Game 69: Ducks vs. Skeeters
GAME TIME/LOCATION: 6:35 p.m. at Bethpage Ballpark (Central Islip, NY)
TONIGHT’S MATCHUP: With the magic number at one, the Long Island Ducks (38-30) battle the Sugar Land Skeeters (35-33) in the middle game of a three-game series. To claim the First Half Liberty Division title, the Ducks need to win one of their final two games. If the Somerset Patriots, trailing by two games in the division, lose either of their two final games against the Bridgeport Bluefish, the Ducks can also clinch. Long Island holds a 5-3 record against Sugar Land this season.
YESTERDAY’S RESULT: Trailing 4-0 through six innings, the Ducks rallied with eight runs in the seventh to defeat the Sugar Land Skeeters 8-4.
The Skeeters scored two runs in the first off of Ducks starter Mark Blackmar. With two outs, Ricky Hague drove in a pair of base runners to give Sugar Land a 2-0 lead. The score stayed that way until Wilfredo Rodriguez’s two-run home run in the seventh, giving the Skeeters a 4-0 lead.
In the bottom of the seventh, Long Island plated eight runs on just three hits. Matt Wessinger and Anthony Vega worked back-to-back walks with the bases loaded, bringing in two runs. Fehlandt Lentini and Cody Puckett added RBI fielder’s choices, Delta Cleary Jr. collected an RBI single, and Ruben Gotay cleared the bases with a two-run triple.
Reliever Eury De La Rosa tossed a scoreless eighth with two strikeouts, while Amalio Diaz shut down the Skeeters in the ninth with two strikeouts to secure the victory.
Blackmar improved to 6-2 with seven innings of seven-hit ball, surrendering four runs and striking out four. Sugar Land reliever Andrew Johnston was tagged with the loss, allowing four runs (two earned) on two hits in one inning. Skeeters’ starter Sean Gallagher did not get a decision but struck out nine over six scoreless innings, yielding five hits and two walks.
ON THE MOUND: John Brownell needs one win to surpass Randy Leek, the Ducks all-time wins leader. Brownell tied the mark, winning his 40th game, against Sugar Land on June 5. Since that win early last month, Brownell has pitched well, but has fallen victim to two 2-1 losses. In his past four starts, Brownell is 0-2, but has an ERA of 2.89, striking out 32 in 28 innings. The Nebraska resident beat Sugar Land on May 19 on the road, tossing six innings of eight-hit ball with six strikeouts and one walk. Brownell allowed just two earned runs in a 9-2 Long Island victory.
Left-hander Aaron Thompson faces the Ducks for the third time. Over his two previous meetings with the Flock, Thompson is 0-1, allowing six runs on 12 hits over nine innings with two strikeouts. In his previous outing, against Southern Maryland on June 27, Thompson turned in his best performance of the year. The former Minnesota Twins relief pitcher struck out seven over seven scoreless innings, scattering just five hits. Thompson has collected two wins in his past three outings, but has yet to beat the Ducks.
FOLLOW ALONG: Streaming video and audio will be available online via the Ducks’ official YouTube channel by CLICKING HERE. 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 tonight’s full Ducks game notes, please CLICK HERE.
#27 Anthony Vega – LF
#22 Fehlandt Lentini – RF
#5 Delta Cleary Jr. – CF
#2 Cody Puckett – DH
#12 Dan Lyons – SS
#15 Ruben Gotay – 2B
#29 Mike Dowd – C
#21 Mike Blanke – 1B
#17 Matt Wessinger – 3B
#7 John Brownell – RHP
#7 Josh Prince – 2B
#9 Rene Tosoni – CF
#29 Jeremy Barfield – LF
#24 Delwyn Young – 1B
#2 Ricky Hague – 3B
#16 Travis Scott – DH
#10 Kent Matthes – RF
#3 Albert Cordero – C
#4 Beamer Weems – SS
#18 Aaron Thompson – LHP
UPDATE (7:04): END 2: The Ducks and Skeeters remain scoreless. John Brownell has three strikeouts; Cody Puckett with LI’s lone hit.
UPDATE (7:29): TOP 4: The Skeeters take a 1-0 lead over the Ducks on Ricky Hague’s RBI double. Lentini, Cleary Jr., and Cody Puckett due up for LI.
UPDATE (7:36): BOT 4: Dan Lyons hits a TWO-RUN HOME RUN over the left field wall. The Ducks take a 2-1 lead over the Skeeters.
UPDATE (7:48): TOP 5: John Brownell strikes out Jeremy Barfield, stranding runners at second and third, to keep LI in front of Sugar Land, 2-1.
UPDATE (8:22): END 7: The Ducks grab a run via a Skeeters error. Long Island takes a 3-1 lead into the 8th inning.
UPDATE (8:53): BOT 8: The Ducks snag 3 runs to take a 6-1 lead over the Skeeters. Brownell back out for the ninth.
UPDATE (9:02): FINAL: The Ducks CLINCH the First Half Liberty Division title with a 6-1 win over the Skeeters!
UPDATE (9:05): John Brownell earns his 41st win as a Duck! He is now the winningest pitcher in franchise history, surpassing Randy Leek! Congrats to #7!