Game 138: Ducks at Barnstormers

When Darin Downs first came to the Ducks, he struggled with his command a bit. It took him five starts to pick up his first victory, and he was allowing a few too many batters to reach on walks. However, he appears to have turned things around since the start of August, tossing seven quality starts in his last eight outings, including five in a row, after pitching six innings of three-run ball on Monday. Unfortunately, the Ducks’ offense was held mostly quiet by newcomer Edwin Carl and the Barnstormers’ bullpen, as Lancaster took the series opener 4-3.

Downs struck out five batters in his six innings of work on Thursday, but like others in the Ducks’ rotation, he ran into some trouble with two men out. In the second inning, he allowed two walks and a single to the bottom of the order with two outs in the frame, but he got Yusuke Kajimoto on a groundout to keep the Ducks ahead 1-0. In the third though, he allowed back-to-back hits to open the inning, the second of which was a RBI double by Zach Collier that tied the game. The southpaw bounced back to retire the next two batters, but he would allow back-to-back RBI singles by Lance Zawadzki and Anderson Feliz to put Lancaster in front. Following a walk to Kevin Rivers, he retired Charlie Cutler to end the inning. However, the damage had been done.

Over his final three innings on the mound, Downs gave up just a double and a hit by pitch and gave the Flock a chance to come back. They would in the sixth against Carl, as Dan Lyons fell behind 0-2 in the count but found a way to draw a walk. Randy Ruiz followed and smacked the first pitch over the wall in center field just to the left of the batter’s eye for a two-run homer. His 10th longball of the season tied the game at three. However, the lead would be short-lived, as Nick Struck came in to pitch the seventh inning and allowed a one-out solo homer to right off the bat of Kent Matthes. The longball came on an 0-2 pitch and was the first run that Struck had allowed in 13 appearances. Lyons reached second with one out in the eighth, but Ruiz struck out and Sean Burroughs grounded out to end the inning. Scott Patterson then retired the Ducks in order in the ninth to end the ballgame.

CLICK HERE to listen to audio highlights from Thursday’s game
CLICK HERE to view Thursday’s box score

Looking to end a two-game skid, the Ducks will send their ace to the mound on Friday. John Brownell will make his final start of the season, looking to secure his case for Atlantic League Pitcher of the Year. The right-hander leads the league in wins (12), strikeouts (142), innings pitched (171.0) and complete games (4) while ranking fifth in ERA (3.11). Brownell enters tonight’s game having thrown three straight complete games, going 2-1 with a 1.86 ERA and allowing five runs in 24 innings of work. In that span, he has yielded just 16 hits and five walks while striking out 23 batters. He earned the win in game one of a doubleheader last Sunday against Sugar Land, allowing just four hits and a walk while striking out eight in seven innings. Against the Barnstormers this season, Brownell is 1-0 with a 1.59 ERA in three starts and threw a complete game shutout at Clipper Magazine Stadium on July 15.

Lancaster will counter with Madison Boer, who will be facing the Ducks for the first time. He joined the Barnstormers at the beginning of August and has compiled a 3-3 record with a 4.03 ERA in eight starts. The right-hander’s last outing came on September 12 at Somerset, and he took the loss, yielding four runs (three earned) on seven hits and three walks while striking out two in six and one-third innings. Boer allowed five runs in four innings on August 22, but in four starts since, he has allowed three earned runs or less in each, compiling a 2.96 ERA in that span.

Here are tonight’s game notes:

Postseason Bound: With the Somerset Patriots defeating the Bridgeport Bluefish on Tuesday, the Ducks have clinched a berth in the 2015 Atlantic League playoffs. They will enter the playoffs either as a Wild Card winner or the Second Half Liberty Division champions. It marks the 10th time in the last 12 seasons that the Ducks have earned a playoff berth (2010, 2014). Long Island’s last two postseason trips have resulted in Atlantic League championships (2012, 2013).

Ducks vs. Barnstormers: Tonight marks the 212th all-time meeting between the Ducks and Barnstormers. The Ducks lead the series 110-101, but the Barnstormers have a 55-53 advantage in Lancaster. Tonight is also the 18th of 20 scheduled meetings between the teams in 2015. Long Island leads the series 10 games to seven but Lancaster has a 6-3 edge at Clipper Magazine Stadium.

Home Cooking: The Ducks finished their home schedule this season with an Atlantic League-best 48-22 record. Their .686 home winning percentage is 57 percentage points better than any other team (Somerset, .629, 44-26). The 48 home victories are the third-most in franchise history for a single season. The only two greater totals were in 2000 (49-27) and in 2011 (51-20).

Randy’s Dandy: Randy Ruiz launched his 10th home run of the season with a two-run blast on Thursday. It marked his first homer since September 6, ending a seven-game homerless drought. It was also his first home run at Lancaster this year. Ruiz has now hit safely in 13 of his last 15 games, batting .386 (22-for-57) with three doubles, three homers, 11 RBI and eight runs in that span.

Dan’s the Man: Dan Lyons led the Ducks on Thursday night with three hits at the plate, and he reached base safely in all four of his plate appearances. For the shortstop, it was his ninth three-hit game of the season, which is second on the team behind Delta Cleary, Jr. (10). Overall, he has 31 multi-hit contests. In addition, he collected his team-leading 45th walk of the year.

Sugar, We’re Going Downs: Ducks starting pitcher Darin Downs tossed his fifth consecutive quality start on Thursday and seventh in his last eight outings. In those eight starts, he is 4-2 with a 3.24 ERA, allowing just 18 earned runs in 50 innings of work. In that span, he has given up 44 hits and 22 walks while striking out 40 batters. The former Major Leaguer has surrendered three earned runs or less in nine of his 12 starts with the Ducks.

On the Air: Tonight’s game will be broadcast on the Ducks’ flagship radio station, 103.9-FM LI News Radio. Live streaming audio will 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. – LF
#20 Lew Ford – CF
#50 Randy Ruiz – DH
#12 Dan Lyons – SS
#9   Mike Blanke – C
#11  Elmer Reyes – 2B
#2   Cody Puckett – 3B
#40 Steve McQuail – 1B

#7   John Brownell – RHP

#8   Zach Collier – CF
#3   Tyler Bortnick – 2B
#22 Kent Matthes – LF
#35 Mike McDade – 1B
#7   Lance Zawadzki – SS
#31 Brian Cavazos-Galvez – RF
#11 Luke Hughes – DH
#19 Anderson Feliz – 3B
#27 Juan Apodaca – C

#41 Madison Boer – RHP

We’ll have updates all game long from Clipper Magazine Stadium as the Ducks and Barnstormers play game two of their four-game series. You can also follow the Ducks on Twitter (@LIDucks) for updates all year long!

UPDATE (7:23): END 1: No score after one at Clipper Magazine Stadium, as John Brownell works out of a first-and-second, one-out jam!

UPDATE (7:43): BOT 2: Barnstormers take a 3-0 lead on a RBI single by Anderson Feliz and a two-run double by Juan Apodaca.

UPDATE (8:11): TOP 4: Lew Ford with a RBI double to put the Ducks on the scoreboard! 3-1 Lancaster in the fourth.

UPDATE (8:30): TOP 5: Three straight two-out hits, including a RBI infield single by Ford, bring the Ducks to within a run at 3-2!

UPDATE (8:45): BOT 5: Barnstormers have scored four runs with two outs in the fifth to extend their lead to 7-2 and knock Brownell out of the game.

UPDATE (9:02): TOP 6: Cody Puckett puts the Ducks back in the game with a two-out, two-run homer to left! His ninth of the year makes it 7-4 Lancaster.

UPDATE (9:18): BOT 6: OUTSTANDING job by Patrick Crider to get out of a bases loaded, no-out jam without allowing a run! Still a 7-4 game after six.

UPDATE (9:30): TOP 7: Ford picks up his third RBI of the night with a groundout to third! Ducks close to within two at 7-5.

UPDATE (10:07): FINAL: Ducks pound out 15 hits in the game, including two in the ninth, but fall to the Barnstormers 7-5.


Posted on September 18, 2015, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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