Game 127: Ducks vs. Blue Crabs

Vega

The Ducks have played in some wild ballgames of late, and Sunday afternoon was no different. Long Island combined with the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs for 30 runs in the matinee, as the Flock emerged with a 16-14 victory. Four Ducks hit homers in the win, as the team further distanced themselves from the Bridgeport Bluefish in the Liberty Division. The ‘Fish lost yet again on Sunday, putting them five games behind the first-place Somerset Patriots. The Ducks remained two games behind, as the Pats won in Sugar Land yesterday evening. Long Island will complete their four-game set with the Crabs in a Labor Day matinee this afternoon.

The Blue Crabs were in great position to defeat the Ducks early in Sunday’s contest. Southern Maryland’s offense scored in six of the ballgame’s nine innings, and never scored less than two runs per frame. However, the Ducks were able to score nine runs in the fourth inning alone to keep pace. Going into the fourth, Long Island trailed 6-1, as the Crabs got to Ducks starter Ian Marshall early and often. Anthony Vega’s solo homer in the third accounted for the lone Ducks run. But, 12 Ducks would come to the plate and nine would cross home in the bottom of the fourth, which saw two long homers hit off Brian Grening and Trey Barham of Southern Maryland. Nelfi Zapata launched his first Ducks homer to deep left, a three-run shot off Grening, who started the game for the Blue Crabs. Randy Ruiz brought in the final two runs of the inning, smacking a two-run shot to deep left-center off Barham. Ruiz had led the inning off with a single. Now leading 10-6, Long Island had Marshall start the fifth before being pulled with two runners on and no outs for reliever Mariel Checo. With one swing, Jamar Walton tied the game at 10 with a grand slam to right field. Yet again, the Ducks responded by taking a 14-10 lead with four more runs in the bottom of the inning. A two-run single from Delta Cleary, Jr. highlighted the frame. Once again, the Crabs chipped away at the deficit with two runs in the sixth and two more in the seventh to tie the ballgame at 14-14. That was when Lentini put the game out of reach for good with a solo homer to left in the home half of the seventh. It was the fourth homer of the game for the Flock, who added another run in the eighth on Cody Puckett’s RBI double. Ryan Kussmaul then came on for the ninth-inning save opportunity. Long Island’s bullpen was heavily worked and thin, but Kussmaul fought his way through back-to-back singles to lead off the game, earning the save and completing the Long Island win.

The Ducks have now hit 81 homers as a team this season. Ruiz hit his ninth of the season on Sunday. The win went to Frank DeJiulio, Jr., who allowed two runs on three hits in one and one-third innings of relief, improving to 3-1. Orlando Santos allowed the solo shot to Lentini, which proved to be the game-winning run. Every Ducks starter had at least one hit and one run scored in the win. Seven of the nine starters also drove in at least one run. Zapata, Ruiz, and Cleary, Jr. each had three RBI.

CLICK HERE to listen to highlights from the slugfest
CLICK HERE to watch postgame interviews with Kevin Baez, Randy Ruiz, and Anthony Vega
CLICK HERE to view Sunday’s box score

Now leading the set 2-1, the Ducks will send Darin Downs to the hill in search of a series victory on Monday afternoon. Downs has pitched well of late, entering at 4-4 with a 3.72 ERA through 10 starts in 2015. The southpaw has allowed 24 runs (23 earned) on 47 hits in 55 and two-thirds innings. He has walked 25 and struck out 46. In his last six starts, the former big leaguer is 4-1, with one of those wins coming against the Blue Crabs Southern Maryland on August 27. In the stretch of six outings, the 30-year-old has pitched at least six innings per start and has not allowed more than four runs or seven starts. On September 2, the Ducks defeated the Bluefish 12-0, as Downs picked up the win by firing six shutout innings on just three hits.

The Blue Crabs look for a series split with Daryl Thompson getting the start. The righty is currently 5-6 with a 3.76 ERA through 14 starts (two complete games). In 88 and two-thirds innings, Thompson has given up 43 runs (37 earned) on 98 hits while walking 24 and striking out 52. The former Montreal Expos draft pick has lost his last two starts, against the Ducks and Barnstormers, respectively. Thompson threw six innings in each start, losing to the Ducks on August 27 in a 6-3 Long Island win.

Here are today’s game notes:

Ducks vs. Blue Crabs: Today marks the 157th all-time meeting between the Ducks and Blue Crabs. Southern Maryland currently leads the series 80-76, but the Ducks have a 45-39 advantage at Bethpage Ballpark. Today is also the final of 20 scheduled games between the two teams in 2015. The Ducks lead the series 14 to five and have won 10 of the 11 games played at home. They have outscored Southern Maryland 77-58 at Bethpage Ballpark this season.

Home Cooking: The Ducks enter tonight’s game with an Atlantic League-leading 46-20 record at home in 2015. Their .697 winning percentage is 66 percentage points better than any other team (Somerset, .631, 41-24). As a whole, the Ducks have a .304 batting average and a 3.29 ERA at Bethpage Ballpark this season. Comparatively, they’re batting .261 with a 3.31 ERA on the road this year.

Offensive Showcase: The Ducks set new season-highs in runs and hits for a single game by scoring 16 runs and collecting 19 hits on Sunday. Their previous high in runs was 14, done on August 21 in a 14-5 victory over Camden at home. Their previous high in hits was 18, done on June 20 against Bridgeport at home and on May 18 in a 6-5 loss at Lancaster. Long Island also tied a season-high for runs in a single inning with nine in the fourth. They have previously accomplished the feat three times, two of which also occurred in the fourth inning.

Homer Party: Four different Ducks players hit home runs on Sunday, the most in a single game by the Ducks this year. Anthony Vega’s solo homer in the third was his fourth of the year and third with the Ducks. Nelfi Zapata’s three-run blast in the fourth was his first as a Duck. Randy Ruiz’s two-run dinger in the fourth was his ninth of the year and second in three games. Fehlandt Lentini’s game-winning solo shot in the seventh was his third of the season and second of the homestand.

I Can See Cleary Now: Delta Cleary, Jr. connected for two more hits on Sunday and has now hit safely in 21 straight games. That’s the longest hitting streak by a Duck this season and one shy of the longest in the Atlantic league. That was accomplished by Camden’s Carlos Guzman (7/24 – 8/18). During the streak, he is batting .426 (40-for-94) with five doubles, one triple, 10 RBI and 16 runs scored.

Back with the Flock: Ricardo Gomez made his Ducks debut for 2015 with a perfect inning in the eighth on Sunday. The right-hander struck out two batters while inducing a groundout as well. His first stint with the Ducks came in 2010 when he compiled a 3-3 record with a 3.15 ERA and nine saves in 43 games.

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 today’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
#9 Mike Blanke – C
#2 Cody Puckett – 3B
#11 Elmer Reyes – 2B
#27 Anthony Vega – LF

#23 Darin Downs – LHP

Blue Crabs

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

#20 Daryl Thompson – RHP

Keep it here for updates all game long as the Ducks and Blue Crabs conclude their four-game series from Bethpage Ballpark! You can also follow the Ducks on Twitter (@LIDucks) for updates all year long!

UPDATE (1:44): MID 1: Darin Downs with a scoreless first frame! Ducks coming up to bat!

UPDATE (2:02): MID 2: Southern Maryland takes a 2-0 lead on a RBI triple from Casey Frawley and sacrifice fly from Antone DeJesus.

UPDATE (3:00): BOT 5: Cody Puckett with a solo homer! Ducks cut the Blue Crabs lead to 2-1.

UPDATE (3:41): TOP 7: Ducks trail the Crabs 3-1, Nick Struck in to relieve Darin Downs.

UPDATE (3:51): BOT 7: Elmer Reyes with a solo shot to left! Ducks fighting back! 3-2 Crabs.

UPDATE (4:34): FINAL: Long Island and Southern Maryland split a four-game set, Crabs take the finale with a 3-2 win.

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Posted on September 7, 2015, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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