Game 1: Ducks at Blue Crabs

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GAME TIME/LOCATION: 6:35 p.m. at Regency Furniture Stadium (Waldorf, Md.)

TONIGHT’S MATCHUP: The Long Island Ducks begin their quest for a fourth Atlantic League championship tonight when they face the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs to kick off the 2017 regular season. Long Island enters its 18th season in the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball, while Southern Maryland celebrates its 10th Anniversary Season this year.

2016 RECAP: Last season saw the Ducks clinch their second consecutive postseason berth and 11th in the past 13 seasons by virtue of winning the First Half Liberty Division title with a record of 40-30. The Ducks went on to face the Somerset Patriots in the Liberty Division Championship Series and rallied from an 0-2 deficit in the series to win three consecutive games at home and take the series. It marked Long Island’s fifth division championship all-time and fourth in the past six seasons. The Ducks then faced the Sugar Land Skeeters in the Atlantic League Championship Series but ultimately fell in three games, as the Skeeters completed a 6-0 postseason run for their first-ever ALPB championship.

Southern Maryland will look to rebound after a difficult season in 2016. One year removed from winning the Freedom Division championship, the Blue Crabs compiled a 57-83 record this past season. They finished at the rear of the pack in the Freedom Division during both halves due to struggles both on the mound and at the plate. This offseason, they welcomed a new manager in John Harris, who previously served as a hitting coach with the Bridgeport Bluefish in 2015. Last year, he was the Director of Player Procurement for the Trois-Rivieres Aigles in the Can-Am League.

ON THE MOUND: For the fourth consecutive season, the Ducks will hand the ball to John Brownell on Opening Day. Though he did not repeat as the Atlantic League’s Pitcher of the Year in 2016, he certainly made a strong case for his candidacy. The right-hander compiled a 10-8 record with a 3.30 ERA, tying for fourth in the league in wins and ranking sixth in ERA. In addition, he led the league with six complete games, had the third-most strikeouts (147) and was fifth in games started (25). The 33-year-old enters the 2017 season as the Ducks’ all-time leader in wins (46), games started (109), innings pitched (729.1) and strikeouts (571). In 2016, Brownell posted a 2-2 record with a 2.63 ERA and 25 strikeouts to just three walks in four starts against the Blue Crabs.

Southern Maryland will send five-year Major League veteran Justin De Fratus to the mound to begin the season. The righty comes to the Blue Crabs having pitched at the game’s highest level with Phillies from 2011-2015, compiling an MLB record of 7-6 with a 4.08 ERA and 170 strikeouts in 191 relief appearances. In 2016, he pitched at Triple-A with the Rangers, Mariners and Nationals organizations, as well as a brief stint with Washington’s Double-A affiliate. The 29-year-old combined to make 45 appearances and went 5-6 with a 3.72 ERA, one save and 43 strikeouts in 58 innings. Tonight will be his Atlantic League debut.

FOLLOW ALONG: Fans can follow all the action for tonight’s game, and every Ducks game in 2017, with live streaming HD video and audio via BoxCast. The game can be viewed on the team’s official Facebook page through Facebook Live, on the Ducks’ official YouTube channel or at LIDucks.com in the Video Center. 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
#24 Fehlandt Lentini – RF
#5   Delta Cleary Jr. – CF
#20 Nolan Reimold – LF
#34 Marc Krauss – DH
#35 Nate Freiman – 1B
#2   Cody Puckett – 3B
#12 Dan Lyons – SS
#23 Alex Burg – C
#13 Elmer Reyes – 2B

#7 John Brownell – RHP

Blue Crabs
#7   Gary Brown – CF
#15 Danny Muno – 2B
#29 Zach Wilson  – 1B
#16 Michael Snyder – DH
#27 Cory Vaughn – LF
#23 Zach Cone – RF
#24 Mike Blanke – C
#6   Patrick Palmeiro – 3B
#9   Edwin Garcia – SS

#12 Justin De Fratus – RHP

UPDATE (6:43): TOP 1: Ducks take advantage of a dropped fly ball, and Nate Freiman delivers a two-out RBI single! 1-0 Flock!

UPDATE (7:08): Swing and a miss! Swing and a miss! Swing and a miss! John Brownell strikes out the side swinging in the second!

UPDATE (7:32): TOP 4: Long Island takes advantage of another error,  and Delta Cleary Jr. delivers a two-out RBI single! 2-0 Ducks!

UPDATE (7:43): BOT 4: Southern Maryland gets on the board courtesy of a sac fly to left off the bat of Zach Cone. 2-1 Ducks.

UPDATE (8:18): BOT 6: Zac Treece relieves Brownell & pitches a scoreless inning! Brownell’s final line: 5.0 IP, 5 H, 1 R, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K.

UPDATE (8:29): TOP 7: Cody Puckett is hit by a pitch with the bases loaded. Cleary Jr. trots home to give the Ducks a 3-1 lead!

UPDATE (8:54): The umpires have called for the tarp after seven innings. We have our first rain delay of 2017. Ducks lead 3-1. Stay tuned for updates.

UPDATE (9:11): The rain has stopped, the tarp is being removed, and we should have baseball resuming here shortly!

UPDATE (9:47): TOP 8: The Ducks have erupted for four runs here in the eighth and now lead it 7-1! Fehlandt Lentini and Marc Krauss with RBIs!

UPDATE (10:26): FINAL: Ducks defeat the Blue Crabs, 7-1, on #OpeningDay! First win in the bag!

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Posted on April 20, 2017, in Game Previews and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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