Game 109: Ducks at Bees

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GAME TIME/LOCATION: 6:35 p.m. at New Britain Stadium (New Britain, Conn.)

TONIGHT’S MATCHUP: The Long Island Ducks (19-19; 59-49) hope to salvage the finale of their four-game series with the New Britain Bees (17-23; 53-57) on Thursday night. The Ducks and Bees are now even at eight in the season series, but New Britain has claimed five of the first six contests between the teams at New Britain Stadium. Long Island enters the day in third place in the second half Liberty Division standings, two games behind Somerset, while the Bees sit five games in back of first.

YESTERDAY’S RESULT: The Bees claimed their third consecutive game over the Ducks with a 3-1 victory on Wednesday. Despite the loss, there were a pair of big-time performances that were worth noting from the Flock.

First was the job that starting pitcher John Brownell (8-5) did even though he was saddled with the loss. For the second consecutive start, he did not have his best stuff on the mound. That was evident by the season-high 14 hits that he surrendered. Yet, even though the Bees collected at least one hit in every inning, Brownell refused to give in and implode. The right-hander yielded just three runs on the night over eight innings of work to turn in his league-best fifth complete game of the season and 13th quality start in his past 14 outings.

A closer examination of his night shows just how gutsy the performance was. The biggest hit of the night came in the first inning when he allowed a two-run single to Craig Maddox. Upon review, the only reason why he got the hit was because the Ducks had shifted their defense, expecting the lefty hitter to pull the ball. Had Dan Lyons been in his normal position, it likely would have been a run-scoring double play ball. In addition, of the 14 hits New Britain amassed, only one was for extra bases. That was a double by Maddox with two outs in the third. Brownell never allowed the big hit, and despite being “singled to death,” he stranded 11 men on base to give the offense a chance to come back. The fifth-year Ducks gave up just one walk on the night while striking out eight and threw 136 pitches to give the bullpen the evening off. Of those 136, 92 were for strikes (68%).

The other big contributor for Long Island was Mike Blanke. The catcher has had a tough season at the plate, running into a lot of hard-luck outs on well-struck line drives and deep fly balls. However, Anthony Marzi (4-1) and the Bees’ bullpen had no answer for him on Wednesday. Blanke collected hits in all four at bats for his second four-hit game of the year. In addition, he was able to drive in the only run of the night for Long Island with his eighth inning RBI double to left field off former Duck Kevin Vance. The performance raised his batting average up to .264, as he continued to show signs of increased comfortability at the plate. For a guy who has worked as hard as possible day-in and day-out to get better results, the effort certainly paid off on Wednesday.

ON THE MOUND: Chris McCoy will make the start for Long Island in Thursday’s series finale in what will be his first appearance away from Bethpage Ballpark since August 21, 2013 against the Camden Riversharks. The right-hander earned the win in his first appearance of the season with the Ducks this year with two scoreless innings of relief against Somerset on August 9. However, he took the loss in his start on Saturday against Lancaster, yielding six runs on eight hits and a walk in two and one-third innings. The Lake Grove native, who has now pitched in parts of eight seasons with Long Island, will be facing the Bees for the first time on Thursday.

New Britain will counter with Mike Lee, who has struggled this season with the Bees and Barnstormers. The right-hander comes in with a 4-5 record and a 5.56 ERA through 24 appearances (13 starts) in 2016. He has allowed 107 hits in 81 innings while striking out just 47 batters thus far. Lee lasted just two and one-third innings in his most recent start on Saturday against Sugar Land, giving up two runs on six hits and two walks with one strikeout. Prior to that, he had surrendered five or more runs in three consecutive starts. Lee faced the Ducks three times (two starts) while with Lancaster earlier this year and combined to allow seven runs (four earned) on 12 hits and four walks while striking out 11 in 10 and two-thirds innings.

FOLLOW ALONG: Fans can follow all the action from tonight’s game live on the Ducks’ official YouTube channel. Streaming 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.

STARTING LINEUPS:

Ducks
#27 Anthony Vega – LF
#23 Fehlandt Lentini – RF
#5   Delta Cleary Jr. – CF
#2   Cody Puckett – 3B
#15 Ruben Gotay – 2B
#21 Mike Blanke – C
#32 Tyler Colvin – DH
#47 Jon Kourie – 1B
#17 Matt Wessinger – SS

#25 Chris McCoy – RHP

Bees
#3   James Skelton – C
#7   Greg Golson – LF
#35 Jovan Rosa – 3B
#24 Craig Maddox – DH
#9   Cole Garner – RF
#14 Michael Crouse – CF
#2   Jonathan Roof – SS
#33 Jon Griffin – 1B
#5   Jon Dziomba – 2B

#40 Mike Lee – RHP

UPDATE (6:56): BOT 1: Good start for Chris McCoy, as he retires three straight following a leadoff walk!

UPDATE (7:12): BOT 2: A throwing error on a potential inning-ending double play allows Michael Crouse to score. Bees take a 1-0 lead.

UPDATE (8:07): BOT 4: RBI single from Jovan Rosa pushes the lead to 4-0 for the Bees.

UPDATE (9:14): BOT 8: A three-spot for the Bees runs the lead to 7-0. Last chance for the Ducks coming up in the ninth.

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

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