Game 132: Ducks vs. Skeeters
Friday’s series opener with the Sugar Land Skeeters at Bethpage Ballpark was a true back and forth affair, but it was the Ducks pulling out a hard-fought 9-8 victory. Second baseman Elmer Reyes continued to hit well for Long Island, who now sit just one game back of first place in the Liberty Division. The Somerset Patriots lost at home on Friday, closing the gap between the Pats and Flock with just over a week to go in the 2015 regular season.
Through the first five innings of the ballgame, the Ducks scored three runs in every other frame. In the opening inning, Lew Ford got the scoring started with a RBI single to center. It was Ford’s first game back with the Flock since joining Tijuana of the Mexican League back in mid-July. Sean Burroughs also hit a two-run single, giving the Ducks a quick 3-0 lead. Sugar Land got one run back in the second on Patrick Palmeiro’s solo homer off Ducks starter Joe Bircher. The lefty was making his Ducks debut with the start, but struggled against the Skeeters offense. Long Island bounced back with their second three-run frame in the third, seemingly in great position to win the ballgame. Elmer Reyes’ RBI triple to right highlighted the scoring in the inning. However, Bircher began to really struggle in the fourth, as the Skeeters put up six runs to take a 7-6 lead. Bruce Kern, who had his scheduled start rained out in Camden the night before, was called on for long relief. Kern recorded the final out of the inning, but did throw a run-scoring wild pitch. The run was charged to Bircher. Long Island’s final three-run frame came in the fifth. All it took for the Ducks to retake the lead was one swing from Reyes, who launched a three-run homer over the wall in left field, making it a 9-7 ballgame. Sugar Land would get another solo homer in the sixth, this time from Travis Scott. However, Kern and the rest of Long Island’s bullpen looked strong, holding on to the lead and completing the win. Amalio Diaz pitched a scoreless ninth, despite the Skeeters loading the bases.
Kern finished with the win for the Ducks, moving to 9-5 in 2015. He allowed one run on four hits in three innings of relief, walking one and striking out three. Diaz now has 13 saves on the year. The loss went to Skeeters reliever James Parr. Reyes finished a double shy of the cycle in the victory. He went 3-4 with four RBI and two runs scored with a homer and triple. Every Ducks starter had at least one hit in the win, as the team combined for 14 total.
With just two regular season home games remaining for the Flock, Darin Downs will get the start on Saturday night in game two of three. The lefty enters at 4-5 with a 3.80 ERA through 11 starts as a Duck. In 61 and two-thirds innings, the 30-year-old has allowed 27 runs (26 earned) on 55 hits while walking 27 and striking out 50. Opponents are hitting .242 against him. Downs’ last start came on September 7 against the Blue Crabs in Central Islip. The Ducks lost a tough one, 3-2, as the southpaw took the loss. He gave up three runs on eight hits in six innings.
The Skeeters, who are not in the playoff picture, send 6-foot-5 Michael Nix to the hill. Nix has played with Sugar Land in every season since 2012, but has only pitched in two games with the team in 2015. The right-hander was playing with Saltillo in the Mexican League earlier this season, where he went 10-4 with a 4.03 ERA in 22 starts. In two starts with Sugar Land this year, Nix is 2-0 and has pitched quite well. He has allowed one run on nine hits in 12 innings with three walks and 11 strikeouts. Both of his wins came against Somerset in Texas. The Skeeters outscored the Pats 15-1 in Nix’s two outings.
Here are tonight’s game notes:
Ducks vs. Skeeters: Tonight marks the 78th all-time meeting between the Ducks and Skeeters. Sugar Land currently leads the series 40-37, but Long Island holds a 23-14 advantage at Bethpage Ballpark. It also marks the 18th of 19 scheduled games between the two teams this year. The Ducks lead the series 10 to seven and have won six of the seven games played on Long Island in 2015.
Home Cooking: The Ducks currently have an Atlantic League-leading 47-21 record at home in 2015. Their .691 winning percentage is 73 percentage points better than any other team (Somerset, .618, 42-26). As a team, the Ducks have compiled a .304 batting average and a 3.36 ERA at Bethpage Ballpark this year. Comparatively, they’re batting .260 with a 3.29 ERA on the road this season.
Reyes Rakes: Elmer Reyes launched his third home run in just 10 games played with the Ducks with his three-run blast on Friday. The infielder also went deep on September 2 against Bridgeport and September 7 against Southern Maryland. He finished the night with his first three-hit game and first four-RBI contest as a Duck. The former Atlanta Braves prospect now has four multi-hit games and two multi-RBI contests with Long Island. He joined only four other Ducks who have earned four RBI in a game this year (Ford, who did so twice, Blanke, Griffin and Morales).
Back with the Flock: Lew Ford returned to the lineup for the first time since July 5 after spending two months with Tijuana in the Mexican League. The outfielder finished with two hits to collect his 27th two-hit game and 35th multi-hit contest of the year. Dating back to June 7, the former big leaguer has now reached base safely in 29 straight games, the longest on-base streak by a Duck in 2015. During the streak, he’s batting .435 with 13 doubles, three homers, 23 RBI and 24 runs.
I Can See Cleary Now: Delta Cleary, Jr. picked up two singles on Friday and has now reached base safely in 25 consecutive games. It’s the second-longest on-base streak by a Duck this year, trailing only Ford’s. During the streak, the outfielder is batting .404 with five doubles, one triple, 10 RBI and 16 runs.
All They Do Is Hit: Sean Burroughs and Fehlandt Lentini each picked up a single on Friday to extend their hitting streaks to 10 games apiece. During the streaks, Burroughs is batting .436 (17-for-39) while Lentini is hitting .340 (16-for-47). They’ve combined for 17 RBI and 15 runs during the streak as well.
On the Air: Today’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:
#22 Fehlandt Lentini – RF
#5 Delta Cleary, Jr. – CF
#20 Lew Ford – DH
#25 Sean Burroughs – 1B
#12 Dan Lyons – SS
#39 Nelfi Zapata – C
#2 Cody Puckett – 3B
#11 Elmer Reyes – 2B
#27 Anthony Vega – LF
#23 Darin Downs – LHP
#14 Jeff Dominguez – 2B
#16 Travis Scott – 1B
#24 Delwyn Young – DH
#20 Chris Wallace – C
#25 Johan Limonta – LF
#6 Patrick Palmeiro – 3B
#17 Denny Almonte – CF
#5 Kevin Russo – RF
#4 Renny Osuna – SS
#27 Michael Nix – RHP
Keep it here for updates all game long as the Ducks and Skeeters continue their three-game set at Bethpage Ballpark! You can also follow the Ducks on Twitter (@LIDucks) for updates all year long!
UPDATE (6:15): Tonight’s game is currently in a rain delay. We’ll keep you updated on the status of the game here as soon as possible. Stay tuned.
UPDATE (8:41): Tonight’s game has been postponed due to inclement weather. It will be made up as part of a single admission doubleheader Sunday at 1:35 pm. Sunday’s twinbill with be two seven inning games with a break of approximately 30 minutes in between. Tickets for tonight can be exchanged for ones of equal or lesser value to Sunday’s DH, any 2015 home playoff game or a May 2016 Ducks game.
Posted on September 12, 2015, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged 2015, Atlantic League, Baseball, Bethpage Ballpark, Bruce Kern, Elmer Reyes, Lew Ford, Long Island Ducks, Sean Burroughs, Sugar Land Skeeters. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.