs in his last three games. Since joining the Ducks, Burroughs is batting .406 (13-for-32) with one homer, nine RBI and four runs.

Mashing Mike: Mike Blanke picked up two hits on Monday. He has now hit safely in five consecutive games and has reached base safely in 11 straight contests. During those 11 games, the catcher has compiled two home runs, eight RBI and seven runs scored. Blanke has a .362 batting average this year against the Patriots and now has 17 multi-hit games in 2015.

Off to the Races: Delta Cleary, Jr. stole two more bases in Monday’s game. He now has 27 steals this season, the most by any Ducks player in 2015. That total also ranks third in the Atlantic League, trailing Bridgeport’s Welington Dotel by six. The Ducks have stolen 116 bases this year, tied with Bridgeport for tops in the league, and they also have a league-best .817 stolen base percentage.

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:

#5   Delta Cleary, Jr. – CF
#27 Anthony Vega – LF
#12 Dan Lyons – SS
#25 Sean Burroughs – 3B
#2   Cody Puckett – DH
#40 Steve McQuail – 1B
#39 Nelfi Zapata – C
#11 Ryan Gebhardt – 2B
#26 Sam DiMatteo – RF

#7   John Brownell – RHP

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

#38 R.J. Seidel – RHP

We’ll have updates for you all game long as the Ducks and Patriots play game two of their four-game set in New Jersey. You can also follow the Ducks on Twitter (@LIDucks) for updates all year long!

UPDATE (7:26): END 1: No score at TD Bank Ballpark. John Brownell induces an inning-ending double play in the bottom of the frame!

UPDATE (8:07): TOP 4: Ducks break the scoreless tie on a RBI double to the right field corner by Dan Lyons! His 20th double of the year makes it 1-0 Long Island!

UPDATE (8:20): TOP 5: Sam DiMatteo’s first hit as a Duck (a single) and Delta Cleary Jr.’s fourth triple of the year give the Ducks another run and a 2-0 lead!

UPDATE (8:43): BOT 5: Somerset racks up six runs on five hits, two walks and an error. The Patriots now lead 6-2 after five.

UPDATE (9:01): TOP 6: The Ducks answer back with two runs on a RBI double by Cody Puckett and a bases loaded walk to Ryan Gebhardt! Now a 6-4 game.

UPDATE (9:38): BOT 7: A RBI single by David Vidal pushes Somerset’s lead to three at 7-4.

UPDATE (9:56): BOT 8: Nick Struck walks three straight to open the eighth, but he retires the next three to get out of trouble! Still a 7-4 game.

UPDATE (10:15): TOP 9: The Ducks score four runs on four straight two-out singles to take an 8-7 lead over the Patriots! Amalio Diaz on to pitch!

UPDATE (10:24): FINAL: Diaz works a 1-2-3 ninth inning to earn his ninth save, & the Ducks stun the Patriots 8-7 to even up the series!


Posted on August 18, 2015, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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