Game 125: Ducks vs. Blue Crabs
In a marathon contest, the Ducks fell short of victory against the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs on Friday night, losing 5-4 in 16 innings. Nick Struck pitched well in a spot start (his first of the season) to open the four-game set, but the Crabs were able to outlast the Flock in a nearly five-hour ballgame. However, the Bridgeport Bluefish also lost on Friday, falling three games behind the Somerset Patriots for first place in the Liberty Division. Long Island is two games back, but would make the postseason if the Pats were able to secure first place in the second half.
Randy Ruiz was able to get the Ducks out to an early 1-0 lead in the second inning when he hit a solo homer to left off Southern Maryland starter Tim Sexton. It was Ruiz’s eighth of the year. On the mound for the Ducks, Struck allowed just one hit through four innings. He walked three and struck out four, continuing his great success against the Blue Crabs in 2015. Prior to Friday night, the righty had made 43 appearances in relief, but not made a start. The Ducks led 1-0 until the fifth when the Crabs tied the ballgame on a run-scoring wild pitch thrown by reliever Patrick Crider. In the home half of the inning, the Ducks regained the lead when Dan Lyons picked up a RBI on a fielder’s choice. A similar play later in the game would prove crucial for the Ducks. In the seventh, Southern Maryland was able to pick up a pair of runs with one swing against reliever Ryan Kussmaul. Antone DeJesus, who had two homers all season before last night, hit a high fly ball to deep right that carried over the wall to give the Crabs a 3-2 advantage. Once again, the Flock responded to tie the game on Delta Cleary, Jr.’s RBI single in the eighth.
The game would go to extras, and the Blue Crabs were in position to win it in the 10th. Jamar Walton’s infield single off J.C. Romero brought home a run to make it 4-3 Southern Maryland. Romero missed the bouncing ball off the left side of the mound by just a few inches, and third baseman Cody Puckett was not able to pick it up and fire to first in time. Yet again, the Ducks were able to rally for a run in the bottom of the frame, when Dan Lyons hit into yet another fielder’s choice, hustling as hard as possible down the line to beat the throw by a half step. Fehlandt Lentini scored his third run to tie the contest at 4-4. The teams then played five scoreless innings. Mariel Checo pitched a 1-2-3 11th before Chris McCoy took over. McCoy made just his second appearance of the season and was activated prior to the start of the series opener. In five innings, the right-hander allowed one run on six hits while walking one and striking out four. However, the one run allowed was the game-winner for the Blue Crabs, coming on Grant Zawadzki’s RBI single in the 16th frame. The Ducks were unable to close the gap, but McCoy’s effort was fantastic despite suffering the loss.
Lentini finished the game with two hits, including a double, three runs scored, and a stolen base. Cleary, Jr. extended his team-high hitting streak on the season with three hits and one RBI. Frank DeJiulio, Jr., Amalio Diaz, and Mariel Checo each threw a scoreless inning of relief for the Flock. Chris Bodishbaugh improved to 1-1 with the win for the Blue Crabs.
Bruce Kern will get the ball for the Ducks in the second game of four with the Crabs. Kern is currently 7-5 with a 3.44 ERA through 36 appearances (10 starts). In those appearances, the righty has thrown 89 innings and allowed 36 runs (34 earned) on 81 hits while walking 23 and striking out 82. Kern has struggled of late, allowing eight runs (seven earned) in 12 innings over his last two starts (0-2). His previous outing came against the Crabs on August 30 at Regency Furniture Stadium when the Ducks lost 4-1. In six innings, the Long Island native allowed three runs on six hits while walking one and striking out three, but suffered the loss.
Southern Maryland counters with a righty of their own in Jon Leicester. Leicester has gone back and forth between the Mexican League and the Atlantic League in 2015. He began the year in Mexico, pitched with the Crabs in late May into June, went back to Mexico and now rejoins Southern Maryland for a second time. The California native was 3-0 with a 1.81 ERA in six starts before leaving for Mexico. Through 34 and two-thirds innings, he allowed eight runs (seven earned) on 31 hits with nine walks and 25 strikeouts. One of those six starts came against the Ducks on June 7, when Leicester tossed six innings and allowed three runs (two earned) on seven hits while walking two and striking out three. He took a no decision as the Ducks won 5-4.
Here are tonight’s game notes:
Ducks vs. Blue Crabs: Tonight marks the 155th all-time meeting between the Ducks and Blue Crabs. Southern Maryland currently leads the series 80-74, but the Ducks have a 43-39 advantage at Bethpage Ballpark. Tonight is also the 18th of 20 scheduled games between the two teams in 2015. The Ducks lead the series 12 to five and have eight of the nine games at home. They have outscored Southern Maryland 57-42 at Bethpage Ballpark this season.
Home Cooking: The Ducks enter tonight’s game with an Atlantic League-leading 44-20 record at home in 2015. Their .688 winning percentage is 57 percentage points better than any other team (Somerset, .631, 41-24). As a whole, the Ducks have a .301 batting average and a 3.16 ERA at Bethpage Ballpark this season. Comparatively, they’re batting .261 with a 3.31 ERA on the road this year.
Deep Into the Night: Friday’s game was the longest game of the season for the Ducks in both innings (16) and time of game (four hours, 55 minutes). The previous high came on May 31 in a 4-3 loss to the York Revolution, which lasted 15 innings and four hours, 35 minutes. Long Island’s shortest extra inning game came on May 28 at Somerset, which lasted 12 innings and two hours, 58 minutes.
I Can See Cleary Now: Delta Cleary, Jr. connected for three hits in Friday’s game and has now hit safely in 19 consecutive games. That is the longest hitting streak by a Duck this season. During the streak, the outfielder is batting .424 (36-for-85) with four doubles, one triple, seven RBI and 14 runs scored. Friday was also his team-leading 10th three-hit game of the season and 30th multi-hit contest.
Run Fehlandt Run: Fehlandt Lentini finished with two hits and three runs scored on Friday night. It was the second time this season that he scored three runs in a single game. The first came on August 12 in an 11-2 win over Camden. Last year, the outfielder scored three runs in a game three times while with the Ducks. Lentini has now collected six two-hit games and 12 multi-hit contests in 33 games with the Ducks in 2015.
You’ve Been Thunder-Struck: Nick Struck threw four scoreless innings as the spot starter on Friday. It was his first start of the season after pitching 43 games out of the bullpen. The right-hander has now made nine straight appearances without allowing a single run. In that span, he has two wins and has given up four hits and nine walks while striking out 13 batters in 12 innings.
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:
#29 Fehlandt Lentini – RF
#5 Delta Cleary, Jr. – CF
#12 Dan Lyons – SS
#50 Randy Ruiz – DH
#25 Sean Burroughs – 1B
#9 Mike Blanke – C
#2 Cody Puckett – 3B
#11 Elmer Reyes – 2B
#17 Anthony Vega – LF
#30 Bruce Kern – RHP
#3 Antone DeJesus – CF
#24 Casey Stevenson – DH
#29 Zach Wilson – 1B
#8 Craig Maddox – C
#14 Bryant Nelson – 2B
#6 Jamar Walton – LF
#4 Casey Frawley – SS
#9 Tyler Wagner – RF
#7 Grant Zawadzki – 3B
#17 Jon Leicester – RHP
Check back here for updates all game long as the Ducks and Blue Crabs continue their four-game series from the Duck Pond! You can also follow the Ducks on Twitter (@LIDucks) for updates all year long!
UPDATE (6:37): TOP 1: Bruce Kern delivers his first pitch and we are underway from the Duck Pond! What a beautiful night for a ballgame!
UPDATE (7:31): TOP 4: Jamar Walton’s sacrifice fly to center makes it 1-0 Crabs.
UPDATE (7:56): BOT 5: Fehlandt Lentini with the two-run double, putting the Flock up 2-1!
UPDATE (8:00): BOT 5: Dan Lyons with a RBI single into center! Ducks lead it 3-1!
UPDATE (8:37): TOP 7: Zach Wilson works a walk with the bases loaded to bring in a run. Ducks still lead, 3-2.
UPDATE (8:56): BOT 7: Sean Burroughs with a two-out RBI single into center to make it 4-2 Ducks!
UPDATE (9:28): FINAL: Ducks take game two of four from the Blue Crabs! 4-2 final!
Posted on September 5, 2015, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged 2015, Atlantic League, Baseball, Bethpage Ballpark, Chris McCoy, Dan Lyons, Long Island Ducks, Nick Struck, Randy Ruiz, Southern Maryland Blue Crabs. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.