Game 111: Ducks vs. Riversharks
After a crucial four-game road trip to TD Bank Ballpark, the Long Island Ducks find themselves in sole possession of first place in the second half Liberty Division standings. With a month left in the 2015 regular season, the Flock now control their own destiny, with the Somerset Patriots and Bridgeport Bluefish tied for second place at one game back of the Ducks. Thursday night’s 5-1 win in Bridgewater propelled Long Island into first, giving the Ducks a 9-1 record in their last 10 contests and a 68-42 record on the year. Despite their early second-half struggles the Ducks have clawed their way back to the top of the heap, and will look to continue that strong play this weekend in Central Islip.
It was Bruce Kern’s fantastic outing that helped lift Long Island to the four-run win in the series finale with Somerset. The right-hander allowed the lone Patriots run in the second on a RBI groundout from Ricky Claudio. However, it was all Ducks from that point on. Seven batters came to the plate in the third as the Flock put together a three-run frame. Carlos Hughes and Anthony Vega smacked back-to-back RBI doubles before Dan Lyons hit a RBI single to center. Leading 3-1, Long Island struck again in the fifth with a pair of runs. Delta Cleary, Jr.’s RBI single combined with a fielding error by Claudio in center made it a 5-1 ballgame. Long Island would not look back, as Kern cruised through eight magnificent innings. Donnie Veal then emerged form the bullpen to complete the win. After walking Michael Burgess to lead off the bottom of the ninth, the southpaw fought back and struck out Robert Andino, Mat Gamel, and Claudio to give the Ducks the “W.”
Kern improved to 7-3 with the victory, allowing one run on five hits while walking two and striking out six. The righty lowered his ERA to 3.16. Lucas Irvine took the loss for the Pats, matching Kern’s eight innings but allowing five runs on eight hits. Vega scored twice while catcher Nelfi Zapata picked up a pair of hits on the day. The Ducks took the series three games to one, and have now secured an 11-9 win of the season series over the Patriots as well. Both squads, battling for first place all season long, will not play each other again in the regular season.
CLICK HERE to listen to highlights from the series finale
CLICK HERE to view Thursday’s box score
The Ducks now begin a short three-game homestand at Bethpage Ballpark before going on a seven-game trip to Bridgeport and Southern Maryland. Ian Marshall will start the series opener against the ‘Sharks, entering at 6-6 with a 3.40 ERA in 20 starts. In 119 innings, the right-hander has allowed 53 runs (45 earned) on 109 hits while walking 46 and striking out 77. Batters are hitting .243 against the first-year Duck. Marshall has been good in his last two starts, winning both outings against the Riversharks (8/11) and Blue Crabs (8/16). He has thrown a combined 12 innings across both starts, allowing five runs (four earned) on 11 hits with five walks and 10 strikeouts.
Camden currently trails 9-3 in the season series, and will counter with Wes Torrez. Torrez also recently pitched against the Ducks and Marshall (8/11). The righty allowed two runs (one earned) in seven innings in that contest, but suffered the hard-luck loss as the Ducks won 3-1. On the year, Torrez has made 21 appearances (18 starts) and thrown 107 innings. In those frames, the White Plains native has given up 56 runs (48 earned) on 105 hits while walking 47 and striking out 72.
Here are tonight’s game notes:
Ducks vs. Riversharks: Tonight marks the 278th all-time meeting between the Ducks and Riversharks. The Ducks currently lead the series 139-138 and have a 69-68 advantage at Bethpage Ballpark. It also marks the 13th of 18 scheduled games between the two in 2015. The Ducks lead the series nine games to three and have outscored Camden 79-39 overall this season.
Break Out the Bats: The Ducks collected nine or more hits for the ninth straight game on Thursday. In the nine games, the Ducks have totaled 55 runs and 108 hits, an average of 6.1 runs and 12 hits per game. Long Island leads the Atlantic League in runs (513) and hits (1,067) this season.
Dan’s the Man: Dan Lyons picked up another hit on Thursday and has now reached base safely in 26 of his last 27 games dating back to July 23. In that span, he is batting .350 (36-for-103). Lyons has also hit safely in 13 straight games and scored at least one in run 11 of his last 13 contests. In the 13 games, he is batting .389 (21-for-54) with two homers, 13 RBI and 17 runs scored.
Cody’s Crushing It: Cody Puckett added another single on Thursday to extend his on-base streak to 17 consecutive games. During the streak, the infielder is batting .319 (23-for-72) with four doubles, one homer, 13 RBI and seven runs. Dating back to July 23, Puckett has earned hits in 24 of his last 27 games.
Double Trouble: The Ducks used four doubles on Thursday night to fuel their 5-1 win over the Patriots. Sam DiMatteo and Carlos Hughes each collected their first double and first extra-base hit as a member of the Ducks. Nelfi Zapata laced his third double with the Flock, while Anthony Vega hit his sixth two-bagger of the year. As a team, the Ducks have totaled 174 doubles this season, which ranks third in the Atlantic League behind Somerset (209) and Southern Maryland (176).
Bruce is Big Time: Bruce Kern tossed his longest outing of the year with eight innings of one-run ball on Thursday. His previous long was six innings, which he did on four occasions. Thursday was the righty’s first road start of the year, and he improved his record away from home to 3-1 with a 2.25 ERA. In addition, he is now 2-1 with a 2.52 ERA in six games (three starts) against Somerset.
I’ll Have the Veal: Donnie Veal struck out the side in his scoreless inning of relief on Thursday. The southpaw has now struck out 21 batters in 15.1 innings as a Duck. He’s also made nine straight appearances without allowing an earned run.
On the Air: Tonight’s game will be broadcast on the Ducks’ flagship radio station, 103.9-FM LI News Radio. Live streaming video and 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:
#27 Anthony Vega – LF
#5 Delta Cleary, Jr. – CF
#12 Dan Lyons – SS
#25 Sean Burroughs – 1B
#2 Cody Puckett – 3B
#9 Mike Blanke – C
#39 Nelfi Zapata – DH
#26 Sam DiMatteo – RF
#6 Carlos Hughes – 2B
#21 Ian Marshall – RHP
#2 Michael Rockett – CF
#9 Brandon Chaves – SS
#10 Paddy Matera – 2B
#3 Carlos Guzman – RF
#27 Joel Guzman – RF
#33 Ryan Strieby – 1B
#1 Daniel Rockett – LF
#12 Jose Gil – C
#52 Evan Crawford – DH
#20 Wes Torrez – RHP
Check back here for updates all game long as the Ducks and Riversharks kick off their three-game set at Bethpage Ballpark. You can also follow the Ducks on Twitter (@LIDucks) for updates all year long!
UPDATE (6:39): MID 1: Ian Marshall with the 1-2-3 start to the ballgame! Ducks coming up to bat!
UPDATE (7:34): TOP 4: After three, no score between LI and the Riversharks!
UPDATE (7:47): TOP 4: Camden takes a 2-0 lead on a sacrifice fly from Jose Gil and a RBI single from Evan Crawford.
UPDATE (8:04): BOT 4: 4-2 Ducks! LI puts up a four-spot in the inning, highlighted by a two-run bomb from Anthony Vega!
UPDATE (8:24): BOT 5: Ducks put up two more runs and now lead 6-2! Cody Puckett with a RBI single and a RBI fielder’s choice for Sam DiMatteo!
UPDATE (8:40): TOP 6: Camden puts up a run on a sacrifice fly from Michael Rockett. 6-3 Ducks.
UPDATE (9:10): BOT 6: The Ducks put up SEVEN runs in the frame and now lead 13-3! Every Ducks starter has a hit and run scored!
UPDATE (9:35): BOT 7: Carlos Hughes draws a bases loaded walk and the Flock now lead 14-3!
UPDATE (10:09): FINAL: Ducks offense explodes for a 14-5 victory over the ‘Sharks!
Posted on August 21, 2015, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged 2015, Anthony Vega, Atlantic League, Baseball, Bethpage Ballpark, Bruce Kern, Camden Riversharks, Carlos Hughes, Donnie Veal, Long Island Ducks. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.