Game 34: Ducks vs. Barnstormers

Keith Couch (7).JPG

Keith Couch makes his return to the mound tonight for the Ducks.

GAME TIME/LOCATION: 6:35 pm at Bethpage Ballpark (Central Islip, N.Y.)

TONIGHT’S MATCHUP: The Long Island Ducks (17-16) host the Lancaster Barnstormers (18-15) for the first time this season, beginning a four-game, three-day series tonight. The Ducks, who have been on a roll lately, will face a stiff challenge from the Freedom Division-leading Barnstormers, who have been one of the best offensive clubs in the league this year.

WEDNESDAY’S RECAP: The Ducks and Bluefish split a single admission doubleheader on Wednesday at The Ballpark at Harbor Yard, with Bridgeport taking the opener 2-0 and Long Island answering back with a 7-5 win in game two.

Chris Rearick (2-1) was outstanding for the Bluefish on the mound in game one and earned the victory. The southpaw pitched six scoreless innings, surrendering just four hits and a walk while striking out 10 batters. In addition, he stranded five Ducks on base, preventing a comeback from the Flock.

Matt Larkins (0-4) meanwhile turned in a nice start for the Ducks, but a two-run third inning prevented him from avoiding a fourth consecutive loss. Bridgeport plated their runs courtesy of an RBI single by D’Arby Myers and an RBI triple by Luis Hernandez. They both followed a bunt single by Ozney Guillen, coupled with a two-base throwing error from Larkins, after the right-hander retired the first seven batters he faced.

The Ducks found themselves behind the eight-ball again in game two, as Jack Snodgrass got off to a rough start in his season debut. The Bluefish scored four times in the first inning and once more in the second against the southpaw on an RBI single by Sean Burroughs, RBI doubles by Jose Gil and Alberto Callaspo and an error by Dan Lyons that scored two more.

Rob Rogers came in to relieve Snodgrass and pitched a scoreless third inning before the Ducks offense finally broke through against Bluefish starter Charles Brewer. The righty had allowed just one walk through the first 11 batters he faced but then surrendered five straight hits and a sac fly in the fourth that helped the Ducks close to within 5-4. Marc Krauss’ two-run double, Giovanny Alfonzo’s RBI single and Dominic Blanco’s sac fly did the damage.

One inning later, RBI singles by Elmer Reyes off Brewer (3-1) and Alfonzo off reliever Drake Britton put the Ducks in front by a 6-5 margin. Brewer’s day ended after four and one-third innings with six runs allowed on seven hits and two walks while striking out six. Long Island added a seventh unanswered run in the seventh inning on an RBI single to right by Krauss off former Major Leaguer Manny Delcarmen.

Meanwhile, Long island’s bullpen was superb to earn the win. Eury De La Rosa (1-0) got the win after pitching two scoreless innings and allowing just two hits. Amalio Diaz tossed a 1-2-3 sixth inning, and Chin-Hui Tsao retired three straight after the leadoff man reached on an error in the seventh to earn his third save.

ON THE MOUND: Long Island native Keith Couch heads to the mound in the series opener for the Ducks. He will be making his first start since April 28 against New Britain after missing nearly a month due to arm soreness. The Elmont resident has gone 0-1 in two starts this season, yielding seven runs (six earned) in seven innings on eight hits and three walks with four strikeouts. In Couch’s most recent outing, he gave up a three-run home run to Craig Maddox in the first inning but followed that up with three scoreless frames, allowing just one hit in that span. This will be his first-ever regular season start against the Barnstormers.

Former big leaguer Elih Villenueva gets the start for Lancaster tonight, making his sixth start of the season. So far the righty is 3-1 with a 2.39 ERA. In his last start on May 19, he got the win over the New Britain Bees, throwing five innings and allowing just one run on five hits. Impressively, Villenueva has struck out 27 batters in 26.1 innings this season, and has issued only nine walks in that span.

FOLLOW ALONG: Fans can follow all the action for tonight’s game, and every Ducks game in 2017, on the Long Island Ducks Broadcast Network. Streaming HD video and audio via BoxCast will be available on the team’s official Facebook page through Facebook Live, on the Ducks’ official YouTube channel and 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
#20 Nolan Reimold – DH
#26 Angelo Songco – LF
#13 Elmer Reyes – 2B
#34 Marc Krauss – 1B
#23 Alex Burg – C
#2   Cody Puckett – 3B
#5   Delta Cleary Jr. – CF
#12 Dan Lyons – SS

#25 Keith Couch – RHP

Barnstormers
#3   Darian Sandford – CF
#24 Rico Noel – 2B
#15 Caleb Gindl – RF
#18 K.C. Hobson – 1B
#19 Sean Halton – 3B
#2   Blake Gailen – DH
#5   Lastings Milledge – LF
#1   Vladimir Frias – SS
#32 Anderson De La Rosa – C

#37 Elih Villenueva – RHP

UPDATE (6:49) – TOP 1: The Barnstormers plate two runs off Keith Couch to start the game and take the lead.

UPDATE (7:10) – TOP 2: The Barnstormers tack on another tally to take a 3-0 lead over the Ducks.

UPDATE (7:29) – TOP 3: Lancaster strikes again and now has a 4-0 lead.

UPDATE (8:14) – BOT 4: The Ducks quack back with a trio of tallies, including a two-run blast from Cody Puckett.

UPDATE (8:50) – BOT 6: The Barnstormers still lead 4-3.

UPDATE (9:45) – FINAL: Barnstormers 4, Ducks 3

W: Villanueva (4-1)
L: Couch (0-2)
SV: Carter (6)

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Posted on May 26, 2017, in Game Previews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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