Game 123: Ducks vs. Bluefish
The first two games of Long Island’s current series with Bridgeport could not have been more different. After a heartbreaking 9-8 loss to the Bluefish on Tuesday night, the Ducks erupted for 12 runs on Wednesday on their way to a 12-0 shutout victory. Darin Downs continued his fantastic pitching of late and the Flock hit back-to-back homers for the first time this season, picking up an important game on the Bluefish. Entering Thursday, Long Island and Bridgeport are back in a tie for second place, one game behind Somerset who dropped a rain-shortened contest to the Skeeters in six innings last night.
The middle game of three was all Ducks from the very beginning. Ducks starter Darin Downs worked through the first three frames against Bridgeport’s offense with ease. In the home half of the third inning, Long Island posted their first run against Bluefish starter Robert Carson on Fehlandt Lentini’s RBI single to center. At that point, the Ducks slowly built up their lead before exploding for a nine-run sixth inning. However, in the fifth, the Flock scored a pair of runs on back-to-back solo homers to left field courtesy of new Duck Elmer Reyes and Lentini. Reyes hit his first homer in a Long Island uniform, while Lentini hit his second of the year to put the Ducks in front 3-0. Lentini’s first dinger came last week in Connecticut against the ‘Fish when he drove in all three Ducks runs in the team’s opener with Bridgeport.
One inning later, the floodgates opened. Nine Long Island runs would cross in the sixth, giving the team more than offense to win. Reyes continued his big day with a two-run single to left, before Lentini picked up another RBI himself with a single to right. Delta Cleary, Jr. then earned a RBI for his groundout and Sean Burroughs plated a pair with a two-run single to left. Leading 9-0, the Ducks were not done just yet, as Anthony Vega cleared the bases with a long double to right field, making it a 12-0 contest. Downs finished his outing after the sixth, leaving J.C. Romero, Mariel Checo, and Ryan Kussmaul to finish the game. The trio allowed a pair of hits and held the ‘Fish scoreless to complete the shutout. Checo made his Ducks debut in the eighth, pitching a 1-2-3 frame. The righty is a native of New York City.
The Ducks posted 16 hits as a team for their 12 runs. Lentini and Burroughs each finished with three hits, with Lentini driving in three runs and Burroughs a pair. Vega and Reyes had three RBI apiece as well. Downs finished with another quality start, throwing six shutout innings to move to 4-4. The lefty gave up just three hits, did not walk a batter, and struck out a season-high seven batters. Carson fell to 5-3 with the loss.
CLICK HERE to listen to highlights from the hit parade
CLICK HERE to watch postgame interviews with Sean Burroughs, Fehlandt Lentini, and Darin Downs
CLICK HERE to view Wednesday’s box score
The rubber match of the series will be crucial for both Long Island and Bridgeport. The Ducks will have their ace on the mound in John Brownell. Brownell is currently 10-4 with a 3.30 ERA in 22 starts this year. He currently leads the league in both innings pitched and strikeouts. Through 147 frames, the righty has allowed 60 runs (54 earned) on 127 hits while walking 39 and striking out 119. Opponents are hitting .230 against Brownell. The fourth-year Duck last started on August 28 in Southern Maryland when the Ducks lost 5-2 to the Blue Crabs. In his last four starts against the Bluefish, Brownell is 2-1, having allowed 13 runs (11 earned) in 27 frames with 24 strikeouts.
Bridgeport will send Matt Iannazzo to the hill in hopes of taking the series. The southpaw has pitched as both a starter and reliever in 2015, making 27 overall appearances and 15 starts. In 98 and two-thirds innings, Iannazzo has given up 106 hits for 58 runs (54 earned). He has walked 19 and struck out 58. The Norwalk, CT native lost his start on August 28 at home against Lancaster in a 7-6 final. On August 2, Iannazzo pitched at Bethpage Ballpark as the Ducks won the ballgame 4-3. He suffered the loss, allowing four runs on six hits in seven and one-third innings.
Here are tonight’s game notes:
Ducks vs. Bluefish: Tonight marks the 312th all-time meeting between the Ducks and Bluefish. The Bluefish currently lead the series 158-153, but the Ducks hold an 87-70 advantage on Long Island It is also the last of 27 games between the two teams in 2015. Bridgeport leads the series 15 to 11. This year marks the seventh edition of the Ferry Cup Series. The Ducks have won the Cup in four of the first seven years, with the Bluefish claiming the trophy this season.
Home Cooking: The Ducks enter tonight’s game with an Atlantic League-leading 43-19 record at home in 2015. Their .694 winning percentage is 63 percentage points better than any other team (Somerset, .631, 41-24). As a whole, the Ducks have a .304 batting average and a 3.19 ERA at Bethpage Ballpark this season. Comparatively, they are batting .261 with a 3.31 ERA on the road this year.
Offensive Explosion: Long Island’s nine-run sixth inning on Wednesday equaled their largest run-scoring inning this season. They previously scored nine in an inning twice, doing so in the fourth on June 5 at Camden in game two of a doubleheader and in the fourth on May 20 at York. Elmer Reyes and Fehlandt Lentini became the first Ducks to hit back-to-back homers in a game this year. Reyes’ was his first as a Duck, and Lentini’s was his second with the Flock in 2015.
I Can See Cleary Now: Delta Cleary, Jr. connected for two more hits on Wednesday and has now hit safely in 17 consecutive games. That is tied for the longest hitting streak by a Duck this year, which was also accomplished by Dan Lyons from August 8-24. During the streak, the outfielder is batting .427 (32-for-75) with three doubles, one triple, six RBI and 13 runs scored.
New Kid on the Block: Nelfi Zapata collected a single on Wednesday and has now reached base safely in 15 consecutive games. During the streak, the catcher is batting .367 (18-for-49) with six doubles, seven RBI and five runs. The only game he did not reach base safely in was his first, on August 13. Zapata also has a hit in seven straight games and in 14 of his 16 games played with Long Island.
Now That’s High Quality Pitching: Darin Downs tossed his third consecutive quality start and fifth in his last six outings on Wednesday. In those six starts, he is 4-1 with a 2.84 ERA, allowing 12 earned runs in 38 innings of work on 30 hits and 17 walks while striking out 31. The southpaw has lowered his ERA from 5.60 to 3.72 in those six starts and has given up three runs or less in seven of his 10 starts with Long Island. His seven strikeouts on Wednesday was a season-high.
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 also be available online by CLICKING HERE. Mike 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
#9 Mike Blanke – DH
#39 Nelfi Zapata – C
#2 Cody Puckett – 3B
#27 Anthony Vega – LF
#11 Elmer Reyes – 2B
#7 John Brownell – RHP
#24 Bryan Sabatella – LF
#12 Josh Prince – 2B
#19 Welington Dotel – RF
#23 C.J. Retherford – DH
#32 Andres Rodriguez – 1B
#25 Wilson Batista – 3B
#17 Jobduan Morales – C
#4 Matt Wessinger – SS
#7 Ethan Chapman – CF
#10 Matt Iannazzo – LHP
Keep it here for updates all game long as the Ducks and Bluefish conclude their three-game series from Bethpage Ballpark! You can also follow the Ducks on Twitter (@LIDucks) for updates all year long!
UPDATE (6:40): TOP 1: John Brownell deals his first pitch of the evening and game three is underway from the Duck Pond!
UPDATE (6:45): TOP 1: Bluefish take a 1-0 lead on C.J. Retherford’s RBI groundout to short.
UPDATE (7:04): TOP 2: Bryan Sabatella’s RBI single to right field makes it 2-0 Bridgeport.
UPDATE (7:37): BOT 4: Ducks get on the scoreboard! Sean Burroughs’ RBI single to left makes it a 2-1 ballgame!
UPDATE (8:16): BOT 6: Mike Blanke ties the ballgame at two! His RBI single to left brings home Dan Lyons!
UPDATE (9:12): FINAL: WADDLE-OFF! Fehlandt Lentini with the bases-loaded RBI single to left field scores Cody Puckett! Ducks win 3-2, take the series 2-1!
Posted on September 3, 2015, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged 2015, Atlantic League, Baseball, Bethpage Ballpark, Bridgeport Bluefish, Darin Downs, Elmer Reyes, Fehlandt Lentini, Long Island Ducks, Sean Burroughs. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.