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Backstop Consistency Pays Off for Burg

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Alex Burg had two goals upon joining the Ducks for the first time in 2017: to win an Atlantic League championship and to earn a contract from a Major League organization. While he came up just short of accomplishing the former, he can now celebrate achieving the latter.

The catcher, who had signed on for a second season with Long Island back on February 1, was inked to a minor league contract by the Los Angeles Dodgers this weekend. He will head to Glendale, Ariz. to join the team at its spring training facility, looking to prove his worth to the organization.

“I’m really excited for this opportunity,” Burg said via telephone. “I’m hoping it all works out and that I get the chance to show I can play every day.”

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Getting to this point required a decision that Burg made back during the spring of 2017. Prior to beginning his first experience in the Atlantic League, he knew exactly what he hoped to gain from the opportunity. The Washington native was looking for some consistency after spending seven seasons as a utility player in three different Major League organizations.

“I told [Ducks President/GM] Mike [Pfaff] that I wanted to catch every day,” Burg recalled. “I felt like it was my best position but was something I hadn’t really done much of.”

During his time in the San Francisco Giants, Miami Marlins and Texas Rangers’ systems, the first place to look for Burg was not behind the plate. He spent most of his innings in right field (803.2) but was also frequently found at third base (649.0). He spent some time at first base, second base and in left field as well. Versatility is a tremendous asset for any ballplayer and a trait that field managers adore. However, Burg’s belief was that his best position was at catcher and that the key to returning to an MLB organization would be to spend a full season there.

“I felt like that was the best way to get back into affiliated baseball,” he opined. “If I could show that I could catch and still carry an offensive stick, I would obviously be more valued. Throughout my time in minor league baseball, everyone knows that I could go play any position with no issues. However, proving that I could catch would make me more appealing.”

Burg had never caught more than 25 games in a single regular season entering his inaugural year with the Flock in 2017. By year’s end, he would catch 98 games during the season and seven more in the playoffs. While the result was not, at least immediately, a contract with an MLB club, the outcome was what Burg called “the most fun [he’s] ever had playing baseball in [his] entire life.”

Burg-Baez

2017 represented a little bit of everything for the 30-year-old. While taking to a specific position for the duration of the season, the experience required a great deal of work to prove his worth behind the plate. As the season progressed, Burg received a great deal of help from his teammates and coaches and put in extensive work to refine his craft. The results on the field, in his opinion, were certainly a positive development.

“I was really happy with my defense,” Burg exclaimed. “That was something that was a definite question mark of mine. It was my first year of catching every day and was something I had to prove to myself that I could do. I felt like I made a lot of strides catching-wise. I still have a ways to go in that aspect, but I was really happy with the way I was able to play defense.”

A major reason why the Washington State University alum was able to develop defensively was the work he did with teammate Jordan Pacheco. The former big leaguer, who, like Burg, was signed by an MLB organization this offseason (Twins), was also fine-tuning his craft behind the plate. After suffering a shoulder injury the previous year, Pacheco needed to build back up the strength in his arm while also reacclimating to the role. This dynamic offered the forum for an exchange of tutelage between the two backstops.

“It was never a competition between us, which was really cool,” Burg reminisced. “Baseball can be kind of a dog-eat-dog world, but it never felt like that.  He told me that I threw really well and would ask me what I would do to get those results. Hitting-wise, I would tell him that I loved the way he swung and would ask what he did there. It became almost like an offseason friendship where every day we would show up, go over what we wanted to work on and then get out there to get better.”

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Though he was happy with the improvements made in his defensive game, his offensive performance was a bit of a bumpy road. Burg got out to a strong start to his season, driving in seven runs over the season’s first eight games and bringing a .278 batting average into the month of June. After securing a spot in the Atlantic League All-Star Game, the wear and tear from catching so frequently began to take its toll. Burg struggled in the second half despite the Ducks earning a postseason berth, and he ended the year with a .225 batting average, well below the .260 average over his previous seven seasons.

“I was extremely disappointed in how I broke down at the end of the season, in terms of my offense,” Burg noted. “I had a huge first half and made the All-Star Game. Being that it was the first time catching full-time, my body wasn’t used to the rigors of that second half. I was really disappointed in the way that I finished.”

Fortunately for the former Giants draft pick, a playoff spot gave him the opportunity to wipe the slate clean and show that he could still be dangerous offensively. In Long Island’s seven postseason games, no other Duck had a batting average within 50 points of him. Burg hit .348 (8-for-23), with the next closest teammate being Marc Krauss at .296. In addition, Burg clubbed two of the team’s three postseason homers, scored five runs and drew four walks.

Because of his tremendous turnaround, the Ducks were able to claim their second consecutive Liberty Division Championship over the rival Somerset Patriots. Looking back now on what allowed Burg to flip the proverbial switch, he was able to attribute the success to a conversation with a close friend and fellow ballplayer whom he works out with in the offseason.

“[Arizona Diamondbacks third baseman] Jake Lamb is a really good friend of mine,” he noted. “He had a second half struggle as well. We were talking, and I asked him, ‘what are you trying to do?’ He said that he just tried to back up on the ball a little more and simplify everything. Being in the playoffs and knowing that you’re 0-for-0 and get to start over helps a ton. Your numbers in the playoffs don’t matter. It’s just about trying to win as many games as possible and trying to bring home a championship. That mindset helped me and reenergized me offensively for sure.”

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While his goal of bringing home a championship came up short against the York Revolution, his first experience in the Atlantic League was an overwhelming success. He was able to enjoy a high level of play, focus on winning and develop a consistent presence at one position. All of that has now culminated in a second chance at achieving his Major League dream, a chance that might not have happened otherwise.

“I feel like it exceeded all my expectations,” Burg asserted about his year with the Flock. “I really had no clue what I was walking into, and I had no idea that the baseball would be that good. The star power that you see in the league and the guys that can still play, it was truly awesome. I had more fun playing baseball last year than I probably had in my entire life. That was the main reason I was ready to come back [before the Dodgers offered a contract].”

Now that he has a full year of catching under his belt, Burg knows what to expect from the position. The mental and physical grind is tougher than just about any other position on the field. It has a significant effect over the course of time. Knowing this, and his desire to avoid a downturn as the season progresses, Burg has focused his offseason workouts on keeping his endurance high.

“I’ve just done a little bit more leg work and endurance-type activities,” he claimed. “You’re trying to feel stronger for a longer period of time. I’ve just developed a routine of doing similar things to what I had been but focusing more on my legs or increasing the number of reps. I also created a better maintenance program for the season. I think that will be a big help too. My lifts weren’t as good during the season as I would have liked them to be. I’m just trying to figure out a way to keep my body in better shape.”

It remains unclear where Burg will begin his 2018 season. He split time at Double-A and Triple-A in 2016 prior to joining the Flock, leaving either of those as his likely destination. However, the sky is the limit for him with the Dodgers. With a new workout regimen to keep up his strength, a full year of catching experience in his arsenal and a second chance at living out his dream, Burg could one day be wearing Dodger blue in a big league ballpark.

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Pacheco Turns Whirlwind Year into Second Chance at MLB

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What a year it’s been for Jordan Pacheco! Last spring, he received a new opportunity in his professional career: To play baseball for the Long Island Ducks. Then in the fall, he became a father for the very first time. Now, he has the chance to return to a Major League clubhouse.

The catcher, who played 42 games with the Ducks in 2017 and has 377 games of big league experience, signed a contract with the Minnesota Twins organization on Monday. He will be with the club during spring training in Fort Myers, Fla., with the plan to spend time in both minor and Major League camp. Though it remains unclear where he will begin the season, Pacheco is simply ecstatic to have a shot at getting back to “The Show”.

“It’s definitely awesome,” the 31-year-old exclaimed via telephone this week. “I couldn’t have asked for anything better especially after only playing a little bit last year. I’m definitely ready and excited for it.”

When asked about the Twins’ expectations for him, Pacheco replied “They’re just expecting me to play well and show my versatility. I hope to be able to help that organization out, whether I’m in Triple-A or the big leagues. ”

Pacheco-Catching

That versatility was certainly on display in 2017. After being released by the Cincinnati Reds following surgery the year prior to repair a torn labrum in his throwing shoulder, Pacheco needed another avenue to continue his road back to a roster spot. Enter the Ducks and the Atlantic League. Long Island signed him on May 26, giving him the opportunity to join Alex Burg in a rotation behind the plate. At the same time, he also was able to showcase his ability at first and second base, playing 12 games at the former and one at the latter.

“I didn’t have too many expectations going in,” he noted. “I just wanted to be able to go where I could play and come back from my shoulder surgery, and that was a perfect spot.”

Pacheco’s first month-and-a-half with the Ducks was a bit of a struggle for the backstop. He entered the All-Star break batting below .200 and had just three multi-hit games. Despite this, manager Kevin Baez stuck with the ex-Major Leaguer and gave him the opportunity to rebound. Pacheco then coupled that confidence with plenty of extra work on the field and in the batting cage before games. While working on his own game, he also was commonly seen offering up his veteran experience to fellow teammates.

“From the start, I felt like I had spent a bunch of time not being able to hit after my surgery, and I felt like I needed to make some time up,” Pacheco recalled. “From then on, you enjoy your teammates and you feel like you’re not even working hard. You’re just hitting, taking ground balls and having fun.  I do enjoy if I can help anybody out or if they can help me out. We were there to play baseball and be the best we possibly could be.”

All that hard work certainly paid off. The Albuquerque native appeared in 19 games during the second half of the season. He reached base safely at least once in every one, and he hit safely in all but four. He had multiple hits in three of his first five games and turned in a four-hit, four-RBI performance on July 29 in Bridgeport. Pacheco’s batting average skyrocketed from .188 to .273 and his on-base percentage rose from .235 to .351. At the beginning of August, the Ducks had won three consecutive games that would kick start a franchise record-tying 12-game win streak. However, on August 6, Pacheco’s season came to a crashing halt. An errant pitch from Bluefish pitcher Charles Brewer fractured his right wrist, ending his season prematurely.

“It definitely was disappointing,” he expressed. “I was there to play, and I thought we were playing well, winning and having a good time. Obviously when something like that happens, you can’t do anything about it.”

While the injury was a crushing blow for Pacheco, he was able to shift his focus positively from baseball to family.

“It did give me a lot more time to come home. My wife was pregnant, and she was just about due to deliver the baby. I guess the silver lining was that I got to spend more time with them instead of being out there playing. I took that as a positive, and I enjoyed every bit of that.”

Pacheco-Hitting

Jordan and his wife, Jessica, gave birth to a baby girl named Joie (pronounced like Joey), on September 23. Coincidentally that same day, the Ducks defeated the Somerset Patriots to earn their second consecutive Liberty Division championship and fifth in seven seasons. Though the couple was entering the world of parenthood for the first time, there was a sense of calm and excitement among them both that they could all be together as a family for a while.

“I don’t think there were any nerves,” Jordan reminisced. “We had both been ready for it and were definitely excited to meet her and get her into this world. Obviously when she was born, there were a lot of things that changed for me as a Dad and your perspective on having to take care of somebody. Other than that, she’s just a great baby. Just watching her and how much she changes every week, those are things you can’t get back.”

If the birth of his daughter and watching her grow over the first three months of her life wasn’t enough joy for Pacheco, the news he received to kick off 2018 certainly had to make him smile. Despite his back-to-back injury-shortened seasons, the Twins saw value in what he did as a member of the Ducks and extended him a contract offer. While playing baseball will take him away from his new family, the thought of getting back to the game’s highest level was too enticing to turn away from.

“They always say ‘It’s easy to get there, but it’s tougher to stay there,’ and I truly agree with that statement,” Pacheco asserted. “Being at the highest level and in that atmosphere is something that you almost get addicted to. The stadiums are gorgeous, the lights are bright, and those are the things you kind of miss. That’s definitely something that drives me.”

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Not only does he want to achieve those Major League aspirations once again. He wants to show himself, and others in his life, that he can complete the comeback story he is writing.

“Playing again after my shoulder surgery, I want to prove to myself that I can get back no matter what,” he said. “Obviously when you have a little daughter, you want to show her that Dad didn’t give up when he got hurt a little bit. That’s kind of my motivation right now.”

In the end, Pacheco is able to sit back and appreciate how the events of 2017 have transformed his life. Thanks to the Ducks and the Atlantic League, he was able to continue playing ball after being released from a Major League organization. Although his time on Long Island was cut short, it was instrumental in providing him the forum to continue his rehab and get back on the path to the big leagues.

“I think the Ducks were amazing,” Pacheco proclaimed. “They allowed me to go at my own pace and still be able to get on a baseball field and play some good competition. I thoroughly thank them for that opportunity, and it definitely was a big help as far as where I was at in my rehab and my career to just get out there and work and do whatever I needed to.”

Pacheco-Crosses-Home

Baseball continues to remain as unpredictable as ever. Fluke injuries can happen at any time. Organizational needs can change in an instant. While there is no way of knowing for sure what lies ahead for Pacheco, should the road lead him back outside of Major League Baseball, there is no doubt in his mind about where he would like to continue his career.

“I would always consider the Ducks, no matter what,” he asserted. “It’s a great organization, the people there are awesome, the fans were great, and the baseball definitely exceeded my expectations.”

Game 98: Ducks vs. Bluefish

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After a Waddle-Off win last night, the Ducks look to make it two in a row against the Bluefish.

GAME TIME/LOCATION:

6:35 p.m. at Bethpage Ballpark (Central Islip, N.Y.)

TODAY’S MATCHUP:

The Long Island Ducks (12-15; 48-49) continue their four-game series with the Bridgeport Bluefish (15-13; 56-42) at Bethpage Ballpark. This series is pivotal for the Ducks, who enter Saturday’s matchup 2.5 games behind the Bluefish in the Liberty Division Second Half standings. Bridgeport took two-of-three from Long Island at The Ballpark at Harbor Yard last weekend, but the 2017 Ferry Cup Series favors the Ducks by a narrow 8-7 margin through 15 contests. This four-game set wraps up a stretch of seven games between the cross-sound rivals in 10 days.

YESTERDAY’S RECAP: 

The Long Island Ducks defeated the Bridgeport Bluefish 11-10 in waddle-off fashion on Friday night in the second game of a four-game series at Bethpage Ballpark.

Bridgeport took a 2-0 lead in the first inning on RBI singles by Jose Cuevas and Jonathan Galvez off Ducks starter Henderson Alvarez. Long Island answered with a three-run bottom of the first to leapfrog in front. A wild pitch that scored Quintin Berry, an RBI triple by Marc Krauss and a sacrifice fly from Angelo Songco plated the runs.

The Ducks extended the lead to 8-2 with a five-spot in the fourth. RBI doubles from Ruben Gotay and Delta Cleary Jr., an RBI single by Elmer Reyes and a two-run double by Berry highlighted the inning. The Bluefish closed to within 8-5 in the fifth on a pair of run-scoring groundouts and an RBI double by Tony Abreu.

In the sixth, a five-run inning of their own put the Bluefish on top 10-8. Ozney Guillen’s RBI double, Cuevas’ RBI single and a three-run homer to left by Galvez did the damage. However, Long Island answered back again in the bottom of the inning to tie the game at 10 on Songco’s two-run single to right.

It remained even until the bottom of the ninth when Long Island broke through for the win. Following a walk to Alex Burg, a single by Dan Lyons and an intentional walk to Cleary Jr., Jordan Pacheco drove a walk-off single to right that scored the winning run.

Neither started factored into the decision. Alvarez lasted five innings, allowing five runs on nine hits and a walk with one strikeout. Lara pitched four and one-third innings, surrendering eight runs on eight hits and three walks while striking out six. Rob Rogers (3-0) earned the win with two scoreless innings of relief, giving up a hit and a walk while striking out two. Manny Delcarmen (2-2) took the loss, yielding a run on two hits and two walks in one-third of an inning.

Cleary Jr. and Lyons each had three hits to lead the Flock. Berry, Pacheco and Marc Krauss each added two.

HIGHLIGHTS:

ON THE MOUND:

Long Island hands the ball to right-hander Matt Larkins in the pivotal third game of the four-game series tonight. In 19 appearances (18 starts) Larkins is 4-6 with a 4.26 ERA this season, and has struck out 85 while walking just 25 in 103.1 innings pitched. In his last start on July 31 at York, the right-hander didn’t have his best stuff, allowing three runs on eight hits in five innings, but escaped with no decision in a 10-7 Ducks triumph. Larkins has made three previous starts against Bridgeport this season, and is 1-2 with a 3.06 ERA, though he has not faced the club since June 10.

Bridgeport sends Cuban righty Reinier Roibal to the slab. Roibal has made five appearances (three starts) this season, and is 1-0 with a 3.56 ERA. In 17.2 innings pitched, the 10th-year pro has struck out 20 batters and walked nine while allowing 19 hits. In his last outing at Southern Maryland on July 31, Roibal completed his first quality start of the season, allowing three runs on seven hits in six innings, striking out seven and not walking a batter. He has not faced the Ducks this season.

FOLLOW ALONG: 

Fans can follow all the action for today’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 today’s game via Pointstreak’s Game Live application by CLICKING HERE.

DUCKS GAME NOTES: 

For today’s full Ducks game notes, please CLICK HERE.

STARTING LINEUPS:

Long Island Ducks
#47 Quintin Berry – RF
#5   Delta Cleary Jr. – CF
#15 Jordan Pacheco – DH
#34 Marc Krauss – LF
#26 Angelo Songco – 1B
#13 Elmer Reyes – 2B
#23 Alex Burg – C
#6   Giovanny Alfonzo – 3B
#12 Dan Lyons – SS

#44 Matt Larkins – RHP

Bridgeport Bluefish
#2   Luis Hernandez – SS
#11 Jose Cuevas – 3B
#32 Welington Dotel – CF
#27 Daniel Fields – DH
#5   Jose Gil – C
#6   Tony Abreu – 2B
#20 Jonathan Galvez – 1B
#35 Andrew Lambo – RF
#3   Angelys Nina – LF

#16 Reinier Roibal – RHP


LIVE GAME UPDATES:

TOP 2: The Bluefish take a 1-0 lead on a solo home run from Jose Gil.

BOT 2: That was fast. Alex Burg crushes an opposite-field home run to tie the game at one! Ninth of the year for the All-Star catcher!

TOP 4: Bridgeport adds a run in the top of the second with three hits and takes a 2-1 lead.

BOT 4: Another one! Marc Krauss goes yard for the 15th time this season as the Ducks grab a 3-2 lead over the Bluefish!

BOT 6: Dan Lyons gets hit with a pitch with the bases loaded to bring home another run and the Ducks lead 4-2.

TOP 8: The Bluefish add a run to cut our lead to 4-3, but Dan Lyons throws the potential tying run out at the plate to end the inning!

FINAL: Ducks 4, Bluefish 3

W: Larkins (5-6)
L: Roibal (1-1)
SV: Diaz (5)

Game 97: Ducks vs. Bluefish

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Dan Lyons and the Ducks look to get on the right track tonight against Bridgeport.

GAME TIME/LOCATION:

6:35 p.m. at Bethpage Ballpark (Central Islip, N.Y.)

TODAY’S MATCHUP:

The Long Island Ducks (11-15; 47-49) continue their four-game series with the Bridgeport Bluefish (15-12; 56-41) at Bethpage Ballpark. This series is pivotal for the Ducks, who enter Friday’s matchup 3.5 games behind the Bluefish in the Liberty Division Second Half standings. Bridgeport took two-of-three from Long Island at The Ballpark at Harbor Yard last weekend, but the 2017 Ferry Cup Series is tied at seven through 14 meetings. This four-game set wraps up a stretch of seven games between the cross-sound rivals in 10 days.

YESTERDAY’S RECAP: 

The Long Island Ducks were defeated by the Bridgeport Bluefish 8-2 on Thursday night in the opener of a four-game series at Bethpage Ballpark.

Both sides traded zeroes until the fourth inning when the Bluefish plated four runs against Ducks starter John Brownell. A two-run home run to center field by Daniel Fields, a run-scoring error and an RBI single by D’Arby Myers did the damage. Jonathan Galvez hit a two-out solo homer to left-center in the fifth which extended the lead to five.

Long Island cracked the scoreboard in the bottom of the fifth on an RBI ground rule double from Alex Burg and a two-out RBI single by Quintin Berry off Bluefish starter Manny Parra. However, a two-run homer to left by Welington Dotel in the sixth pushed their advantage to 7-2. Fields’ second longball of the night, a solo shot to left in the seventh, rounded out the scoring.

Parra (1-0) earned the win, pitching five and two-thirds innings of two-run ball, allowing five hits and two walks while striking out seven. Brownell (8-3) suffered the loss, surrendering five runs (four earned) on 10 hits over five innings with two strikeouts. Zac Treece tossed two scoreless innings for the Ducks, striking out four batters.

Burg and Jordan Pacheco led the Flock with two hits apiece.

HIGHLIGHTS:

ON THE MOUND:

The Ducks send former major leaguer Henderson Alvarez to the mound to make his fourth start of the season. In his first three outings, Alvarez is 0-1 with a stellar 0.90 ERA. He has struck out six and walked six while allowing 10 hits in 10 innings while still being stretched out. In his last start at The Ballpark at Harbor Yard on July 30, Alvarez got no decision while tossing four scoreless innings, striking out a season-high five while walking three and allowing three hits. He left the game with a 7-0 lead, but the Bluefish won 8-7 after an eighth-inning comeback.

The Bluefish respond with Rainy Lara, who matched up against Alvarez in that July 30 game. The Ducks battered Lara for seven runs on 11 hits in five innings, and Lara has an ERA of 11.40 in his last three starts (19 ER/ 15.0 IP) and has allowed 33 hits in that span. Overall, the 2017 Atlantic League All-Star is 7-6 with a 4.01 ERA, and has allowed 111 hits in 98.2 innings, walking 38 and striking out 56. Lara is in his first season with the Bluefish after spending the first seven years of his career in the New York Mets organization, reaching as high as Triple-A.

FOLLOW ALONG: 

Fans can follow all the action for today’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 today’s game via Pointstreak’s Game Live application by CLICKING HERE.

DUCKS GAME NOTES: 

For today’s full Ducks game notes, please 8-4 BP.

STARTING LINEUPS:

Long Island Ducks
#47 Quintin Berry – RF
#5   Delta Cleary Jr. – CF
#15 Jordan Pacheco – C
#34 Marc Krauss – DH
#26 Angelo Songco – 1B
#30 Ruben Gotay – 3B
#13 Elmer Reyes – 2B
#23 Alex Burg – LF
#12 Dan Lyons – SS

#37 Henderson Alvarez – RHP

Bridgeport Bluefish
#10 D’Arby Myers – CF
#2   Luis Hernandez – SS
#11 Jose Cuevas – 3B
#27 Daniel Fields – LF
#20 Jonathan Galvez – 1B
#6   Tony Abreu – 2B
#40 Gustavo Molina – C
#35 Andrew Lambo – DH
#32 Welington Dotel – RF

#14 Rainy Lara – RHP


LIVE GAME UPDATES:

Check back here for live game updates after first pitch.

UPDATE (6:56): TOP 1: RBI singles by Jose Cuevas and Jonathan Galvez give the Bluefish an early 2-0 lead.

UPDATE (7:14): BOT 1: A three-run frame puts the Flock on top 3-2! Marc Krauss picked up an RBI triple & Angelo Songco had a sacrifice fly.

UPDATE (7:44): END 3: Still a 3-2 game in favor of Long Island after three innings of play.

UPDATE (8:15): BOT 4: A five-run fourth inning for Long Island puts them ahead 8-2! Six hits in the frame for the Ducks!

UPDATE (8:26): TOP 5: Bridgeport responds with a three-run fifth inning to cut into the Ducks’ lead. Now an 8-5 ballgame.

UPDATE (9:17): BOT 6: After a five-run top of the sixth gave Bridgeport the lead, Angelo Songco has delivered a two-out, two-run single to tie it at 10!

UPDATE (10:15): END 8: Neither side is able to push across the go-ahead run in the seventh or eighth. Still tied at 10 as we head to the ninth.

UPDATE (10:40): FINAL: Jordan Pacheco delivers a bases loaded, waddle-off single to right, and the Ducks defeat the Bluefish 11-10 in a wild one!

Game 96: Ducks vs. Bluefish

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Marc Krauss looks to power the Ducks as they start a four-game series with the rival Bluefish.

GAME TIME/LOCATION:

6:35 p.m. at Bethpage Ballpark (Central Islip, N.Y.)

TODAY’S MATCHUP:

The Long Island Ducks (11-14; 47-48) begin a seven-game homestand tonight by taking on the Bridgeport Bluefish (14-12; 55-14) at Bethpage Ballpark. This four-game series is pivotal for the Ducks, who enter 2.5 games behind the Bluefish in the Liberty Division Second Half standings. Bridgeport took two-of-three from Long Island at The Ballpark at Harbor Yard last weekend, but the 2017 Ferry Cup Series favors the Ducks 7-6 through 13 meetings. This four-game set wraps up a stretch of seven games between the cross-sound rivals in 10 days.

YESTERDAY’S RECAP: 

The Long Island Ducks were defeated by the York Revolution 4-3 on Wednesday night in the finale of a three-game series at PeoplesBank Park.

Marc Krauss gave the Ducks the early lead with a first inning RBI single off Revolution starter Steve Janas. Long Island extended the lead to two in the third on Jordan Pacheco’s run-scoring groundout to shortstop.

The Revolution plated a run in the fourth on Telvin Nash’s RBI single to left. However, Ruben Gotay got the run back for the Flock in the fifth with an RBI single to center. York answered right away though, as Alonzo Harris lifted a three-run home run over the left field wall in the bottom of the fifth to put the Revs on top 4-3.

Janas did not factor into the decision but pitched four and one-third innings of three-run ball, allowing six hits and four walks with two strikeouts. Jared Gaynor (1-0) picked up the win after pitching a scoreless two-thirds of an inning, allowing a hit and a walk. Alfredo Simon (1-3) suffered the loss, yielding four runs on seven hits in four and one-third innings while striking out seven. Brad Allen earned his 14th save with a perfect ninth inning.

Quintin Berry led the Flock with three hits and two stolen bases. Jake Dunning and John Lannan combined to pitch three and one-third scoreless innings of relief for Long Island.

HIGHLIGHTS:

ON THE MOUND:

Long Island ace righty John Brownell gets the start for the Ducks to open the series with the rival Bluefish. In 17 starts this season, Brownell is 8-2 with a 3.20 ERA, and has struck out 66 and walked 34 in 104.0 innings pitched. On July 29 at Bridgeport in his last start, the right-hander threw five innings, allowing one run on five hits, striking out five and not issuing a walk. Brownell has fared well against the Bluefish this season, going 3-1 with a 2.08 ERA (6 ER/26.0 IP) in four starts against the foe this year. He has thrown seven innings in three of his four outings against Bridgeport.

Bridgeport responds by sending former major leaguer Manny Parra to the bump, making his Bluefish debut. The southpaw spent eight years in Major League Baseball, pitching with the Milwaukee Brewers (2007-10, 12) and Cincinnati Reds (2013-15). After primarily being a starter for the first four years of his career, Parra has worked exclusively as a reliever since 2012, and owns a 29-41 record with a 4.90 ERA in 628.0 MLB innings across 322 appearances. The 34-year-old began the season with the Iowa Cubs of the Pacific Coast League and went 0-1 with a 14.09 ERA in 7.2 innings across 11 appearances, where he allowed a staggering 16 hits and 14 runs (12 earned).

FOLLOW ALONG: 

Fans can follow all the action for today’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 today’s game via Pointstreak’s Game Live application by CLICKING HERE.

DUCKS GAME NOTES: 

For today’s full Ducks game notes, please CLICK HERE.

STARTING LINEUPS:

Long Island Ducks
#47 Quintin Berry – RF
#5   Delta Cleary Jr. – CF
#15 Jordan Pacheco – 1B
#34 Marc Krauss – LF
#30 Ruben Gotay – DH
#13 Elmer Reyes – 2B
#23 Alex Burg – C
#6   Giovanny Alfonzo – 3B
#12 Dan Lyons – SS

#7   John Brownell – RHP

Bridgeport Bluefish
#10 D’Arby Myers – CF
#2   Luis Hernandez – SS
#11 Jose Cuevas – 3B
#15 Sean Burroughs – 1B
#20 Jonathan Galvez – DH
#27 Daniel Fields – LF
#40 Gustavo Molina – C
#6   Tony Abreu – 2B
#32 Welington Dotel – RF

#22 Manny Parra – LHP


LIVE GAME UPDATES:

BOT 2: We are scoreless through two frames at Bethpage Ballpark tonight thanks to some great Ducks defense!

TOP 4: The Bluefish strike for four runs and take a 4-0 lead over the Ducks.

BOT 5: Alex Burg doubles to centerfield to drive in a run and get the Ducks on the board. Bridgeport leads 5-2.

TOP 6: The Bluefish get a couple runs back and take a 7-2 lead.

TOP 7: It’s time to stretch at Bethpage Ballpark, and the Bluefish lead the Ducks, 8-2.

FINAL: Bluefish 8, Ducks 2.

W: Parra (1-0)
L: Brownell (8-3)

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