Game 111: Ducks at Skeeters

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GAME TIME/LOCATION: 6:05 p.m. CDT at Constellation Field (Sugar Land, Texas)

TONIGHT’S MATCHUP: The Long Island Ducks (19-21; 59-51) take on the Sugar Land Skeeters (27-15; 62-50) in the middle game of a three-game series. The Ducks hold a slim 8-7 advantage in the season series, but the Skeeters have earned wins in three of the first five games played in Texas this year. Long Island enters the day three games behind the Somerset Patriots, who have re-taken first place in the Liberty Division standings for the second half. Sugar Land has now won six consecutive games and sits atop the Freedom Division with a three and a half game lead over the York Revolution

YESTERDAY’S RESULT: Despite a long day of travel, the Ducks jumped out to a big early lead against the Skeeters. However, Sugar Land’s offense stormed back to claim a 9-5 victory in the series opener.

For the first two innings, the Ducks controlled the ballgame. Facing lefty Roy Merritt, Long Island took a 3-0 lead in the first inning and collected three hits in the frame. Following an infield single and an error to open the game, Delta Cleary Jr. grounded an RBI single through the right side. He would go on to steal second base, and two batters later, Ruben Gotay drove in a pair with a bloop single to left-center field. Long Island continued their offense with two more runs in the second inning. Fehlandt Lentini drove in Chris Scura with an RBI single to right, and he would eventually score when Cleary Jr. got caught in a rundown between first and second trying to steal.

With a 5-0 advantage, the Ducks were sitting pretty, especially after Daniel Herrera tossed back-to-back scoreless innings to open the game. However, after that second inning, Herrera began to struggle. Wilfredo Rodriguez led off the third inning with a solo homer that just cleared the wall in left-center. Then with two outs, Ricky Hague plated a run with an RBI single. Four more runs came across in the fourth to knock Herrera from the game. Josh Prince’s RBI single and Rene Tosoni’s two-out, three-run double put the Skeeters in front 6-5. The dagger came in the fifth when Eriberto Garcia allowed two singles followed by an opposite field three-run homer from Lance Zawadzki. All told, the Skeeters scored nine straight runs on nine hits to turn the five-run deficit into a four-run lead.

Meanwhile, the Ducks offense was stymied after the first two innings. Merritt would go on to fire four scoreless innings, yielding only a pair of walks and a bloop single to Mike Blanke. He would also earn six of his seven strikeouts in those four innings. A trio of relievers would follow to retire all nine Ducks batters they faced. Andrew Johnston, Zech Zinicola and Velasquez combined for four strikeouts in three perfect innings. Although James Lomangino, Patrick Crider and Kyle Hansen each tossed scoreless outings, it wasn’t enough to give the Ducks a win.

ON THE MOUND: Nick Struck will get the start for the Ducks in game two of the series. The right-hander enters the day with a 1-3 record and a 4.38 ERA through 33 games (three starts). He has allowed three runs in each of his past two starts but has not picked up the win in either. Most recently, he yielded seven hits, two earned runs and two walks to the Barnstormers last Sunday while striking out seven in five and two-thirds innings. However, Long Island’s offense was shut out in a 12-0 defeat. Overall, Struck has given up eight runs (seven earned) over 13 and two-thirds innings as a starter this season. The second-year Duck has made four appearances (one start) against the Skeeters this season and has a 3.18 ERA against them. He pitched three innings in his lone start (July 28 at Bethpage Ballpark) and gave up two runs on six hits and three walks.

Sugar Land will counter with Brett Marshall on Saturday night. The righty sports a 3-5 record with a 4.70 ERA through 10 appearances (nine starts) and has allowed 48 hits and 24 walks in 44 innings while striking out 28. He has tossed five scoreless innings in each of his past two starts to earn wins in both. In the two outings, Marshall combined to allow seven hits and three walks with six strikeouts. The 26-year-old has faced the Ducks just once this season, suffering the loss on July 3 in the final game of the first half. That night, he gave up four runs on five hits and six walks in just three innings while striking out two.

FOLLOW ALONG: Fans can follow all the action from tonight’s game live on the Ducks’ flagship radio station, 103.9-FM LI News Radio. Streaming audio will also 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.

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

#24 Nick Struck – RHP

Skeeters
#7   Josh Prince – 2B
#26 Jeff Dominguez – LF
#9   Rene Tosoni – CF
#29 Jeremy Barfield – RF
#16 Travis Scott – DH
#14 Lance Zawadzki – SS
#5   Wilfredo Rodriguez – C
#34 Johan Limonta – 1B
#6   Patrick Palmeiro – 3B

#23 Brett Marshall – RHP

UPDATE (5:11): Skeeters have a lineup change. Ricky Hague has been scratched. Patrick Palmeiro is now in the lineup at third base, with Lance Zawadzki moving to shortstop. New lineup posted above.

UPDATE (6:20): BOT 1: The Skeeters plate the game’s first run on Rene Tosoni’s RBI single to right-center field.

UPDATE (6:32): BOT 2: FABULOUS running catch by Delta Cleary Jr. in the left-center field gap to rob Johan Limonta of an extra-base hit!

UPDATE (6:59): TOP 4: Ruben Gotay comes through with a two-out, two-run single to shallow left! Long Island jumps in front 2-1!

UPDATE (7:24): TOP 5: Two more runs come across for the Flock! A bases loaded walk to Cody Puckett and an RBI infield single from Gotay make it 4-1!

UPDATE (7:58): BOT 6: A sacrifice fly from Wilfredo Rodriguez trims the Ducks lead to 4-2, but Patrick Crider gets out of the inning with the lead intact.

UPDATE (8:15): BOT 7: Danny Burawa turns in a 1-2-3 inning with two strikeouts! Final line for Nick Struck: 5.1 IP, 4 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 1 BB, 4 K

UPDATE (8:46): BOT 8: Outstanding job by Amalio Diaz to work out of a first-and-second, no-out jam! He strikes out two and gets a flyout to end the inning!

UPDATE (9:09): BOT 9: Sugar Land rallies for two runs in the ninth to tie up the ballgame at four apiece.

UPDATE (9:21): TOP 10: Puckett scores from third on an RBI fielder’s choice off the bat of Mike Blanke! Ducks re-take the lead at 5-4!

UPDATE (9:31): FINAL: BALLGAME OVER! Todd Coffey strands the tying run at second to give the Flock a 5-4 win in 10 innings!

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Posted on August 20, 2016, in Game Previews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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