Game 139: Ducks at Barnstormers

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John Brownell has been so terrific for the Ducks of late that when he does have an off-start, it almost becomes a sort of blip on the radar. Long Island sure has to hope that’s the case, as the ace of the staff did not have his best stuff on Friday night, falling to the Lancaster Barnstormers 7-5. It was the first time in four starts that he did not throw a complete game and ended up being his second-shortest start of the year at just four and two-thirds innings. Fortunately for the Ducks, it came in a game that did not have much more meaning than trying to inch closer to tying the franchise record in wins for a single season (82).

Brownell uncharacteristically walked two in the opening inning of the game but found his way out of the jam by getting a grounder and a pop out, both back to him. However, he walked the leadoff hitter in the second before surrendering three straight hits and falling behind 3-0. The Ducks clawed their way back into the game with a run in the fourth on Lew Ford’s RBI double and another in the fifth on Ford’s RBI infield single. However, they left two runners on base in both innings, and that would come back to bit them.

In the bottom of the fifth, Long Island’s troubles with two men out resurfaced once again. Brownell had given up a one-out double to Kent Matthes but retired Mike McDade on a pop out to short. With two outs in the frame, Brownell needed only to retire Lance Zawadzki to end the inning. However, the right-hander hit him with the first pitch to keep the inning alive. Then, the floodgates opened. Brian Cavazos-Galvez followed with a two-run double to left, and both Luke Hughes and Anderson Feliz followed with RBI hits to chase Brownell from the game. In the blink of an eye, a one-run game turned into a five-run advantage for the Barnstormers.

The Ducks would try to battle back once again. Cody Puckett brought the Flock within three with a two-run home run onto the lawn seats in left field, his ninth homer of the season. Then in the seventh, Ford connected for a run-scoring groundout to plate Fehlandt Lentini and cut the deficit to 7-5. However, Dan Lyons grounded out as the tying run later that inning, and Long Island could not pull even despite earning two hits in the ninth. Four Ducks relievers gave the offense a chance with three and one-third scoreless innings in relief of Brownell, but Lancaster starter Madison Boer and three of their relievers held serve to secure their second straight win of the series over Long Island.

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

Bobby Blevins will get the start for the Ducks on Saturday, looking to end a three-game skid for his team on this road trip. The right-hander enters with a record of 4-4 and a 3.94 ERA in 14 games (13 starts) this season. He pitched well in the road trip opener on Monday but took a no-decision, tossing six innings of two-run ball. The fourth-year Duck allowed seven hits and two walks while striking out five, but Long Island’s bullpen yielded three runs in relief to lose the game 5-2. Blevins has pitched five consecutive quality starts, compiling a 2-1 record with a 2.15 ERA in that span. His only start of the year against Lancaster came at Clipper Magazine Stadium on July 16, and he was roughed up for seven runs (six earned) on 10 hits in six innings but did strike out seven without walking a single batter.

The Barnstormers will send Chad Beck to the mound to oppose Blevins, looking to guarantee a series victory. The right-hander has struggled in 2015, going 4-3 with a 4.94 ERA in 37 games (seven starts). He last pitched on September 11 and earned the win, giving up just two runs (one earned) on two hits and four walks in five and one-third innings while striking out six. His effort helped defeat Somerset 9-3 on the road. Beck has thrown five scoreless innings of relief against the Flock, having last faced them on July 1 at Bethpage Ballpark. In those five games, he has surrendered just two hits and three walks while striking out eight.

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 as a Wild Card winner, as they hold the best overall record besides Somerset. 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 213th all-time meeting between the Ducks and Barnstormers. The Ducks lead the series 110-102, but the Barnstormers have a 56-53 advantage in Lancaster. Tonight is also the 19th of 20 scheduled meetings between the teams in 2015. Long Island leads the series 10 games to eight but Lancaster has a 7-3 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).

Cody Crushes One: Cody Puckett’s two-run home run in the sixth inning on Friday was his ninth longball of the season and second in Lancaster. His first came on May 18 prior to the game being suspended. It was also Puckett’s second home run of September, with the first coming on September 7 against Southern Maryland. Long Island has now gone deep in back-to-back games after not hitting a home run in the previous two contests.

Welcome to the Hit Parade: Every Ducks starter picked up at least one hit on Friday. Delta Cleary, Jr. led the way by earning his team-leading 11th three-hit game of the season. He now has 35 multi-hit contests. Puckett collected two hits and now leads the team with 31 two-hit games. Overall, he also leads Long Island with 39 multi-hit contests in 2015. Lew Ford finished with two hits and three RBI to earn his 37th multi-hit game and 18th multi-RBI contest.

Oh What a Relief They Are: Four Ducks relievers combined to throw three and one-third scoreless innings out of the bullpen on Friday. Ryan Kussmaul, Patrick Crider, Frank DeJiulio, Jr. and Ricardo Gomez combined to give up just two hits and one walk while striking out two. Kussmaul has now allowed just two runs in his last 12 games, spanning a total of 11 innings (1.64 ERA).

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:

Ducks
#22 Fehlandt Lentini – RF
#5   Delta Cleary, Jr. – LF
#20 Lew Ford – CF
#50 Randy Ruiz – DH
#25 Sean Burroughs – 1B
#12 Dan Lyons – SS
#2   Cody Puckett – 3B
#9   Mike Blanke – C
#11 Elmer Reyes – 2B

#18 Bobby Blevins – RHP

Barnstormers
#7   Lance Zawadzki – SS
#3   Tyler Bortnick – 2B
#22 Kent Matthes – LF
#35 Mike McDade – DH
#11 Luke Hughes – 1B
#8   Zach Collier – CF
#19 Anderson Feliz – 3B
#21 Kevin Rivers – RF
#15 Charlie Cutler – C

#54 Chad Beck – RHP

We’ll have updates throughout the game in Lancaster as the Ducks and Barnstormers play game three of their four-game series. You can also follow the Ducks on Twitter (@LIDucks) for updates all year long!

UPDATE (7:14): TOP 1: Ducks get off to a fast start, as Randy Ruiz launches a three-run homer to center! His second homer of the series makes it 3-0 Flock!

UPDATE (7:35): BOT 1: Bobby Blevins escapes a bases loaded, no-out jam by striking out Zach Collier on a 3-2 pitch! Still 3-0 Ducks

UPDATE (7:49): BOT 2: Kevin Rivers lifts a solo homer up onto the wall in right. His 15th of the year makes it a 3-1 game in favor of the Ducks.

UPDATE (8:17): END 4: Blevins works another 1-2-3 inning in the fourth and has retired 11 of the last 12 Barnstormers batters. Still 3-1 Ducks

UPDATE (8:55): TOP 6: Ducks extend their lead to 5-1 on a run-scoring groundout from Elmer Reyes and a RBI double by Fehlandt Lentini!

UPDATE (9:16): END 7: Nick Struck and J.C. Romero have each thrown scoreless innings out of the bullpen! Ducks remain ahead 5-1 after seven.

UPDATE (10:13): BOT 9: Lancaster has tied the game with four runs off of Amalio Diaz. Winning run at second now with two outs.

UPDATE (10:26): TOP 10: Reyes uncorks a two-run home run to right-center field! The Ducks go back in front 7-5!

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Posted on September 19, 2015, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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