Game 114: Ducks at Bluefish
Another day, another “W” for the Long Island Ducks. The Flock bounced back from their one-run loss on Saturday night with a 5-1 rubber match win over the Camden Riversharks on Sunday evening at Bethpage Ballpark. The victory was Long Island’s 11th in their last 13 contests. With the win, the Ducks also moved back into first place with a one game lead over the Somerset Patriots, who fell 3-2 to York in 14 innings on Sunday. Now, the Ducks travel across the sound to Bridgeport for a crucial three-game set with the Bluefish, who are two games back of first in the Liberty Division.
All of Camden’s scoring in Sunday’s contest came in the opening frame off of Ducks starter John Brownell. Carlos Guzman dropped a RBI single into shallow center field to put the Riversharks in front 1-0. Brownell was in control for the rest of his start, mainly pitching to contact but keeping the Riversharks well under control. In peculiar fashion, the Ducks also scored all of their runs in one inning, when they put up five runs in the third frame. Dan Lyons and Mike Blanke each smacked RBI doubles and Sean Burroughs drove in a pair with his own double. Burroughs is now hitting .400 since joining the Ducks with multiple hits in eight of his last nine games. A run-scoring throwing error by Camden catcher Jose Gil completed the scoring. Leading 5-1, the Ducks rode Brownell’s strong outing through the sixth before Billy Buckner made his sixth relief appearance of the season. The righty dominated the Riversharks, allowing just three hits and striking out five in a trio of scoreless innings to pick up his first save of the year. Buckner’s curveball was undoubtedly his best pitch, throwing it for strikes and as a biting put away pitch when necessary.
Bill Murphy took the loss for the Riversharks to fall to 4-14 in 2015. He allowed five runs (four earned) on 13 hits in six innings, throwing 121 pitches in the process. Brownell is now 10-3 this season, giving up the lone first-inning tally on four hits while walking and striking out three. He remains first in the league with 113 strikeouts. In addition to another big game for Burroughs, Delta Cleary, Jr. also picked up four hits in the win, including his team-leading 29th stolen base.
CLICK HERE to listen to highlights from the series-clinching win
CLICK HERE to watch postgame interviews with Kevin Baez, John Brownell, and Delta Cleary, Jr.
CLICK HERE to view Sunday’s box score
With their short stop at the Duck Pond complete, the Flock now embarks on a seven-game stretch on the road beginning with three pivotal games in Bridgeport before a four-game stay in Southern Maryland. Bobby Blevins will start the opener of the trip from The Ballpark at Harbor Yard. Blevins comes in at 2-3 with a 4.61 ERA through 10 appearances (nine starts) since rejoining the Ducks in late June. The right-hander has tossed 54 and two-thirds innings, allowing 30 runs (28 earned) on 64 hits. He has walked just seven and struck out 44. The New York native is coming off his best outing of the season against the Somerset Patriots on August 19. In eight innings, Blevins held the Pats scoreless on three hits without issuing a walk and striking out four. The Ducks won 1-0 in 13 innings. On July 26, he allowed one run on six hits in five and two-thirds innings in Bridgeport and took a no decision.
The Bluefish, trailing the Ducks by two games and in need of wins to keep pace with the division, will send Brandon Bixler to the hill in game one. The southpaw has been with the ‘Fish for only three games and does not have a decision with a 1.80 ERA. He has allowed one run on one hit in five innings with seven strikeouts and one walk. The Florida native threw two scoreless innings of relief on August 20 in Sugar Land. Bixler comes to Bridgeport for his third season of professional baseball. He began the 2015 campaign with Single-A Cedar Rapids Kernels of the Midwest League (Minnesota Twins), where he made six appearances on the mound. Last year, the left-hander appeared in 41 games for Cedar Rapids, collecting a 7-4 record with a 2.68 ERA and 77 strikeouts in 74 innings of work. The 23-year-old made his professional debut in 2013 after he was drafted in the 16th round of the MLB amateur draft by Minnesota. He spent three years within the Twins organization, starting in Rookie ball for Elizabethton of the Appalachian League in 2013. Bixler then moved to Single-A ball with Cedar Rapids for his 2014 season and start of his 2015 season.
Here are tonight’s game notes:
Ducks vs. Bluefish: Today marks the 307th all-time meeting between the Ducks and Bluefish. The Bluefish currently lead the series 154-152, but the Bluefish hold an 85-66 advantage in Bridgeport It is also the 22nd of 27 scheduled games between the two teams in 2015. Bridgeport lead the series 11 to 10. This year marks the seventh edition of the Ferry Cup Series. The Ducks have won the Cup in four of the first six years, including each of the last two.
Break Out the Bats: With five more runs and 13 more hits on Sunday, the Ducks’ offense continued their torrid play of late. In their last 12 games, the Ducks have scored 76 runs and collected 143 hits. That’s an average of 6.3 runs and 11.9 hits per game. Long Island leads the Atlantic League this season in batting average (.281), hits (1,101) and runs scored (534).
I Can See Cleary Now: Delta Cleary, Jr. earned his third four-hit game of the year with four singles on Sunday. His other two four-hit games came on August 16 against Southern Maryland and June 1 against York. The outfielder is now tied with Lew Ford for the most four-hit games by a Duck this season. Cleary, Jr. has hit safely in eight straight games, earning multiple hits in four of them
Dan’s the Man: Dan Lyons picked up two hits and a walk on Sunday and has now reached base safely in 29 of his last 30 games dating back to July 23. In that span, he is batting .360 (41-for-114). Lyons has also hit safely in 16 straight games and has scored at least one run in 14 of his last 16 contests. In the 16 games, he is batting .400 (26-for-65) with two homers, 14 RBI and 21 runs scored. The hitting streak is tied for the longest by a Duck this year, which was accomplished by Randy Ruiz from June 26 to July 16.
Cody’s Crushing It: Cody Puckett added two more hits on Sunday to extend his on-base streak to 20 consecutive games. During the streak, the infielder is bat- ting .329 (27-for-82) with four doubles, one homer, 14 RBI and eight runs. The longest on-base streak by a Duck this year is 28 games, done by Lew Ford from June 7 through July 5 before being signed by Tijuana of the Mexican League.
Sean’s Sizzling: Sean Burroughs collected three hits on Sunday for the second time and multiple hits for the eighth time in 14 games since joining the Ducks. The infielder also now has five multi-RBI games in that span. The former big leaguer has hit safely in 11 of his last 12 games, with multiple hits in eight of his last nine contests. Since joining the Ducks, he is batting .400 (24-for-60).
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. Chris Buckley 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 – 3B
#2 Cody Puckett – 2B
#9 Mike Blanke – C
#27 Anthony Vega – LF
#39 Nelfi Zapata – DH
#40 Steve McQuail – 1B
#18 Bobby Blevins – RHP
#24 Bryan Sabatella – LF
#12 Josh Prince – 2B
#19 Welington Dotel – RF
#26 John Alonso – 1B
#32 Andres Rodriguez – DH
#27 Jeudy Valdez – SS
#9 Luis Rodriguez – C
#4 Matt Wessinger – 3B
#7 Ethan Chapman – CF
#22 Brandon Bixler – LHP
Check back here for updates all game long as the Ducks and Bluefish kick off their three-game series from The Ballpark at Harbor Yard. You can also follow the Ducks on Twitter (@LIDucks) for updates all year long!
UPDATE (7:12): MID 1: Underway from Bridgeport! No score as the Bluefish come up to bat.
UPDATE (7:49): BOT 2: Bridgeport takes a 4-0 lead over LI. Ducks coming up to bat and looking for some runs!
UPDATE (8:36): TOP 6: Ducks still trail 4-0 but are coming to the plate! Bobby Blevins settling in nicely with three straight 1-2-3 frames!
UPDATE (9:12): BOT 7: Three more runs for the ‘Fish and it’s 7-0 Bridgeport.
UPDATE (9:21): TOP 8: Fehlandt Lentini with his first HR of the season! A solo shot to left makes it 7-1 Bluefish.
UPDATE (9:46): FINAL: Ducks drop game one 7-3 after putting up two more runs in the ninth.