Game 136: Ducks at Skeeters

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GAME TIME/LOCATION: 7:05 p.m. CDT at Constellation Field (Sugar Land, Texas)

TONIGHT’S MATCHUP: The Long Island Ducks (28-37; 68-67) face the Sugar Land Skeeters (35-30; 70-65) for the final time in the 2016 regular season, as the teams close out a three-game series. The Ducks have already wrapped up a postseason berth by clinching the first half Liberty Division title, while Skeeters improved their playoff positioning on Tuesday. They are currently tied with the York Revolution for first place in the second half Freedom Division standings, meaning they would win the Second Half title if the season ended today since York won the first half. If York and Somerset win the second half, a wild card scenario would come into play where Sugar Land currently has a one game lead over New Britain in the overall standings. However, if York and Bridgeport or New Britain win the second half, Sugar Land’s overall record is four games behind Somerset.

YESTERDAY’S RESULT: Long Island once again built an early lead, but this time they could not hold it, falling 6-4 to Sugar Land on Tuesday night.

The Ducks struck immediately against Skeeters starter Aaron Thompson (9-5), as Fehlandt Lentini walked, stole second and scored on Dan Lyons’ RBI single in the first. After Lyons was sacrificed to second, Cody Puckett delivered two batters later with an RBI single to make it 2-0. Jeremy Barfield immediately tied the game in the bottom of the first with a deep two-run home run to left off Bobby Blevins (2-12). However, Long Island took the lead back in the second on Lentini’s two-out RBI single that scored Matt Wessinger.

After a scoreless third inning, the first of the game’s two major turning points came in the top of the fourth. Ruben Gotay walked and Mike Blanke doubled to open the inning. However, with two in scoring position, Wessinger struck out looking and Lentini hit a deep fly ball to left that was kept in the ballpark by a strong wind blowing in from left. Had that not been the case, the Ducks would have had a 6-2 lead. Instead, Sugar Land would take advantage in the fifth inning.

Blevins allowed a double and a single to Johan Limonta and Albert Cordero to open the frame. Following a strikeout of Jeff Dominguez, Rene Tosoni lined an RBI single to right that tied the ballgame at three. Barfield came up next and hit a grounder right to where Ruben Gotay was playing near second. However, the potential inning-ending double play ball rolled through his legs for an error and kept the inning alive. Travis Scott followed with an RBI groundout, and Delwyn Young then drove a two-run double to the right-center field game with an 0-2 count. Three unearned runs later, and Sugar Land had a 6-3 lead.

Long Island loaded the bases in the seventh against Ryan Mattheus on two singles and an error. With Delta Cleary Jr. coming to the plate, Skeeters manager Gary Gaetti called upon lefty Dan Runzler to turn Cleary Jr. around to the right side. The Ducks’ center fielder promptly grounded into a 1-2-3 double play to end the threat. A double from Puckett, a passed ball and a sacrifice fly from Gotay in the eighth closed the gap to 6-4. Mike Dowd followed with a single, but Gaetti went back to his bullpen and brought in righty Andrew Johnston, who got Blanke to ground into a force. Derrick Loop then retired the side in order in the ninth for his 30th save.

ON THE MOUND: Daniel Herrera will get the start in the rubber game of the three-game set for the Ducks. The southpaw, who is 2-1 with a 4.71 ERA in seven games (five starts), has been outstanding in his past two starts, combining to pitch 14 innings of scoreless baseball. In his most recent start, he threw 140 pitches (85 for strikes) over eight scoreless innings against the Bridgeport Bluefish on September 8. He allowed six hits and five walks, though three of those free passes came in the eighth with his pitch count over 120. Since allowing five runs in the second inning of his start on August 25 against Southern Maryland, the knuckleballer has given up only two runs in his last 24 innings of work. Herrera’s lone start against the Skeeters came in his home state of Texas on August 19 when he gave up six runs on eight hits and three walks in three and two-thirds innings, losing a 5-0 lead in a 9-5 defeat.

Sean Gallagher will oppose Herrera for the Skeeters. The right-hander and Atlantic League veteran has compiled a 10-8 record with a 3.73 ERA in 26 starts this season. Walks have been his biggest issue, as he has surrendered 64 in 149 and one-third innings of work, the most in the Atlantic League. Gallagher walked only one in his last outing on September 9 but struggled against the Blue Crabs. He gave up 13 hits and seven runs (five earned) over five innings of work but got the win thanks to a big night from the offense, which scored 18 runs in an 18-11 victory. Prior to that, the fourth-year Skeeter had allowed three runs or less in four consecutive outings. Gallagher has made four starts against the Flock in 2016, and despite a 1-2 record, he has a miniscule 1.67 ERA and 25 strikeouts to 11 walks in 27 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
#23 Fehlandt Lentini – RF
#12 Dan Lyons – SS
#5   Delta Cleary Jr. – CF
#20 Lew Ford – DH
#2   Cody Puckett – 3B
#15 Ruben Gotay – 2B
#32 Tyler Colvin – 1B
#29 Mike Dowd – C
#27 Anthony Vega – LF

#13 Daniel Herrera – LHP

Skeeters
#26 Jeff Dominguez – LF
#9   Rene Tosoni – CF
#29 Jeremy Barfield – RF
#24 Delwyn Young – 1B
#5   Wilfredo Rodriguez – C
#14 Lance Zawadzki – SS
#10 Juan Martinez – 2B
#6   Patrick Palmeiro – 3B
#4   Beamer Weems – DH

#36 Sean Gallagher – RHP

 —

UPDATE (7:18): TOP 1: Great start for the Flock! A two-out, two-run double by Cody Puckett & an RBI single by Ruben Gotay give the Ducks an early 3-0 lead!

UPDATE (7:42): BOT 2: Beamer Weems drives in a run with a single to left, but Juan Martinez is thrown out at the plate! Great job by Mike Dowd to hang on as Martinez slid in hard!

UPDATE (8:01): BOT 3: Skeeters tie the game, taking advantage of a Ducks error. RBI single by Young & a run-scoring double play ball make it 3-3.

UPDATE (8:32): BOT 5: Daniel Herrera strikes out two in the inning and keeps Sugar Land off the scoreboard! Still tied up at three after five.

UPDATE (8:54): TOP 7: Anthony Vega breaks the 3-3 tie, as he cracks a solo homer into the bullpens in right! His 10th of the year puts the Ducks in front 4-3!

UPDATE (9:19): BOT 8: They do it again! Vega to Lyons to Dowd nails Rodriguez at the plate trying to score on a hit from Zawadzki! Ducks still in front 4-3!

UPDATE (9:34): FINAL: Todd Coffey nails down the save, inducing a game-ending double play! Ducks win the game 4-3, series 2-1 & the season series 11-9!

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Posted on September 14, 2016, in Game Previews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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