Games 54/55: Ducks vs. Barnstormers

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GAME TIME/LOCATION: 1:05 & 6:35 p.m. at Bethpage Ballpark (Central Islip, NY)

TODAY’S MATCHUP: The Long Island Ducks (31-22), winners of five consecutive games, host the Lancaster Barnstormers (26-26) in a day/night doubleheader. Long Island has earned four wins in seven meetings with Lancaster thus far, with each team taking all of the games played at their home ballpark. The Ducks sit atop the Liberty Division standings by a half-game over the Somerset Patriots, while Lancaster is now four games behind the York Revolution for first place in the Freedom Division.

YESTERDAY’S RESULT: The formula remained the same for the Ducks, with a quality start, late runs and a dominant bullpen performance leading the Flock to a 4-2 win in the series opener.

John Brownell, like Jack Snodgrass and Mark Blackmar the previous two nights, did not have his best stuff on the mound. However, he navigated his way through six innings and limited the damage to just two runs. Despite allowing nine hits and two walks, along with having to throw 125 pitches, the right-hander stranded eight Lancaster runners on base and struck out seven. After yielding a run in the third on Josh Whitaker’s RBI single, Brownell escaped a bases loaded jam in the inning with strikeouts of Sean Halton and Charlie Cutler.

Long Island tied the game on Ruben Gotay’s RBI single in the bottom of the third, but Lancaster immediately jumped back in front on Lance Zawadzki’s leadoff homer in the fourth. Brownell settled down from that point on, but the Ducks’ offense could not generate much against Barnstormers righty Mike Lee. He ran into trouble in the sixth with two on and one out, but struck out Mike Blanke before giving way to Ryan Dennick, who struck out Blake Tekotte to end the threat.

Trailing at the seventh inning stretch 2-1, the Ducks found their offense against the Barnstormers bullpen. Anthony Vega reached on a bunt single and stole second base with one out. Then, after a flyout by Carlos Hughes, Lancaster manager Butch Hobson called upon righty Scott Gracey (2-4) to face righty hitting Fehlandt Lentini. The Ducks outfielder came through with an RBI single to center to tie the game at two. Lentini would then steal second and score on Delta Cleary Jr.’s RBI single through the left side. An insurance run for Long Island rounded out the scoring in the eighth when Matt Wessinger, who get a head start on a 3-2 pitch, scored on Vega’s RBI single to center off Pete Andrelczyk.

The Ducks sealed the win with three scoreless innings from their bullpen. Eury De La Rosa (2-2), Frank DeJiulio Jr., Patrick Crider and Amalio Diaz combined to give up three hits in three scoreless innings while striking out six, including all three in the ninth by Diaz for his first save of the year.

ON THE MOUND: Bobby Blevins takes the mound for the Ducks in game one of the twinbill. He has uncharacteristically struggled this season, going 1-4 with a 6.43 ERA in nine starts. The right-hander has yielded six runs in three of his last four starts, compiling an 11.34 ERA in that span (21 runs in 16 and two-thirds innings). Included in that stretch was a loss at Lancaster on June 2 when gave up six runs on 10 hits in four and one-third innings. Prior to that, Blevins had posted a 3.37 ERA in his first five starts of the year (10 runs in 26 and two-thirds innings). In that span was a start where he threw six shutout innings and allowed just four hits against the Barnstormers at home on May 5 in game one of a doubleheader.

Terry Doyle will oppose Blevins in the day game. The right-hander enters with a record of 2-3 with a 4.35 ERA in seven starts this season. He suffered a hard-luck loss in his most recent outing on June 13, yielding just three runs (one earned) on five hits and four walks while striking out eight in six innings against Somerset. Doyle has allowed just one earned run in each of his past two starts. Prior to that stretch, he picked up a win over Long Island at Lancaster on June 1, pitching six innings of four-run ball and allowing eight hits and two walks while striking out three in an 8-4 victory.

Game two will feature southpaw Darin Downs on the mound for Long Island. The former big leaguer has a 4-3 record on the season with a 4.39 ERA in 10 starts. He has pitched back-to-back quality outings, combining to give up just three runs on 11 hits and two walks in 13 innings of work while striking out 15. Most recently, he earned the win in a 14-4 triumph at Southern Maryland on June 12. Prior to that, he had been roughed up for 15 runs (13 earned) on 19 hits in eight and two-thirds innings over two starts. Included in that was an outing in which Downs allowed seven runs on eight hits and five walks over five innings at Lancaster on June 1. However, he previously pitched six innings of one-hit ball against the Barnstormers at Bethpage Ballpark on May 3, giving up just one unearned run and four walks with seven strikeouts.

Facing Downs will be fellow southpaw Kelvin De La Cruz, who will be making his first start for Lancaster after being acquired in a trade from York. The lefty made 10 appearances (nine starts) with the Revolution and went 3-6 with a 5.21 ERA. De La Cruz has lost five of his past six starts, allowing 29 runs (25 earned) over 31 and one-third innings in that span, good for a 7.18 ERA. The only start he did not lose was a no-decision against Long Island on June 8 at home in which he gave up six runs on eight hits and three walks while striking out two in four and one-third innings. The Dominican Republic native had won three of his first four starts in 2016, compiling a 1.59 ERA in that stretch (three runs in 17 innings).

FOLLOW ALONG: Both games will be broadcast live online via the Ducks’ official YouTube channel. Streaming video and audio will be available for game one by CLICKING HERE and game two by CLICKING HERE. Today’s game will also be broadcast live on the Ducks’ flagship radio station, 103.9-FM LI News Radio. In addition to updates in this post, fans can follow a pitch-by-pitch account of tonight’s game via Pointstreak’s Game Live application by CLICKING HERE.

DUCKS GAME NOTES: For today’s full Ducks game notes, please CLICK HERE.

Ducks
#22 Fehlandt Lentini – DH
#5 Delta Cleary Jr. – CF
#15 Ruben Gotay – 2B
#26 Dan Johnson – 1B
#21 Mike Blanke – C
#6   Blake Tekotte – RF
#17 Matt Wessinger – 3B
#27 Anthony Vega – LF
#11 Carlos Hughes – SS

#18 Bobby Blevins – RHP

Barnstormers
#44 Sean Halton – RF
#12 Kevin Ahrens – SS
#15 Caleb Gindl – CF
#30 Josh Whitaker – LF
#29 Josh Bell – 3B
#37 Charlie Cutler – C
#54 Mike McDade – DH
#7   Lance Zawadzki – 2B
#18 K.C. Hobson – 1B

#36 Terry Doyle – RHP

UPDATE (1:15): We are underway at Bethpage Ballpark! Lineup change for Lancaster. Sean Halton replaces Blake Gailen in top spot, playing RF. Caleb Gindl to CF.

UPDATE (1:54): TOP 3: Barnstormers take a 2-0 lead with consecutive RBI triples by K.C. Hobson & Sean Halton. However, Bobby Blevins leaves the bases loaded.

UPDATE (2:39): TOP 6: The Barnstormers put two on with one out, but Blevins strikes out Cutler and gets McDade to fly out. Still a 2-0 ballgame.

UPDATE (3:14): BOT 7: Mike Blanke ties up the game with a two-run home run to left field! We’re even at two and will have bonus baseball.

UPDATE (4:06): TOP 10: Josh Bell’s two-out solo homer to left-center field has put the Barnstormers back in front 3-2.

UPDATE (4:20): FINAL: Ducks put the tying & winning runs on but cannot come back. Barnstormers win this one 3-2 in 10 innings.

Game Two Lineups:

Ducks
#22 Fehlandt Lentini – RF
#5   Delta Cleary Jr. – CF
#15 Ruben Gotay – 2B
#26 Dan Johnson – 1B
#2   Cody Puckett – 3B
#29 Mike Dowd – C
#21 Mike Blanke – DH
#17 Matt Wessinger – SS
#27 Anthony Vega – LF

#23 Darin Downs – LHP

Barnstormers
#15 Caleb Gindl – CF
#12 Kevin Ahrens – SS
#30 Josh Whitaker – LF
#29 Josh Bell – DH
#44 Sean Halton – RF
#18 K.C. Hobson – 1B
#54 Mike McDade – C
#7   Lance Zawadzki – 3B
#20 Justin Jackson – 2B

#31 Kelvin De La Cruz – LHP

UPDATE (6:46): TOP 1: A two-out RBI single by Josh Bell gives the Barnstormers an early 1-0 lead.

UPDATE (7:09): BOT 2: Ducks tie the game! Following a single and a double, Mike Blanke’s RBI groundout to third evens the score at one!

UPDATE (7:42): END 4: No scoring and no hits for either side in the third and fourth. Onto the fifth, tied at one.

UPDATE (8:07): TOP 6: An RBI single by Bell and a sacrifice fly off the bat of Halton give Lancaster a 3-1 lead.

UPDATE (8:33): TOP 7: A wild pitch on a strikeout scores Mike McDade from third base. Lancaster’s lead is now 4-1.

UPDATE (9:15): FINAL: Barnstormers win 4-1 to sweep the doubleheader. Series finale on Sunday at 1:35 p.m.

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Posted on June 18, 2016, in Game Previews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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