Game 2: Ducks at Blue Crabs

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

TONIGHT’S MATCHUP: After a comfortable 7-1 Opening Day victory over the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs last night, the Long Island Ducks look to keep the momentum going tonight at Regency Furniture Stadium. A win would not only propel the Ducks to a 2-0 start, but it would clinch at least a split of the season-opening four-game series with the Blue Crabs.

YESTERDAY’S RECAP: The Long Island Ducks pounded out 13 hits and took advantage of four errors to defeat the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs 7-1 on Thursday night in the opening game of the 2017 season.

Long Island scored the game’s first run on a two-out RBI single to left field by Nate Freiman in the first inning. Delta Cleary Jr. delivered a two-out RBI single of his own to right-center in the fourth off Blue Crabs starter Justin De Fratus, doubling the lead to two.

The damage could have been worse for De Fratus, who was able to strand seven runners on base in the first four innings of the game to keep it close.

Southern Maryland closed to within 2-1 in their half of the fourth on a sacrifice fly to left off the bat of Zach Cone. It stayed that way until the seventh when Cody Puckett was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, scoring Cleary Jr. to restore Long Island’s two-run advantage.

Again, the seventh inning could have provided some more fireworks for the Ducks, who had the bases loaded and just one out after Puckett was plunked by Robert Carson. However, Cody Hebner came in and escaped the jam, coaxing a pop up from Dan Lyons and striking out Alex Burg.

After rain had been falling for the previous two innings, the umpires decided to call for the tarp prior to the start of the eighth inning. Once a 46-minute rain delay was complete, the Ducks broke the game open with a four-run eighth inning against Kyano Cummings, who was making his first professional appearance. An RBI single from Fehlandt Lentini, a balk, a catcher’s interference against former-Duck Mike Blanke, a sacrifice fly from Marc Krauss, and a throwing error from center fielder Gary Brown accounted for the damage.

Ducks starter John Brownell (1-0) earned the win, pitching five innings of one-run ball, allowing five hits and a walk while striking out five. It was the fourth-consecutive Opening Day start for Brownell.

The right-hander worked around a pair of singles in the first inning and later struck out the side in the second. He even retired seven in a row at one point. Brownell’s win extended his franchise record to 47 victories.

De Fratus (0-1) took the loss, giving up two unearned runs on nine hits in six innings with five strikeouts. All nine hits surrendered by De Fratus were singles, and 12 of Long Island’s 13 hits on the night were singles as well.

Brownell gave way to Zac Treece and Amalio Diaz, who both worked around hits in the sixth and seventh innings, respectively, to toss scoreless frames. After the delay, Chin-Hui Tsao and Tyler Wilson made their Ducks debuts, each keeping the Blue Crabs off the scoreboard while stranding two runners apiece.

Every Ducks batter reached base in the game, and three players had multiple hits. Krauss and Elmer Reyes each had three hits to lead the Flock. Cleary Jr. chipped in with two hits, a run batted in, two runs scored and two stolen bases.

ON THE MOUND: Left-hander Rafael Perez will make his Ducks debut tonight. Perez, a seven-year veteran of Major League Baseball, last pitched professionally in 2015 with Quintana Roo of the Mexican League, though he did pitch in the Caribbean during winter ball this offseason.  The southpaw pitched from 2006-2012 with the Cleveland Indians where he was one of the premiere left-handed setup men in baseball. He finished in the top-10 in the American League in appearances in 2011, 2010 and 2008.

In 338 career MLB appearances, Perez compiled a 3.64 ERA and three saves. He is a ground ball machine, generating grounders at a 54.5% rate in his career, far better than the MLB average of around 44%. The Freeport, N.Y. resident is a rare left-handed pitcher who is equally effective against lefties as he is righties. In his MLB career, righties hit to a .250/.317/.377 slash line, while lefties were held to a .253/.323/.355 line.

Southern Maryland will counter with a Major League veteran lefty of their own, as they send former New York Met Pat Misch to the bump. Misch spent parts of six seasons pitching with the Giants and Mets, and he also spent time in the Phillies, Tigers and Marlins systems. The 35-year-old southpaw owns a 4-15 record with a 4.80 ERA in 200.2 MLB innings.  Misch is a soft-tossing lefty who doesn’t post gaudy strikeout numbers but also doesn’t issue many walks. He has previously spent time in the Atlantic League as a member of the Lancaster Barnstormers for two appearances in 2015, and spent 2016 pitching for the Orix Buffaloes of the Japan Pacific League.

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

#40 Rafael Perez – LHP

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
#6   Patrick Palmeiro – 3B
#9   Edwin Garcia – SS
#24 Mike Blanke – C

#8   Pat Misch – LHP

UPDATE (6:59): GOOD NEWS: The Ducks scored three runs in the first inning! Nolan Reimold lifted a sac fly to right, and Nate Freiman crushed a two-out, two-run homer!

BAD NEWS: The rain has begun to fall. For the second consecutive night, we are in a rain delay at Regency Furniture Stadium. Stay tuned for updates.

UPDATE (7:26): From the Blue Crabs: Tonight’s game is expected to resume at 8:00 p.m.

UPDATE (8:06): BOT 1: Back underway in Southern Maryland! Rafael Perez strikes out two and strands a runner at third base in a scoreless inning.

UPDATE (8:16): TOP 2: Another tremendous home run for the Flock! Alex Burg launches one over the picnic area in left to give the Ducks a 4-0 lead!

UPDATE (8:50): BOT 3: Blue Crabs put up a three-spot to cut the lead to one. RBI single by Danny Muno and a two-run single by Zach Wilson. 4-3 ballgame.

UPDATE (9:04): TOP 4: Alex Burg has his second RBI of the night! His two-out run-scoring single pushed the Ducks’ lead to 5-3!

UPDATE (9:45): MID 6: Two scoreless innings of relief for Floral Park native Dennis O’Grady! Zac Treece now on to pitch for the Flock.

UPDATE (10:09): BOT 6: Southern Maryland ties the game at five on a two-run homer to left by Patrick Palmeiro.

UPDATE (10:31): BOT 7: BIG strikeout by Amalio Diaz of Palmeiro, stranding a pair on the bases! 5-5 as we head to the eighth.

UPDATE (10:53): BOT 8: Mike Blanke lifts a solo home run to left field, giving Southern Maryland a 6-5 lead.

UPDATE (11:02): FINAL: Cody Eppley retires the side in order in the ninth, and the Blue Crabs earn a 6-5 win to even the series at one game apiece.

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Posted on April 21, 2017, in Game Previews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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