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20th Anniversary Team Voting – Starting Pitcher (2012-15)

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19 seasons of Long Island Ducks baseball have come and gone. Players from all around the world and of all varieties of baseball experience have worn the Ducks uniform since the first pitch on April 28, 2000. In that time, they have played in front of nearly 8 million fans in Central Islip, and millions more around the rest of the country. Those players and coaches have also earned three Atlantic League Championships, seven Division Championships, 13 half-season Division Championships and over 1,300 victories. As the Ducks 20th Anniversary Season, presented by Good Samaritan Hospital Medical Center, approaches, it is time to determine which members of the Flock have stood above the rest.

The common phrase goes “pitching wins championships,” and that was certainly the case during the next era of our voting. During this four-year stretch, the Ducks claimed back-to-back Atlantic League Championships thanks in large part to some tremendous performances on the mound. One of the nominees for this week’s starting pitcher spot earned Championship Series MVP honors in 2013. Another recorded a pair of quality starts with the Ducks facing elimination in 2012. Our third candidate began as a reliever before converting to a starter and was instrumental in both championship victories. Let’s take a closer look at each of the three nominees:


John Brownell
John Brownell Action Shot

After coming to Long Island via a late-season trade in 2012 from the Grand Prairie AirHogs, John Brownell fashioned a Ducks career that spanned parts of seven seasons, including six full years. During that time, he compiled a record of 65-51 with a 3.72 ERA, 755 strikeouts, and 1,005.1 innings pitched over 156 games (154 starts). His wins, strikeouts, innings pitched and starts totals are all Ducks franchise records, and he is also the Atlantic League’s all-time strikeouts king. The right-hander ranks second in league history for innings pitched and third for wins. Not to mention, he’s also the Ducks single-season record holder for starts (29, 2014), complete games (7, 2013), innings pitched (202.0, 2014) and strikeouts (147, 2016). If those impressive numbers aren’t enough, Brownell was a key contributor to Long Island’s back-to-back Atlantic League Championships. He posted a 2.84 ERA in a pair of 2012 postseason starts, which included a win in Game Four of the ALCS with the Ducks facing elimination. The following season, Brownell won all three playoff starts and compiled a 2.88 ERA. Two of those starts came in the Championship Series, where he earned MVP honors after pitching into the ninth inning of the decisive Game Five at Somerset. He would go on to lead Long Island to three more Liberty Division titles (2016-18) and earn an ALPB All-Star Game selection in 2017. Brownell has unquestionably cemented his legacy as one of the franchise’s greatest starting pitchers ever.


Bobby Blevins
Bobby Blevins Action Shot

Another vital piece to Long Island’s Championship puzzles was New York native Bobby Blevins. The right-hander also joined the Ducks in a late-season trade from the Rockland Boulders during the 2012 campaign. Manager Kevin Baez slotted Blevins in to start the decisive Game Five during both postseason series that year and boy did he deliver. He fired six innings of three-run ball in the Liberty Division Championship Series, as the Ducks defeated Southern Maryland 5-4, and then tossed six innings of two-run ball with five strikeouts against Lancaster to lead the Ducks to another 5-4 win and their first championship in eight seasons. Blevins was masterful in his lone postseason start one year later, pitching eight innings of one-run ball at Somerset in Game Four of the Atlantic League Championship Series. While impressive in the postseason, his regular season numbers were nothing to scoff at. Between 2012 and 2015, Blevins compiled a 15-10 record with a 3.23 ERA, four complete games, 212 strikeouts, and 317.2 innings over 50 games (47 starts). He spent one final season with the Ducks in 2016 and started Game One of the Atlantic League Championship Series that year before going on to spend time with both the Sugar Land Skeeters and Somerset Patriots in 2017 and 2018, respectively.


Jared Lansford
Jared Lansford Action Shot

Our third and final candidate for this spot on the 20th Anniversary Team enjoyed success as both a starting pitcher and a reliever during his three seasons as a Duck. Jared Lansford served as a late-inning bullpen arm during Long Island’s back-to-back championships runs, making 47 appearances in both 2012 and 2013. He combined to post a 5-3 record with a 3.61 ERA, nine saves, and 88 strikeouts over 104.2 innings of work. The righty’s 2013 success earned him an Atlantic League All-Star Game selection. Lansford was also a perfect 3-0 in 11 postseason appearances, yielding just one run and one walk over 12.1 innings while striking out 13. The California native converted to the starting rotation for the 2014 season and continued his success on the mound. He made 25 starts that year and posted an 8-5 record with a 3.22 ERA, two complete games, and 123 strikeouts over 159.1 innings pitched. Thanks to his performance, Lansford eventually signed in the Chinese Professional Baseball League. He has spent several seasons pitching overseas since.


Three two-time Atlantic League champions are up for selection, but only one will have a spot on the 20th Anniversary Team. Who that will be lies partly in your hands. Cast your vote early and often over the next week for Brownell, Blevins or Lansford by clicking the button below. The winner, along with the remainder of the 20th Anniversary Team, will be unveiled at the beginning of the 2019 season!

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Be sure to check back again next week, as we’ll reveal our group of three nominees for the starting pitcher spot representing the 2016-18 era of Ducks history, the final starter spot on the team.

LDCS Game Five: Ducks at Patriots

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Long Island and Somerset play decisive Game Five for fourth time in six years

GAME TIME/LOCATION:

5:05 p.m. at TD Bank Ballpark (Bridgewater, N.J.)

TONIGHT’S MATCHUP:

In true Ducks-Patriots fashion, the two teams will need a fifth game to determine the 2018 Liberty Division champion. Tonight’s Game Five comes after the Ducks outscored the Patriots 20-3 in back-to-back victories on Long Island to open the series before the Patriots outscored the Ducks 13-7 in consecutive victories at TD Bank Ballpark to tie the series. This marks the third time in the past four seasons the teams have needed a decisive Game Five in the Liberty Division Championship Series and the fourth time in six years the two have played a Game Five in the postseason (2013 Atlantic League Championship Series. The Ducks have won two of the previous three (2013, 2016), while the Patriots claimed Game Five in 2015. Long Island is 4-2 all-time in Game Five postseason matchups, including a 1-1 road record, both at TD Bank Ballpark.

GAME FOUR RECAP: 

Long Island led the Atlantic League with 120 home runs during the 2018 regular season, while Somerset finished at the bottom of the circuit with 63 homers. However, the Ducks two homers on Saturday night could not outdo the Patriots three, as the hosts claimed Game Four of the Liberty Division Championship Series 5-3.

Lorenzo Barcelo fell behind early in the ballgame. After the Ducks missed out with runners at first-and-second and one out in the top of the first, three singles in the bottom of the inning, including back-to-back two-out hits by Jayce Boyd and Ramon Flores, gave the Patriots a 1-0 lead. The Ducks again had chances in the second (first-and-second, no out) and third (first-and-second, two outs) but could not plate a run in either situation. Somerset took advantage in the third, as a one-out solo homer to right by Craig Massey, who hit three homers in the regular season, and a two-out solo homer to right by Endy Chavez, who had two longballs during the season, extended Somerset’s lead to three.

The Ducks were able to trim their deficit to three with the use of the longball as well. Daniel Fields uncorked a one-out solo blast over the scoreboard in right field off Patriots starter Rick Teasley to give the Flock their first run of the night. One inning later, Rubi Silva launched his first homer of the postseason with a two-out solo shot the opposite-way to left-center. Long Island then drew back-to-back walks against reliever Ryan Webb, but Mike Antonini came in and got Fields to fly out to deep right-center, ending the threat.

Somerset would then put the game out of reach in the bottom of the sixth against Barcelo. The right-hander allowed a leadoff walk to Flores before inducing a pair of popouts. However, with two outs in the inning, Mike Fransoso, who hit just two home runs all season, crushed a two-run homer to right that restored Somerset’s three-run advantage at 5-2.

Hector Silvestre tossed a pair of scoreless innings in relief to give the Ducks a chance at coming back. Long Island failed to score with runners at first-and-second with nobody out in the eighth but did rally in the ninth. A leadoff walk to Jordany Valdespin and a two-out RBI double by Taylor Ard trimmed the gap to 5-3. However, David Washington struck out to end the ballgame, capping an 0-for-9 performance by the Ducks with runners in scoring position.

GAME FOUR HIGHLIGHTS:

ON THE MOUND:

The Ducks will hand the ball to Dennis O’Grady on Sunday evening in hopes of keeping their postseason run going. The right-hander spent most of his season as a reliever before making four starts late in the year. He compiled a 6-4 record with a 3.82 ERA overall in 2018, including a 1-1 mark with a 3.12 ERA as a starter. He last pitched on Friday in Sugar Land, giving up three runs on three hits and three walks over six innings while striking out three, taking a hard-luck loss in a 3-1 defeat. The Floral Park native made 10 appearances against Somerset this season, all in relief, and was 1-1 with a 2.53 ERA, yielding four runs (three earned) in 10.2 innings. In the 2017 playoffs, O’Grady tossed three scoreless innings for the Ducks, yielding two hits and a walk while striking out two.

Meanwhile, a familiar face will be on the mound for the Patriots. Five-year Ducks veteran Bobby Blevins will make the start, as Somerset added him to the roster as an injury replacement for Vince Molesky, who was roughed up by the Ducks in Game One and is now done for the season with a shoulder injury. Blevins made one spot-start for the Patriots this year, coming on July 24th when he threw six scoreless innings in a 4-1 win over the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, allowing just two hits and a walk while striking out two. The righty also made three appearances (one start) with the Quebec Capitales of the Can-Am League in the regular season, going 1-0 with a 3.27 ERA. However, he posted a 6.39 ERA in three postseason games for Quebec (one start), yielding nine runs on 19 hits in 12.2 innings. In his five seasons with the Ducks, Blevins compiled a 17-22 record with a 3.88 ERA in 73 regular season games (69 starts). He also made five postseason starts with the Flock, going 2-2 with a 4.80 ERA over 30 innings of work.

FOLLOW ALONG: 

Fans can follow all the action for tonight’s game, and every Ducks game in 2018, on the Long Island Ducks Broadcast Network. Live 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 Ducks Video Center on the homepage. 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. For the full Ducks playoff history, CLICK HERE.

STARTING LINEUPS:

Long Island Ducks
#15 Jordany Valdespin – 2B
#28 Daniel Fields – CF
#20 Lew Ford – DH
#35 Taylor Ard – 3B
#30 David Washington – 1B
#38 Ramon Cabrera – C
#23 Rubi Silva – LF
#5   Miles Williams – RF
#12 Dan Lyons – SS

#17 Dennis O’Grady – RHP

Somerset Patriots
#25 Craig Massey – 2B
#8   Alfredo Rodriguez – SS
#47 Endy Chavez – DH
#17 Jayce Boyd – 1B
#11 Ramon Flores – LF
#21 Nate Coronado – 3B
#1   Justin Trapp – RF
#5   Mike Fransoso – CF
#4   Yovan Gonzalez – C

#9   Bobby Blevins – RHP


LIVE GAME UPDATES:

END 1: Both sides are retired in order during the first inning of the ballgame. Game Five is underway at TD Bank Ballpark!

TOP 2: A leadoff double by Taylor Ard and a two-out RBI infield single from Rubi Silva gives the Ducks an early 1-0 lead!

BOT 3: A two-run single up the middle by Endy Chavez following a single and two walks gives the Patriots a 2-1 advantage.

TOP 5: A two-out RBI single through the right side by David Washington has tied up the ballgame at two! It’s his ninth run batted in of the postseason!

BOT 6: Fernando Abad enters the game in the sixth and retires the side in order with two strikeouts!

END 8: Nine up and nine down for Fernando Abad over three perfect innings of relief tonight! We head to the ninth with the score even at two.

BOT 9: Francisco Rodriguez works around a leadoff double to strand the winning run in scoring position! We’ll need extra innings to determine the 2018 Liberty Division champion!

TOP 10: TWO-OUT RALLY! Three consecutive singles by Taylor Ard, Washington and Ramon Cabrera give the Ducks a 3-2 lead!

FINAL: Matt Larkins comes out of the bullpen and nails down the save!! Ducks win it 3-2 in 10 innings and are the Liberty Division Champions for a third consecutive season!!!

Game 67: Ducks at Skeeters

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

TONIGHT’S MATCHUP: A week-long stay in Texas wraps up for the Long Island Ducks (33-33) tonight as the play the Sugar Land Skeeters (29-37) in the rubber game of a seven-game series. The teams have split the first six games of the set, with Long Island taking the first three and Sugar Land responding with three consecutive wins. The Skeeters now have a 5-4 lead in the season series between the clubs.

YESTERDAY’S RECAP: The Ducks were held off the scoreboard for a second night in a row, falling to the Skeeters 3-0 on Wednesday evening.

Jake Hale (5-2) rebounded from a rough outing in the series opener to fire six scoreless innings on the mound for the Skeeters. Long Island managed to collect four hits off him, a pair of singles by Elmer Reyes and base hits from Dan Lyons and Lew Ford. Hale struck out three, did not walk a batter and only had a runner reach scoring position against him once. That was in the fifth when Delta Cleary Jr. reached on an error and advanced all the way to third on another. However, he was stranded there when Anthony Vega struck out.

Rafael Perez (5-3) battled through five and one-third innings for the Flock and was able to limit the damage to just three runs despite giving up nine hits. However, it would prove to be enough for Sugar Land to get the win. With a runner at second and two outs in the third, Perez allowed a walk to Anthony Giansanti before Travis Scott delivered an RBI single to left-center field. The southpaw got into trouble with one out in the sixth, allowing four straight batters to reach before he was lifted. Back-to-back doubles by Wilfredo Rodriguez and Hector Olivera produced the first run of the frame, and an RBI single by Derek Miller ended Perez’s night.

Three Ducks relievers – Rob Rogers, John Lannan, and David Aardsma – combined to pitch two and two-thirds innings of scoreless relief. They gave up just two hits and no walks combined while striking out three batters. Sugar Land’s bullpen turned in a scoreless outing as well though. Andrew Johnston, Scott Maine and Mark Haynes yielded just one hit over three scoreless innings with five strikeouts.

ON THE MOUND: The Ducks turn to their ace, John Brownell (5-1, 3.06 ERA), for the series finale. The right-hander earned the win by turning in his longest outing of the season on Saturday against Sugar Land. In seven and two-thirds innings of work, Brownell allowed just two runs on five hits and two walks while striking out four. He began the night with six scoreless frames as well, giving up just two hits and a walk in that span. The Ducks veteran, who just turned 34 years old on Wednesday, has compiled a 12-3 record with a 2.47 ERA in 17 career starts against Sugar Land.

In a rematch from Saturday’s 6-3 Ducks victory, Brownell will be opposed by former Duck Bobby Blevins (4-4, 4.62 ERA). Despite being outdueled five days ago, Blevins turned in a quality start, pitching six innings of three-run ball, yielding six hits and a walk with three strikeouts. All three runs he allowed came in the third innings, when Fehlandt Lentini connected for an RBI double to right and Ford picked up a two-run double down the left field line. In his two starts against the Flock this season, Blevins is 1-1 with a 2.25 ERA, giving up just three runs in 12 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 – CF 
#13 Elmer Reyes – 2B
#20 Lew Ford – DH
#34 Marc Krauss – LF
#23 Alex Burg – RF
#30 Ruben Gotay – 1B
#15 Jordan Pacheco – C
#12 Dan Lyons – SS
#29 Zach Goldstein – 3B

#7   John Brownell – RHP

Skeeters
#7   Josh Prince – 2B
#4   Kevin Ahrens – SS
#21 Anthony Giansanti – CF
#16 Travis Scott – 1B
#15 Bryan Pounds – 3B
#9   Wilfredo Rodriguez – C
#36 Hector Olivera – LF
#5   Joe Benson – RF
#6   Derek Miller – DH

#19 Bobby Blevins – RHP

UPDATE (7:28): BOT 1: A diving catch in left field by Marc Krauss robs Bryan Pounds of an RBI base hit and strands two on base!

UPDATE (8:08): BOT 4: Alex Burg with a full extension diving grab in right-center field to rob Wilfredo Rodriguez of a hit! OUTSTANDING play!

UPDATE (8:40): TOP 6: Fehlandt Lentini cranks a two-out solo homer to left field! Ducks lead 1-0!

UPDATE (8:49): TOP 7: Lew Ford extends the Ducks lead to 2-0 with a leadoff solo homer to left-center! It is Ford’s fourth longball of the year!

UPDATE (9:13): END 8: Another 1-2-3 inning for John Brownell! Ducks take a 2-0 lead into the ninth!

UPDATE (9:37): BOT 9: Skeeters plate two runs on three hits and a walk, all with two outs, to tie the game at two. We head to extras.

UPDATE (10:11): END 10: Neither side pushes across the winning run in the 10th. Onto the 11th we go.

UPDATE (10:35): FINAL: Hector Olivera’s RBI single in the bottom of the 11th gives Sugar Land a 3-2 win. We’ll see you at home tomorrow night!

Game 63: Ducks at Skeeters

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GAME TIME/LOCATION: 6:05 p.m. CDT at Constellation Field (Sugar Land, Texas)

TONIGHT’S MATCHUP: The Long Island Ducks (32-30) look to make it three consecutive victories in Texas when they battle the Sugar Land Skeeters (26-36) in game three of a seven-game series. Long Island has won four of their past six games, while Sugar Land has lost five consecutive games. Both teams are in third place in their respective division, with the Ducks sitting six games in back of first in the Liberty Division and the Skeeters trailing the Blue Crabs by 10 and a half games in the Freedom Division. The Ducks now lead the season series three games to two over Sugar Land.

YESTERDAY’S RECAP: The Ducks racked up 12 consecutive hits for a second consecutive night and combined that with a quality start from John Brownell to earn a 6-3 win over the Skeeters on Saturday night.

Facing former Duck Bobby Blevins (4-4), the Ducks erupted for three runs in the third inning to take an early lead. Fehlandt Lentini drove in the first run with an RBI double, and two batter later, Lew Ford drove in a pair with a two-run double. Blevins settled in to toss three scoreless innings after that, but the Ducks rallied for a run in the seventh inning. Lentini doubled with two outs, and Anthony Vega followed with a grounder up the third base line. The ball kicked off of Bryan Pounds’ glove for an infield single, and Lentini scored on Pounds’ error to increase Long Island’s lead to 4-0.

Brownell (5-1) dazzled over the first six innings, yielding just two hits and a walk without giving up a run. Sugar Land scratched across a run against him in the seventh when Joel Guzman’s sac fly drove in Pounds. One inning later, Brownell allowed a two-out single to Kevin Ahrens, and Kevin Baez summoned John Lannan to face lefty Travis Scott. Scott drew a walk, setting the stage for Pounds, who drove a two-run triple to right-center field. With the lead now just 4-3, Henry Hirsch came in from the bullpen and struck out Anthony Giansanti to end the threat.

Long Island got their two-run lead back in the ninth against Julio DePaula. Dan Lyons scored from third on a passed ball, and Ford connected for his second double and third RBI of the night, scoring Vega from third. Amalio Diaz came on for the bottom of the ninth and yielded a walk and a single with one out in the frame. However, he induced a ground ball from pinch hitter Lance Zawadzki for a game-ending double play, which was started by an incredible diving stop up the middle from Elmer Reyes.

ON THE MOUND: Matt Larkins (2-6, 5.12 ERA5-) takes the mound in the third game of the series for the Flock. The right-hander is coming off of a tough outing against the Somerset Patriots in game two of Tuesday’s doubleheader. He allowed six runs on nine hits in five innings, walking one while striking out six. Prior to that, the second-year Duck had given up just eight runs over 32 innings in his previous five starts, good for a 2.25 ERA. Larkins has also been terrific on the road this year, compiling a 3.38 ERA in his six games and an even better 2.54 ERA in just his five road starts. The Idaho resident took a no-decision against the Skeeters on May 30 at Bethpage Ballpark, but he pitched well, giving up only one run on four hits and four walks over six innings while striking out six. Long Island won the game in extra innings, 3-2.

The Skeeters will counter with Brett Marshall (5-3, 5.11 ERA) on Sunday evening. The right-hander enters the outing after suffering the loss on Tuesday night in New Britain. He gave up five runs on eight hits and two walks over five and one-third innings and struck out four batters in the 7-4 defeat. Sugar Land has lost each of Marshall’s last two starts, though he turned in a quality start in the first of those two. Tonight will be the third-year Skeeters’ first start of the season against Long Island. In 2016, he went 0-1 with a 9.00 ERA in two starts against the Ducks, yielding eight runs on 10 hits and 11 walks in eight 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
#5   Delta Cleary Jr. – CF
#20 Lew Ford – LF
#26 Angelo Songco – DH
#23 Alex Burg – C
#15 Jordan Pacheco – 1B
#30 Ruben Gotay – 3B
#6   Giovanny Alfonzo – 2B
#12 Dan Lyons – SS

#44 Matt Larkins – RHP

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

#2   Brett Marshall – RHP

UPDATE (6:15): TOP 1: Fehlandt Lentini leads off the game with a triple and scores on a groundout by Lew Ford! Ducks take an early 1-0 lead!

UPDATE (6:26): BOT 1: Skeeters put the first two on, but Matt Larkins retires three straight to keep Sugar Land off the scoreboard!

UPDATE (7:01): BOT 3: After a two-out walk by Kevin Ahrens on a close pitch, Travis Scott drives an RBI double to right-center, tying the game at one.

UPDATE (7:33): END 5: Larkins retires the side in order for the second consecutive inning and has set down seven in a row! Still 1-1 as we go to the sixth.

UPDATE (7:47): BOT 6: Larkins continues dealing, as he strikes out the side! The righty has struck out five tonight!

UPDATE (8:07): BOT 7: Skeeters put runners at the corners with two outs, but Larkins gets Derek Miller to ground out to short! 1-1 as we head to the eighth.

UPDATE (8:28): BOT 8: Patrick Crider and Zac Treece combine for a scoreless eighth inning! We head to the ninth, all tied at one.

UPDATE (8:46): TOP 9: Ducks take the lead! RBI singles from Jordan Pacheco, Giovanny Alfonzo & Lentini put the Flock in front 4-1!

UPDATE (9:04): FINAL: Long Island native Rob Rogers earns his first save of the year, & the Ducks earn their third win in a row, 4-1 over the Skeeters!

Game 62: Ducks at Skeeters

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GAME TIME/LOCATION: 6:05 p.m. CDT at Constellation Field (Sugar Land, Texas)

TONIGHT’S MATCHUP: The Long Island Ducks (31-30) take on the Sugar Land Skeeters (26-35) in game two of a seven-game series. Long Island has now won two of their past three games after taking the opener on Friday, and Sugar Land has now lost four consecutive games dating back to game two of Tuesday’s doubleheader. Both teams are in third place in their respective division, with the Ducks sitting six games in back of first in the Liberty Division and the Skeeters trailing the Blue Crabs by nine and a half games in the Freedom Division. The season series between the teams is tied at two.

YESTERDAY’S RECAP: A pair of multi-run innings and a strong start from Rafael Perez led the Ducks to a 5-1 win on Friday night in Texas.

Long Island got their night started in the second inning against Sugar Land starter Jake Hale (4-2). After retiring the first five batters he faced, Hale allowed back-to-back two-out singles to Elmer Reyes and Ruben Gotay. That set the stage for Giovanny Alfonzo, who connected on a two-run double down the right field line.

It remained 2-0 until the top of the sixth inning when the first four Ducks batters picked up hits off of Hale to knock him out of the game. After back-to-back singles by Lew Ford and Angelo Songco, Alex Burg grounded an RBI double down the left field line and Reyes drove a two-run single to left-center. Hale finished with five runs and nine hits allowed in five innings of work.

Meanwhile, Perez (5-2) cruised over the first five innings of the ballgame, retiring 15 of the first 16 batters he faced. His only blemish in that time was a single by Derek Miller in the third. However, he seemed to run out of gas on a hot and humid night in the sixth. Perez allowed back-to-back singles to open the frame and nearly surrendered home runs to both Josh Prince and Anthony Giansanti. However, both balls went just foul down the left field line. Perez retired both but walked Travis Scott with two outs, and that was followed by a passed ball that scored Hector Olivera.

After a walk to Kevin Ahrens that brought the tying run to the plate, Kevin Baez summoned Rob Rogers from the bullpen. The Long Island native got Bryan Pounds to hit into a force out at third on the first pitch he threw to end the threat. Rogers would then pitch back-to-back scoreless innings in the seventh and eighth to keep the 5-1 lead intact. Amalio Diaz got into some trouble in the ninth, allowing a walk and a single to begin the frame. However, he rebounded to strike out the side and seal the win.

ON THE MOUND: Saturday night will feature a pair of former teammates and two-time Atlantic League champions on the mound. John Brownell (4-1, 3.15 ERA) will take the baseball for the Ducks. The right-hander got off to a rough start on Monday night, surrendering six runs in three and two-thirds innings against the Patriots before rain postponed the game and erased the stats. Prior to Monday, he allowed four earned runs in back-to-back starts on June 9 against Bridgeport and June 14 at Somerset, with the Ducks dropping both games. Brownell will be making his first start against the Skeeters this season but has faced them 16 times in his career, compiling an 11-3 record and a 2.48 ERA.

On the other side will be Bobby Blevins (4-3, 4.63 ERA), who spent time with the Ducks from 2012-16 and won championships with Brownell in the first two seasons. The righty took a no-decision his last time out, surrendering three unearned runs on five hits and a walk. He also struck out three in Sugar Land’s 7-6 loss at Bridgeport on Sunday, June 18. Blevins lost his two outings prior to that as well and has compiled a 5.29 ERA in his last three outings (10 ER in 17 innings). The Briarcliff, N.Y. native defeated the Flock in his first matchup with his former team on June 1 at Bethpage Ballpark, tossing six scoreless innings and yielding five hits and two walks with six strikeouts.

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
#13 Elmer Reyes – 2B
#15 Jordan Pacheco – C
#6   Giovanny Alfonzo – 3B
#5   Delta Cleary Jr. – CF
#12 Dan Lyons – SS

#7   John Brownell – RHP

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

#19 Bobby Blevins – RHP

UPDATE (6:22): We are underway in Sugar Land, as both sides trade zeroes in the opening inning.

UPDATE (6:56): TOP 3: Ducks strike first! An RBI double by Fehlandt Lentini and a two-run double by Lew Ford give the Flock an early 3-0 lead!

UPDATE (7:27): END 5: John Brownell tosses his third consecutive 1-2-3 inning and has now retired 10 straight Skeeters! Onto the sixth inning we go.

UPDATE (7:54): TOP 7: A two-out double by Lentini and a single by Anthony Vega, along with an error, give the Ducks a 4-0 lead!

UPDATE (8:06): BOT 7: Sugar Land scratches out a run on a sacrifice fly to right from Joel Guzman. Long Island’s lead is now 4-1.

UPDATE (8:38): BOT 8: A two-out, two-run triple by Bryan Pounds makes it a 4-3 game. However, Henry Hirsch comes on to strike out Anthony Giansanti!

UPDATE (8:52): TOP 9: Ducks get their three-run lead back! Ford’s RBI double and a passed ball give the Flock a 6-3 advantage!

UPDATE (9:07): FINAL: Tremendous diving stop by Elmer Reyes to start a game-ending 4-6-3 double play!! Ducks win again in Texas, 6-3!

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