Game 109: Ducks at Patriots
It’s funny how the game of baseball can change in an instant. One second, your team is up 2-0 in the fifth inning and your starter has thrown four innings of one-hit baseball. The next, your team is down 6-2 with that same starter out of the ballgame. In the same game, your team could be trailing 7-4 in the ninth inning and down to its final out. Then, in the blink of an eye, they’re leading 8-7 and go on to win by that same score. That, in a nutshell, is what happened to the Ducks on Tuesday night, as they rallied for a dramatic win over the Patriots to even the series at one.
John Brownell and R.J. Seidel locked up in a pitcher’s duel for the first three innings, allowing just one hit apiece. The Ducks finally broke the deadlock in the fourth when Anthony Vega tripled to center and Dan Lyons doubled him home. One inning later, newcomer Sam DiMatteo singled for his first Ducks hit and then scored his first run with the team on Delta Cleary Jr.’s RBI triple to right-center. Up 2-0 at the midway point and with Brownell, the Ducks had to be feeling confident in the third base dugout. Unfortunately, that’s when the wheels fell off for the Ducks’ right-hander.
Brownell uncharacteristically allowed two walks and an infield single to load the bases with no outs in the bottom of the fifth. Then, the Patriots battered the Ducks veteran for three straight hits, including a two-run single by Ricky Claudio and a RBI base hit from Adam Donachie. With the bases loaded, Nate Spears reached on an error by Steve McQuail and Aharon Eggleston followed with a two-run single to right. That spelled the end for Brownell, and his strong start was now a distant memory. However, Patrick Crider came in and induced a double play and a groundout to end the inning and keep the score 6-2.
Facing another large deficit, the Ducks did what they’ve done time and time again this year: come back. Long Island instantly responded with two runs in the sixth inning against reliever Gus Schlosser. Cody Puckett doubled to left-center field to score Lyons, and three batter later, Ryan Gebhardt drew a walk with the bases loaded to force home another run. However, with the bases loaded and one out, DiMatteo flew out to right and Cleary, Jr. grounded out to end the threat. The Pats tacked on a run in the seventh to make it a 7-4 game, and Nick Struck started off the eighth inning in a huge jam. The Ducks’ right-hander walked three straight batters to open the inning and was in big danger of allowing Somerset to widen their lead. Struck beared down though and induced a popout, a strikeout and a lineout to end the threat, a big momentum boost for the Ducks.
The ninth inning started fairly tame for the Ducks. With one out, Cleary, Jr. singled to center but was quickly erased on a fielder’s choice groundout by Vega. Down to their final out, Lyons worked out a walk against Jon Hunton, the previous night’s winner, to keep the game alive. Then, everything began going the Ducks’ way. Sean Burroughs hit a hard grounder past Mat Gamel at first and into right for a RBI single to make it a 7-5 game. Burroughs took off for second with Puckett at the plate, and Puckett hit a soft grounder into the vacated hole on the right side for another RBI single. Down by just one, Kevin Baez went to Mike Blanke as a pinch hitter for McQuail. Blanke swung at the first pitch and hit a tapper to the third base side of the mound. Hunton slipped while fielding it, and Carlos Hughes, who pinch ran for Burroughs, scored the tying run. Nelfi Zapata stepped to the plate next and grounded a hard single up the middle to score Puckett with the winning run. Four batter, four RBI singles, all with two outs, and the Ducks led 8-7. Amalio Diaz sealed the deal with a perfect bottom of the ninth.
Fresh off their come-from-behind win, the Ducks will turn to Bobby Blevins in the swing game of the series. He enters with a record of 2-3 with a 5.40 ERA in nine games (eight starts). The right-hander struggled in his last outing, giving up five runs on 10 hits and a walk with five strikeouts over five innings against the Blue Crabs last Friday. The rough start ended a streak of three straight solid outings for the fourth-year Duck. Tonight will be his third start against Somerset this season, and thus far, he is 1-0 with a 4.50 ERA. Blevins earned the win on July 11 at TD Bank Ballpark, giving up two runs on six hits and no walks over six innings while striking out six in a 4-3 Ducks victory. However, he surrendered four runs (three earned) on six hits and two walks with two strikeouts in four innings on July 4 at Bethpage Ballpark.
Opposing Blevins will be Patriots southpaw Matt Zielinski, who has continued to find success this year. He enters with a 6-2 record and a 2.38 ERA in 19 games (18 starts). The left-hander took a no-decision in his last outing on August 14, giving up four runs (two earned) on seven hits over six innings while walking two and striking out two. Zielinski has not picked up a win in any of his last four starts, but he has a 2.16 ERA in that span. The problem has been that Somerset’s offense has combined to give him just over nine runs of support while he’s been in the mound in those four outings. Zielinski has faced the Ducks twice this season and is 1-1 with a 2.08 ERA against Long Island. He earned the win with six shutout innings and seven strikeouts at TD Bank Ballpark on July 10 but took the loss after allowing three runs on nine hits in seven innings on May 30 in a 3-0 loss at home to the Flock.
Here are tonight’s game notes:
Ducks vs. Patriots: Tonight marks the 304th all-time meeting between the Ducks and Patriots. Somerset leads the series 153-150 and also has a 78-70 advantage at TD Bank Ballpark. Tonight is also the 19th of 20 scheduled games between the two in 2015. The series is currently tied at nine. 15 games have been decided by three runs or less, and nine have been decided by one run.
Break Out the Bats: The Ducks totaled 10 or more hits for the fifth straight game and sixth time in the last seven games Tuesday. In those seven games, the Ducks have totaled 49 runs and 87 hits, an average of seven runs and 12.4 hits per game. Long Island leads the Atlantic League in runs (507) and hits (1,046).
Dan’s the Man: Dan Lyons collected another hit and two runs on Tuesday and has now reached base safely in 24 of his last 25 games dating back to July 23. In that span, he is batting .366 (34-for-93). Lyons has also hit safely and scored at least one run in 11 straight games. In the 11 games, he is batting .432 (19-for-44) with two homers, 12 RBI and 17 runs scored.
Cody’s Crushing It: Cody Puckett collected three hits on Tuesday to extend his on-base streak to 15 consecutive games. During the streak, the infielder is batting .333 (21-for-63) with four doubles, one homer, 12 RBI and seven runs. Dating back to July 23, Puckett has earned hits in 22 of his last 25 games and ranks second in the league with 117 hits.
Sean’s Sizzling: Sean Burroughs collected at least one hit and one RBI for the fourth straight game Tuesday. The former big leaguer has 10 hits in 16 at bats with seven RBI and three runs in his last four games. Since joining the Ducks, Burroughs is batting .417 (15-for-36) with one homer, 10 RBI and five runs.
Mashing Mike: Mike Blanke picked up a pinch hit single on Tuesday. He has now hit safely in six consecutive games and has reached base safely in 12 straight contests. During those 12 games, the catcher has compiled two home runs, nine RBI and seven runs scored.
Three’s Company: Puckett and Delta Cleary, Jr. each earned their eighth three-hit game of the year on Tuesday. That ties them with Dan Lyons for the team lead. Overall, Puckett has 31 multi-hit games and Cleary, Jr. has 22.
On the Air: Tonight’s game will be broadcast on the Ducks’ flagship radio station, 103.9-FM LI News Radio, as the “Ducks Game of the Week.” 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:
#22 Fehlandt Lentini – RF
#5 Delta Cleary, Jr. – CF
#12 Dan Lyons – SS
#25 Sean Burroughs – 1B
#2 Cody Puckett – 3B
#9 Mike Blanke – C
#27 Anthony Vega – LF
#40 Steve McQuail – DH
#6 Carlos Hughes – 2B
#18 Bobby Blevins – RHP
#13 Robert Andino – SS
#91 Aharon Eggleston – LF
#8 David Vidal – 3B
#39 Michael Burgess – RF
#21 Adam Donachie – C
#9 Mat Gamel – DH
#36 Ricky Claudio – CF
#15 Jose Garcia Reyes – 2B
#4 James Skelton – 1B
#31 Matt Zielinski – LHP
We’ll have updates for you all game long as the Ducks and Patriots play the swing game of their four-game set in New Jersey. You can also follow the Ducks on Twitter (@LIDucks) for updates all year long!
UPDATE (7:27): END 2: No score yet here at TD Bank Ballpark. Mike Blanke has picked up the only hit of the game so far (single to left field).
UPDATE (8:08): END 4: Still no score after four in Somerset. Ducks out-hitting the Pats 4-2 thus far. Bobby Blevins just stranded a runner at third.
UPDATE (8:30): END 6: Six innings complete, same story. Still a scoreless game. Ducks now out-hitting the Patriots 6-2.
UPDATE (9:04): END 8: Blevins works around a lead-off double to keep Somerset off the scoreboard! We remain scoreless and head to the ninth!
UPDATE (9:21): END 9: Donnie Veal works a 1-2-3 ninth, and it’s time for bonus baseball in Somerset.
UPDATE (9:40): END 10: For a second straight night, a Ducks reliever works out of a bases loaded, no-out jam! This time, it’s J.C. Romero! Onto the 11th!
UPDATE (9:57): END 11: 1-2-3 in the top half for the Ducks. 1-2-3 in the bottom half for the Pats. We head to the 12th inning in a scoreless deadlock.
UPDATE (10:14): END 12: Billy Buckner works out of a first-and-second, one-out jam in the 12th to keep the game scoreless! Let’s play a 13th.
UPDATE (10:28): TOP 13: The Ducks finally break through! Three singles and a sac fly to center by Puckett put the Ducks on top 1-0!
UPDATE (10:37): FINAL: Amalio Diaz tosses a perfect ninth inning for his 10th save of the year, and the Ducks outlast the Patriots 1-0 in 13 innings!
Posted on August 19, 2015, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged 2015, Atlantic League, Bobby Blevins, Cody Puckett, Dan Lyons, John Brownell, Long Island Ducks, Matt Zielinski, Mike Blanke, Nelfi Zapata, R.J. Seidel, Somerset Patriots, TD Bank Ballpark. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.