LDCS Game 2: Ducks vs. Patriots
The Ducks and Patriots have a knack for playing tight ballgames. Wednesday night’s contest was no different, as the two teams played Game One of the Liberty Division Championship Series at Bethpage Ballpark. Unfortunately for the Flock, the Pats came out on top in a 5-3 final. Long Island lacked timely hitting, as they combined to leave 15 runners on base in the difficult two-run defeat. Somerset now leads the best-of-five series one game to none.
Ducks starter John Brownell struggled against the Patriots during the regular season, going 0-1 with a 7.31 ERA in three starts. That trend continued in Wednesday’s postseason opener, as the Pats posted their first run in the opening frame. Michael Burgess, who had a dominant night at the plate, hit a RBI triple into the right field corner to give Somerset a quick 1-0 lead. The Ducks did post one run in the second and third inning, giving Brownell a lead. A run-scoring throwing error by Patriots second baseman Greg Hopkins plated Dan Lyons in the second to tie the ballgame. One inning later, Sean Burroughs’ RBI single to left off Roy Merritt gave Long Island their first lead. However, the road team was quick to respond. Matt Fields’ solo homer in the fourth tied the ballgame, 2-2. The low liner narrowly made its way over the wall in left field. In the fifth, Somerset went in front for good with a three-spot. Thomas Neal’s RBI single to left plated the first run of the frame. One batter later, Burgess hit a towering two-run homer to right, giving the Pats a 5-2 advantage. He would finish a double shy of the cycle in the contest. By that point, the Ducks’ scoring had dried up. The team scratched out one run in the seventh on a run-scoring wild pitch thrown by Patriots reliever Buddy Boshers. Trailing 5-3, the Flock left the bases loaded twice over the final three innings, stranding eight total runners after their final run crossed. Closer Jon Hunton got Elmer Reyes to fly out to right field with the bases loaded in the ninth to end the game.
Brownell suffered the loss and was responsible for all of Somerset’s runs. He allowed five through six innings while walking and striking out two. Nick Struck, Patrick Crider, Mariel Checo, Ricardo Gomez, and J.C. Romero combined to hold the Patriots scoreless over the final three innings. They allowed just two hits. Fehlandt Lentini and Burroughs each had three hits in the series opener. The Ducks outhit Somerset 10-9 in the loss, but leaving 15 runners on base proved to be costly. Long Island went 1-15 with runners in scoring position, 0-4 with the bases loaded, and 1-10 with six walks with two outs. Comparatively, Somerset went 2-7 with runners in scoring position and 4-12 with a double, triple, homer, four RBI, and three walks with two outs. They did not load the bases.
Game Two of the LDCS will be played in Central Islip before as many games as necessary will be played in Bridgewater at TD Bank Ballpark through Sunday. Darin Downs looks to help Long Island bounce back on Thursday night. The southpaw ended the regular season 4-5 with a 3.86 ERA in 12 starts. He surrendered 30 runs (29 earned) on 61 hits through 67 and two-thirds innings, walking 30 and striking out 55. Three of Downs’ starts came against the Patriots. In those three outings, the former big leaguer went 0-2 with a 6.19 ERA, giving up 12 runs (11 earned) on 17 hits in 16 frames. He also walked 12 and struck out 11, with an opponent average of .288. Both of his losses against Somerset came at Bethpage Ballpark in July.
The Patriots send Mickey Storey to the hill in hopes of taking a two-game lead in the series. Overall, the former big leaguer went 12-3 with a 2.88 ERA in 18 starts, finishing tied with John Brownell for the league lead in wins. Through 106 and two-thirds innings, the hurler allowed 32 runs (30 earned) on 84 hits while walking 19 and striking out 85. Storey finished the regular season pitching incredibly well. In his final nine starts, the righty went 8-1 and did not pitch less than five innings in any outing. He won every start from August 1-September 18, with his last loss coming on July 26. However, the Ducks did hand Storey his first loss of the season back on July 11 in Somerset. In a 4-3 win, Long Island got to the starter for four runs on six hits in six innings. In his last three starts, Storey has surrendered just one run on nine hits in 18 innings, striking out 16 batters in that time.
Here are tonight’s game notes:
Historic Season: The Ducks finished the 2015 regular season with 80 wins. That total marks the second-most ever in franchise history. The only higher win total was 82, accomplished during the team’s first season in 2000 when the Ducks went 82-58. In addition, Long Island set a franchise record with their 42 wins in the first half of the season. That total accounted for the most wins ever by a Ducks team in either half of the season.
Home Cooking: The Ducks finished their home schedule this season with an Atlantic League-best 48-22 record. Their .686 home winning percentage was 43 percentage points better than any other team (Lancaster, .643, 45-25). The 48 home victories were 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).
Game Two Notes: The Ducks have won each of their past four Game Two matchups. Long Island took Game Two of both playoff series in 2013, including the Atlantic League Championship Series against Somerset at Bethpage Ballpark, and both Game Two matchups during the 2012 playoffs. All-time, the Ducks have a 6-7 record in Game Two of a postseason series, including a 4-4 record at home.
Sugar, We’re Going Downs: Game Two starter Darin Downs enters the playoffs having thrown five consecutive quality starts to finish the regular season. In those five outings, the southpaw compiled a 2-2 record with a 3.19 ERA, allowing 11 earned runs in 31 innings of work. He gave up 30 hits and nine walks in that span while striking out 28 batters. Dating back to August 6, Downs has made seven quality starts in his last eight outings, compiling a 3.24 ERA in that stretch.
Three’s Company: Fehlandt Lentini and Sean Burroughs both had three hits to lead the Ducks in Game One. During the regular season, Burroughs collected seven three-hit contests while Lentini had six. Burroughs ended the year with 15 multi-hit games, while Lentini compiled 17 in his second season with the Flock.
Oh, What a Relief They Are: Five Ducks relievers combined to throw three scoreless innings to close out the game. Nick Struck, Patrick Crider, Mariel Checo, Ricardo Gomez and J.C. Romero combined to give up just two hits and one walk in that span while striking out five batters. Struck ended the regular season with 14 scoreless appearances in his last 15 outings, while Romero tossed seven straight scoreless outings and did not give up a run in 11 of his last 12 games.
On the Air: Tonight’s game will be broadcast on the Ducks’ official YouTube channel. Live streaming video and 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
#25 Sean Burroughs – 1B
#12 Dan Lyons – SS
#2 Cody Puckett – 3B
#9 Mike Blanke – C
#11 Elmer Reyes – 2B
#23 Darin Downs – LHP
#13 Robert Andino – SS
#91 Aharon Eggleston – LF
#24 Thomas Neal – DH
#39 Michael Burgess – RF
#16 Matt Fields – 1B
#8 David Vidal – C
#20 Greg Hopkins – 3B
#3 Nate Spears – 2B
#6 Jonny Tucker – CF
#7 Mickey Storey – RHP
Check back here for updates all evening long as the Ducks and Patriots continue the 2015 LDCS from Bethpage Ballpark! You can also follow the Ducks on Twitter (@LIDucks) for updates all year long!
UPDATE (6:40): TOP 1: Darin Downs fires his first pitch and Game Two of the LDCS is underway from the Duck Pond!
UPDATE (7:07): BOT 2: The Ducks take a 1-0 lead on Cody Puckett’s sacrifice fly to center!
UPDATE (7:41): BOT 4: Dan Lyons with LI’s second sacrifice fly of the ballgame and Cody Puckett with a RBI single to left! 3-0 Flock!
UPDATE (8:40): TOP 8: Darin Downs is done for the night. Final line: 7.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 2 BB, 7 K. Not bad. Ducks still lead 3-0!
UPDATE (8:44): TOP 8: Robert Andino’s RBI single to right makes it a 3-1 ballgame.
UPDATE (8:56): TOP 8: Patriots take a 4-3 lead after a Sean Burroughs error and a two-run double from Matt Fields with the bases loaded.
UPDATE (9:09): BOT 8: Ducks tie the game! A wild pitch thrown by Daniel Sattler allows Lentini to score from third! 4-4!
UPDATE (9:16): BOT 8: Ducks retake the lead, 5-4!!! Sean Burroughs with a RBI single that bounces into right field!
UPDATE (9:23): FINAL: Ducks win!!! 5-4 is the final, as J.C. Romero completes the win in the ninth! Series now tied 1-1 going to Somerset.
Posted on September 24, 2015, in Game Previews, Game Recaps and tagged 2015, Atlantic League, Baseball, Bethpage Ballpark, Darin Downs, John Brownell, Long Island Ducks, Michael Burgess, Sean Burroughs, Somerset Patriots. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.