Game 61: 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 (30-30) embark on their final road trip of the first half and make their first visit of the season to Texas where they will open up a seven-game series against the Sugar Land Skeeters (26-34). Long Island enters the series after splitting a four-game set with the Somerset Patriots, while Sugar Land is coming off of three consecutive defeats in Connecticut to the New Britain Bees after taking the series opener. Both teams are in third place in their respective division, with the Ducks sitting seven games in back of first in the Liberty Division and the Skeeters trailing the Blue Crabs by eight and a half games in the Freedom Division.

YESTERDAY’S RECAP: Control issues proved to be a problem for the Ducks’ pitching staff, as they walked a season-high 11 batters in a 9-2 defeat on Thursday night.

Dennis O’Grady (3-4) started for the Ducks and allowed single runs in four consecutive innings from the second through the fifth after a 1-2-3 opening inning. Tyler Bortnick was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, Kyle Roller collected an RBI double, O’Grady threw a wild pitch that scored Scott Kelly and a solo homer by Greg Golson did the damage. O’Grady walked five batters and allowed four hits over his five innings of work while striking out five.

Long Island’s relief corps also struggled to keep Somerset at bay. Tyler Levine allowed a run in the sixth on three hits and a bases loaded walk to Aharon Eggleston. Eury De La Rosa gave up an RBI single to Christian Marrero and a bases loaded walk to Kelly in the seventh. Zac Treece then allowed a two-run homer to former-Duck Mark Minicozzi in the eighth after a two-out walk. John Lannan was able to keep Sugar Land off the scoreboard in the ninth, striking out a pair while pitching for the third straight night.

Offensively, the Ducks managed just two hits and a walk over the first six innings of the game against Patriots starter David Kubiak. Long Island broke through in the seventh when Lew Ford led off the frame with a solo homer to left field off of the righty, good for Ford’s third longball of the season. He would finish the night with three hits, coming just a triple shy of the cycle. One inning later, Jordan Pacheco went deep for the first time as a Ducks, crushing a leadoff solo homer off the scoreboard in left-center against Ronnie Shaban. The Ducks put two on base in the ninth but failed to inch closer.

ON THE MOUND: The Ducks hand the ball to Rafael Perez (4-2, 3.63 ERA) to kick off the week-long series in Texas. The southpaw is coming off of a terrific outing in his most recent start at Lancaster on June 18, a game which the Ducks won 6-2. He threw seven innings of two-run ball to earn the win, allowing just six hits and one walk while striking out two. His only blemish came in his final inning when K.C. Hobson tagged him for a two-run home run. Perez has allowed three runs or less in seven of his last eight starts, compiling a 2.82 ERA and walking just eight batters over 44 and two-thirds innings in that span. Tonight will be his first-ever start against the Skeeters.

Opposing Perez will be Atlantic League veteran Jake Hale (4-1, 2.65 ERA). The righty is returning to the Skeeters’ rotation tonight after being out of action since June 4 due to injury. During his most recent start on June 4, he earned the win at Somerset with six and one-third innings of two-run ball, yielding five hits while striking out four and not walking a batter. Prior to that, he fired seven shutout innings against the Ducks on Long Island back on May 30, but he took a no-decision after the Ducks rallied for a 3-2 win in 11 innings. Hale has made nine starts this season and has struck out 35 batters while walking just 15 in 57 and two-thirds innings of work.

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
#11 Anthony Vega – LF
#20 Lew Ford – DH
#26 Angelo Songco – 1B
#23 Alex Burg – C
#13 Elmer Reyes – SS
#30 Ruben Gotay – 3B
#6   Giovanny Alfonzo – 2B
#5   Delta Cleary Jr. – CF

#40 Rafael Perez – LHP

Skeeters
#7   Josh Prince – 2B
#21 Anthony Giansanti – RF
#16 Travis Scott – 1B
#4   Kevin Ahrens – SS
#15 Bryan Pounds – 3B
#38 Joel Guzman – DH
#3   Albert Cordero – C
#36 Hector Olivera – LF
#6   Derek Miller – CF

#28 Jake Hale –RHP

UPDATE (7:23): We are underway in Texas, as both sides go in order during their half of the first inning.

UPDATE (7:35): TOP 2: Three straight two-out hits, including a two-run double by Giovanny Alfonzo, give the Ducks an early 2-0 lead!

UPDATE (8:19): MID 5: Ducks maintaining their 2-0 lead at the midway point! Rafael Perez has allowed just one baserunner through the first four innings.

UPDATE (8:35): TOP 6: Four straight hits to open the inning puts the Ducks ahead 5-0! RBI double by Alex Burg & a two-run single by Elmer Reyes!

UPDATE (9:08): BOT 6: Hector Olivera gets the Skeeters on the scoreboard, scoring on a passed ball. However, Rob Rogers strands the bases loaded.

UPDATE (9:45): BOT 8: Rob Rogers with another 1-2-3 innings. He’s thrown two and one-third scoreless innings tonight, yielding just one single!

Update (10:22): FINAL: Amalio Diaz strikes out the side in the ninth inning, and the Ducks top the Skeeters 5-1 in tonight’s series opener!

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Posted on June 23, 2017, in Game Previews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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