Game 124: Ducks vs. Blue Crabs

Celebration

The Ducks capped off their three-game series with the Bridgeport Bluefish in dramatic fashion, using a walk-off hit in the ninth inning to take the three-game series 2-1. Fehlandt Lentini, who was 0-4 in the ballgame prior to his final at-bat, came up with the winning hit on a RBI single through the hole into left field, giving the Flock a 3-2 win. The victory was pivotal for Long Island’s positioning in the Liberty Division, as the Bluefish now sit two games back of Somerset for first place, while the Ducks are one game behind the Pats. Southern Maryland now visits Bethpage Ballpark for a four-game set.

John Brownell struggled through the first two innings against Bridgeport’s offense, allowing one run in both the first and second frame. Former Duck C.J. Retherford’s RBI groundout in the first put Bridgeport up 1-0. One inning later, Bryan Sabatella plated a run on a RBI single to right field to give the ‘Fish all of their offense in the contest. After the second inning, Brownell was fantastic. His pitches came down in the zone and were much more effective. Offensively, the Ducks scored their first run off Bridgeport starter Matt Iannazzo when Sean Burroughs dropped a RBI single into left field. Burroughs had yet another great game at the plate and made some important plays at first base as well. In the sixth, Mike Blanke’s RBI single would score Dan Lyons to tie the ballgame at two.

Brownell persevered and maintained his consistency, reaching the ninth inning. After allowing a one-out single to Wilson Batista, Jobduan Morales grounded into a double play to help Brownell work out of the frame. Five of the nine innings Brownell threw were 1-2-3 frames. In the bottom of the ninth, the Ducks quickly got to Bluefish reliever Jimmy Patterson. With one out, Cody Puckett came through with a double down the left field line to put the winning run in scoring position. Kevin Baez then called on Randy Ruiz to pinch hit for Anthony Vega. Ricky VanAsselberg responded by intentionally walking Ruiz to put him on first base and create a double play situation at second and third base. The Ducks then replaced Ruiz at first with pinch runner Carlos Hughes. Elmer Reyes, who hit his first homer as a Duck the night before, was the batter with a chance to win the game. After a seven-pitch battle with Patterson that featured five foul balls, Reyes lofted a bloop single into shallow right field to load the bases. Lentini was next, 0-4 to that point in the contest. But, this time, Lentini pulled the first pitch from Patterson past shortstop Matt Wessinger into left field to score Cody Puckett as the winning run.

Burroughs and Blanke both picked up two hits and one RBI in the victory. Brownell tossed his second complete game of the season for the win, improving to 11-4. Those 11 wins are the most in the Atlantic League. The righty allowed two runs on six hits while walking two and striking out seven. Brownell’s ERA is now 3.23 on the year. Every starter except Nelfi Zapata had at least one hit.

CLICK HERE to listen to highlights from the dramatic series finale
CLICK HERE to watch postgame interviews with Kevin Baez, John Brownell, and Fehlandt Lentini
CLICK HERE to view Thursday’s box score

As the push for first place continues, the Ducks will send Nick Struck to the mound in the series opener with the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs. Struck has made 43 relief appearances for Long Island this year, with his first start coming tonight against the Crabs. In those appearances, the righty is 5-3 with a 2.42 ERA. In 41 innings, the Oregon native has allowed 11 runs on 32 hits while walking 19 and striking out 45. Struck is 1-0 with a 0.00 ERA in five relief appearances against Southern Maryland in 2015. He has not allowed a run on three hits with one walk and four strikeouts in five frames.

The Blue Crabs, who are currently last in the Freedom Division but going to the postseason for their title in the first half, will hand the ball to Tim Sexton. Sexton has primarily been a relief pitcher as well, making two starts in 17 overall appearances this season. Through 26 and two-thirds innings, the righty has surrendered 11 runs (nine earned) on 31 hits. He has walked six and struck out 24. Interestingly, Sexton will make his third start of the year tonight and third start against the Ducks. Sexton faced the Flock in his last start on August 28, picking up the win in a 5-2 Blue Crabs victory. In six frames, the Baltimore native gave up just one run (unearned) on five hits while walking five and striking out seven. He is 1-0 against the Ducks in 2015.

Here are tonight’s game notes:

Ducks vs. Blue Crabs: Tonight marks the 154th all-time meeting between the Ducks and Blue Crabs. Southern Maryland currently leads the series 79-74, but the Ducks have a 43-38 advantage at Bethpage Ballpark. Tonight is also the 17th of 20 scheduled games between the two teams in 2015. The Ducks lead the series 12 to four and have won all eight games at home. They have outscored Southern Maryland 53-37 at Bethpage Ballpark this season.

Home Cooking: The Ducks enter tonight’s game with an Atlantic League-leading 44-19 record at home in 2015. Their .698 winning percentage is 67 percentage points better than any other team (Somerset, .631, 41-24). As a whole, the Ducks have a .304 batting average and a 3.17 ERA at Bethpage Ballpark this season. Comparatively, they are batting .261 with a 3.31 ERA on the road this year.

Cardiac Quacks: Thursday was Long Island’s ninth waddle-off victory of the season and first against the Bluefish. In addition, it was the team’s first walk-off win since August 14 against Southern Maryland. The Ducks have now totaled 35 come-from-behind victories this season.

What Can Brown-ell Do For You?: John Brownell earned his second complete game of the year on Thursday and has now tossed both of the Ducks’ complete games in 2015. His first came on July 15 when he pitched a complete game shutout at Lancaster. The righty led the Atlantic League with five complete games in 2014 and set a team record with seven in 2013. He is currently the league leader in wins (11), innings pitched (156) and strikeouts (126). In addition, his strikeout of C.J. Retherford in the eighth marked the 1,000th of his career.

I Can See Cleary Now: Delta Cleary, Jr. connected for a double on Thursday and has now hit safely in 18 consecutive games. That surpasses Dan Lyons’ 17-game hit streak from August 8-24 as the longest by a Duck this year. During the streak, the outfielder is batting .423 (33-for-78) with four doubles, one triple, six RBI and 14 runs scored. He also stole his team-leading 31st base of the season when he swiped second in the fourth inning.

Multi-Hit Madness: Cody Puckett collected two more hits on Thursday and now leads the team with 28 two-hit games this year. In addition, he has 36 multi-hit contests. Sean Burroughs finished with two hits and has now collected three straight multi-hit games. The former big leaguer now has eight two-hit games and 14 multi-hit contests in 23 games with the Flock.

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. 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:

Ducks

#22 Fehlandt Lentini – RF
#5 Delta Cleary, Jr. – CF
#12 Dan Lyons – SS
#50 Randy Ruiz – DH
#25 Sean Burroughs – 1B
#39 Nelfi Zapata – C
#2 Cody Puckett – 3B
#27 Anthony Vega – LF
#11 Elmer Reyes – 2B

#24 Nick Struck

Blue Crabs

#1 Fred Lewis – DH
#24 Casey Stevenson – 2B
#29 Zach Wilson – 1B
#14 Bryant Nelson – 3B
#6 Jamar Walton – LF
#4 Casey Frawley – SS
#18 Keith Castillo – C
#9 Tyler Wagner – RF
#3 Antone DeJesus – CF

#17 Tim Sexton – RHP

Check back here for updates all game long as the Ducks and Blue Crabs kick off their four-game series from the Duck Pond! You can also follow the Ducks on Twitter (@LIDucks) for updates all year long!

UPDATE (6:39): TOP 1: We are underway from Bethpage Ballpark, game one with the Blue Crabs!

UPDATE (7:05): BOT 2: Randy Ruiz with a solo shot to left! Ducks lead 1-0!

UPDATE (7:52): TOP 6: Patrick Crider ready for another inning of relief! Ducks still lead 1-0!

UPDATE (8:01): TOP 6: A run-scoring wild pitch ties the ballgame 1-1.

UPDATE (8:14): BOT 6: Dan Lyons with a RBI fielder’s choice puts the Ducks ahead 2-1!

UPDATE (8:25): TOP 7: Antone DeJesus hits a two-run homer to right to give the Crabs a 3-2 lead.

UPDATE (8:55): BOT 8: Delta Cleary, Jr.! His RBI single to center ties the ballgame 3-3! Clutch!

UPDATE (9:16): TOP 10: We are going to extras, tied 3-3!

UPDATE (9:28): TOP 10: Infield single for Jamar Walton scores a run and gives the Blue Crabs a 4-3 lead.

UPDATE (9:43): BOT 10: The Ducks fight back and tie the game 4-4! Dan Lyons with another RBI fielder’s choice, beating out the throw at first!

UPDATE (10:40): MID 13: Chris McCoy with two scoreless innings of relief, keeping this a 4-4 contest! Ducks coming up to bat looking to waddle off!

UPDATE (11:24): TOP 16: Grant Zawadzki breaks the tie with a RBI single into center. 5-4 Blue Crabs.

UPDATE (11:33): FINAL: Ducks drop a heartbreaker in 16 innings, 5-4.

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Posted on September 4, 2015, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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