Game 89: Ducks vs. Skeeters
GAME TIME/LOCATION: 6:35 p.m. at Bethpage Ballpark (Central Islip, NY)
TONIGHT’S MATCHUP: The Long Island Ducks (12-6, 52-36) kick off a four-game set with the Sugar Land Skeeters (12-9, 47-44). It’s the 11th meeting between the two teams, with Long Island ahead in the season series seven games to three. The Ducks have won the past five matchups, outscoring the Skeeters 35-11. This four-game series is the final one on Long Island as the final six games of the series will be played in Texas.
YESTERDAY’S RESULT: With 9-2 and 7-4 wins, the Ducks swept a single admission doubleheader against the Bees, and won the series two games to one.
Long Island struck for three runs against New Britain starter Kyle Simon in the third inning of game one. Fehlandt Lentini’s RBI groundout, Delta Cleary Jr.’s run-scoring single, and a wild pitch brought in the runs. In the fifth, Cleary Jr. lined a two-run home run over the right field wall, and Mark Minicozzi drove in two with a double, ballooning the lead to 6-0.
The Bees got on the board in the sixth with John Griffin’s run-scoring single, but Long Island grabbed another trio of runs in the bottom of the inning. Lentini’s two-run double and Dan Lyons’ RBI fielder’s choice made it 9-1. New Britain scrapped one run in the ninth on Michael Crouse’s RBI, but ultimately fell short.
With the victory, Ducks starter John Brownell turned in his tenth quality start in a row, striking out seven in seven innings. He surrendered two runs on nine hits and one walk. Simon allowed six runs on nine hits in four and two-thirds innings, taking the loss. The All-Star walked two and fanned five.
The Ducks started game two with a bang, compiling another three-run inning. Cody Puckett’s sacrifice fly and RBI doubles from Minicozzi and Ruben Gotay gave Long Island a 3-0 lead in the first. Jake McGuiggan’s first professional home run, a three-run shot off Ducks starter Kevin Vance, pulled the Bees within one in the third.
Both teams went back and forth, trading runs in the bottom of the third and top of the fourth. In the sixth, Minicozzi put the game out of reach with a two-run double, his third double of the day, lifting Long Island to a 7-4 win.
Ducks reliever Scott Shuman collected the victory, surrendering one run on one hit with three strikeouts. Bees starter Anthony Marzi allowed four runs on four hits and two walks in the loss. He struck out three in two innings. Todd Coffey tallied his 16th save with a scoreless seventh, striking out two. Vance did not factor in the decision, but struck out four over three innings, yielding three runs on four hits and a walk.
ON THE MOUND: Nick Struck makes his second start in a Ducks uniform, and the first in 2016. Struck makes a spot start in place of Bruce Kern, whose contract was purchased by the Brother Elephants of the Chinese Professional Baseball League today. The Oregon native and second-year Duck has appeared 27 times out of the bullpen, posting a 1-2 record and an ERA of 4.83. Struck’s most recent start came in 2015 when the right-hander tossed four innings against Southern Maryland on Sept. 4. Struck did not get the decision in a 5-4 Ducks loss that amassed 16 innings against the Blue Crabs. He allowed one hit and no runs, striking out four and walking one.
Roy Merritt, a former Somerset Patriots pitcher, meets the Ducks for the first time in a Skeeters uniform this year. The Houston native has been terrific in his past ten starts, posting an ERA of 1.92. His most recent nod, on July 23 versus York resulted in a victory. Merritt struck out seven over six innings, allowing one run on three hits and a walk. The former New York Mets draft selection spent 2012-15 with Somerset before being traded to the Skeeters last season.
FOLLOW ALONG: Tonight’s game will be broadcast on the Ducks’ flagship radio station, 103.9-FM LI News Radio. Streaming video and audio will be available online 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 – 3B
#12 Dan Lyons – SS
#26 Mark Minicozzi – 1B
#29 Mike Dowd – C
#21 Mike Blanke – DH
#17 Matt Wessinger – 2B
#24 Nick Struck – RHP
#7 Josh Prince – 2B
#9 Rene Tosoni – CF
#24 Delwyn Young – 1B
#2 Ricky Hague – 3B
#16 Travis Scott – DH
#29 Jeremy Barfield – RF
#34 Johan Limonta – LF
#4 Beamer Weams – SS
#3 Albert Cordero – C
#33 Roy Merritt – LHP
UPDATE (6:57): TOP 2: Travis Scott’s RBI double to left brings in the game’s opening run. Long Island trails the Skeeters 1-0.
UPDATE (7:05): BOT 2: NO DOWD ABOUT IT! Mike Dowd hits a two-run bomb to dead-center field! Long Island leads Sugar Land 2-1.
UPDATE (7:42): TOP 4: The Skeeters tie the game at two on Johan Limonta’s RBI single. Long Island with Lyons, Minicozzi, and Dowd due up.
UPDATE (8:07): TOP 5: Sugar Land takes a 6-2 lead on the Ducks with a four-run fifth. The inning is highlighted by Delwyn Young’s RBI double.
UPDATE (8:17): BOT 5: Cleary Jr.’s run-scoring single pulls Long Island within three. The Ducks trail the Skeeters 6-3.
UPDATE (8:53): TOP 7: Delwyn Young’s two-run home run puts Sugar Land up 8-3 on Long Island.
UPDATE (9:09): BOT 7: The hit-and-run works perfectly for Long Island. Cleary Jr’s RBI single makes it 8-4, but the Ducks still trail the Skeeters.
UPDATE (9:33): BOT 8: The Ducks cut the deficit to 8-5 on Fehlandt Lentini’s sacrifice fly and RBI. Long Island trails Sugar Land heading to the ninth.
UPDATE (9:56):FINAL: Long Island falls to the Skeeters 8-6 in the opener of a four-game series. The Ducks strand the bases loaded in the ninth.
Posted on July 28, 2016, in Game Previews and tagged 2016, Atlantic League, Bethpage Ballpark, Long Island Ducks, Nick Struck, Roy Merritt, Sugar Land Skeeters. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.