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End of an Era

After 20 years of incredible games and high-intensity drama, one of the Atlantic League’s fiercest rivalries is coming to an end. Last week, it was announced that the Somerset Patriots would become the Double-A affiliate of the New York Yankees beginning with the 2021 season. The change was one of several made in the Yankees organization, with Trenton (AA), Charleston (A) and Staten Island (A-) losing their affiliations. Tampa will transition from High-A to Low-A status, and Hudson Valley, previously of the now-defunct New York-Penn League, will become the Yankees’ new High-A affiliate.

Somerset’s departure means the loss of the Atlantic League’s last remaining founding franchise. While they played their first season on the road as construction was being completed on their home ballpark, the Patriots were one of six teams that began play in the league’s inaugural season in 1998. The others included the Newburgh Black Diamonds (Lehigh Valley, 1999-2001; Pennsylvania Road Warriors, 2002-04), Nashua Pride (moved to Can-Am League in 2006), Atlantic City Surf (moved to Can-Am League in 2007), Newark Bears (moved to Can-Am League in 2011) and Bridgeport Bluefish (ceased operations after 2017 season). Now, the Long Island Ducks, who began play in 2000, are the longest-running active Atlantic League franchise.

In addition, the change also marks the end of one of the top rivalries in ALPB history. While the Ducks always maintained their cross-sound feud with the Bridgeport Bluefish, highlighted by the annual battle for the Ferry Cup since 2009, the Ducks and Patriots grew to become true foes over the past decade. Each season featured closely-contested matchups that often included extra-inning marathons, walk-off thrillers, and edge-of-your-seat drama.

In 20 years of regular season matchups, the Ducks held a 194-188 advantage over the Patriots, having played more games against the Pats than any other team. However, prior to 2019 (a year in which the Ducks won a championship and Somerset missed the playoffs), the margin was just one game (182-181 in favor of the Ducks). Long Island held a 103-91 advantage in Central Islip, while Somerset had a 97-91 edge in New Jersey. From 2014-2018, the teams split their season series three times, with the Ducks earning an 11-9 series win in the other two.

Like any good rivalry though, it is the playoff meetings that truly make it special. Prior to 2013, Long Island had never faced Somerset in the postseason, and the two were in opposite divisions. The Patriots didn’t become a Liberty Division opponent until 2014. However, over the past seven years, the Ducks and Patriots did battle in five different postseason series, including four consecutive Liberty Division Championship Series matchups from 2015-18.

Four of those five playoff series needed all five games to determine a winner, with the other needing four games. One saw the Ducks come back from 2-0 down to win. Another saw the Patriots rally from a 2-1 deficit to win. Two others saw Long Island go ahead 2-0 before Somerset answered back to even it, only to see Long Island ultimately clinch the series on the road. Let’s look back at those epic playoff matchups:

2013 ATLANTIC LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES

The first-ever postseason meeting between the teams would decide the 2013 ALPB title. Long Island used some late drama to claim the first two games at home, as Josh Barfield’s eighth-inning three-run homer won Game One, and a three-run sixth-inning gave the Ducks a Game Two victory. Cory Aldridge’s three-homer Game Three kept the series going, and a 16-inning nail biter in Game Four forced a decisive Game Five. Ray Navarrete’s three-run homer in the fourth inning of Game Five, his final career game, put the Ducks on top for good. John Brownell pitched into the ninth inning to cap a Championship Series MVP performance, and the Ducks took the finale 6-4 to complete back-to-back championship runs.

2015 LIBERTY DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES

This series would also begin on Long Island, but it was the Patriots who struck first blood, claiming a 5-3 win in Game One. The Ducks evened the series with a 5-4 win in Game Two, highlighted by Sean Burroughs’ eighth-inning RBI single. Long Island was riding high after their 9-4 triumph in Game Three, but Somerset’s pitching shut out the Ducks from that point on. Will Oliver’s complete game in Game Four evened the series, and Roy Merritt, who the Patriots acquired for a player to be named later from Sugar Land on August 31, also went the distance in Game Five to claim the series. Following the series, Merritt’s rights were returned to Sugar Land.

2016 LIBERTY DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES

Long Island and Somerset again faced each other in the first round, though this series began in New Jersey. Scott Kelly’s walk-off homer in the 11th inning of Game One and a 14-strikeout night by Nik Turley gave the Patriots a 2-0 series lead. However, Long Island became a different team when they returned home. Nick Struck threw seven innings of one-run ball to win Game Three for the Flock, and Anthony Vega’s two-run homer in Game Four was all Long Island needed to even the series. The Ducks plated four runs in the first inning of Game Five and held that lead to complete the comeback from 0-2 down in the series and clinch the Liberty Division crown.

2017 LIBERTY DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES

Somerset broke out the bats on Long Island to begin their third consecutive first-round matchup with the Ducks. A 7-1 victory in Game One put the Patriots in a good position, but the Ducks countered in Game Two behind Alex Burg’s three-hit night and a strong performance from the bullpen. Jake Fisher turned in one of the all-time great playoff performances before a sellout crowd at Somerset in Game Three. His complete game, nine-strikeout night gave the Ducks a 2-1 lead in the series. The next night, after seeing Somerset rally for two runs in the eighth to tie the game, the Ducks took the lead back in the ninth courtesy of a Giovanny Alfonzo RBI fielder’s choice to win the game, 4-3, and the series, 3-1.

2018 LIBERTY DIVISION CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES

The 2018 playoffs began in quite surprising fashion. Instead of the usual nail biters, the Ducks routed the Patriots in Games One and Two on Long Island, combining to outscore their rivals 20-3. However, anyone expecting a sweep would be disappointed. Somerset overcame 2-0 and 3-1 deficits to take Game Three and used three homers to claim a 5-3 win in Game Four. Another decisive Game Five was needed. Fernando Abad pitched three perfect innings of relief for the Ducks, and Francisco Rodriguez worked around a leadoff double in the ninth to force extra innings. Ramon Cabrera’s 10th-inning two-out RBI single broke a 2-2 tie, and Matt Larkins nailed down the save in the bottom half of the frame to clinch the division title.

In the end, the Ducks went 14-10 against the Patriots in their 24 postseason meetings, including a dominant 9-2 on Long Island (compared to 5-8 in New Jersey). Long Island went from no playoff meetings with Somerset for 13 years to now having faced Somerset more than any other team in the postseason.

Much remains to be seen regarding the landscape in Minor League Baseball prior to the start of the 2021 season. Despite losing Somerset, the Atlantic League has thus far added one franchise in Gastonia, North Carolina. There have been media reports and speculation regarding multiple markets that could bring new teams into the Atlantic League in 2021 and beyond. One thing is clear though: The Ducks will be looking for a new rival. Who will it be, and will it ever live up to the excitement of Ducks-Patriots? Let us know what you think in the comments section.

2019 ALCS Game One: Ducks vs. Skeeters

Division-Championship-Celebration-9-27-19
Ducks and Skeeters set to open rematch of last year’s ALCS

GAME TIME/LOCATION:

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

TONIGHT’S MATCHUP:

The Long Island Ducks and Sugar Land Skeeters meet in the first game of the 2019 Atlantic League Championship Series on Tuesday night at Bethpage Ballpark. This will be a rematch of the 2018 ALCS in which the Skeeters defeated the Ducks in five games. The Ducks are coming off a sweep of the High Point Rockers in the Liberty Division Championship Series. After winning the LDCS, Long Island is the first team in Atlantic League history to reach the ALCS in four consecutive seasons. In the regular season the Flock won both the first and second halves of the season and also set the franchise record for wins in a season, finishing with 86 wins. The Ducks have posted a 40-39 all-time playoff record overall and a 26-15 record in the postseason at Bethpage Ballpark. Long Island claimed the season series with Sugar Land, taking 13 of 19 games. The Ducks also led 8-2 in games played on Long Island in 2019. This is the third time that Long Island and Sugar Land have met in the playoffs, with the Skeeters winning both the 2016 and 2018 championships.

FRIDAY’S RECAP: 

The Ducks completed their sweep of the Liberty Division Championship Series against the High Point Rockers, winning 3-2 on Friday night.

Long Island got on the board early thanks to a two-run single by Hector Sanchez with two away in the bottom of the first inning. The Rockers got a run back in the fifth when Tyler Ladendorf brought in a run with a groundout to short.

Neither team scored until Steve Lombardozzi lifted a sacrifice fly to right in the home half of the eighth inning, giving Long Island a 3-1 lead. High Point tried to mount a comeback in the top of the ninth after Quincy Latimore launched a solo home run to center, however, their attempt fell short as Cody Mincey retired the next three batters to end the game.

Ducks starting pitcher Seth Simmons (1-0) picked up the win Long Island after yielding one run on two hits and two walks over seven innings, while striking out nine batters. Rockers starter Joe Van Meter (0-1) was tagged with the loss for High Point, tossing seven and two-thirds innings, allowing three runs on seven hits with four strikeouts. Mincey earned his second save of the postseason, surrendering just the home run in the ninth.

FRIDAY’S HIGHLIGHTS:

ON THE MOUND:

Vin Mazzaro toes the rubber for Long Island tonight, making his second start of the postseason. In the regular season the righty pitched in 39 games (10 starters), posting an 11-4 record with a 3.61 ERA and 84 strikeouts in 92.1 innings pitched. He was the starting pitcher for the Ducks in game two of the LDCS at High Point, throwing eight innings of one-run ball, allowing two hits and four walks with 10 strikeouts. Mazzaro faced Sugar Land six times in 2019, amassing a 1-1 record with a 2.16 ERA and nine strikeouts over eight and one-third innings of work.

Mike Hauschild takes the mound for Sugar Land tonight, making his second start of the postseason. The righty started nine games for the Skeeters in the regular season, accumulating a 4-0 record with a 2.50 ERA and 40 strikeouts over 50.1 innings. He pitched for Sugar Land in game one of the Freedom Division Championship Series against York, going six and two-thirds innings, surrendering four runs (three earned) on four hits and five walks, while striking out seven. This will be Hauschild’s first start against Long Island.

FOLLOW ALONG:

Fans can follow all the action for tonight’s game, and every Ducks game in 2019, 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 live account of tonight’s game via the Atlantic League website by CLICKING HERE.

DUCKS GAME NOTES: 

For tonight’s full Ducks game notes, please CLICK HERE. For a look at the Ducks playoff history, CLICK HERE.

STARTING LINEUPS:

Long Island Ducks
#15 Rey Fuentes- CF
#2   Steve Lombardozzi – 2B
#20 Lew Ford – DH
#11 L.J. Mazzilli – LF
#37 Hector Sanchez – C
#21 Deibinson Romero – 3B
#30 David Washington – 1B
#1   Vladimir Frias – SS
#29 Daniel Fields – RF

#34 Vin Mazzaro – RHP

Sugar Land Skeeters
#28 Wynton Bernard – LF
#21 Anthony Giansanti – CF
#17 Zach Borenstein – RF
#29 Denis Phipps – DH
#3   Albert Cordero – 1B
#27 Juan Silverio – 3B
#12 Cody Stanley – C
#25 Jason Martinson – SS
#6   Javier Betancourt – 2B

#10 Mike Hauschild – RHP


LIVE GAME UPDATES:

Vin Mazzaro delivers a first pitch called strike to Wynton Bernard and the Atlantic League Championship Series is underway at Bethpage Ballpark!
MID 1: Mazzaro is off to a hot start with a 1-2-3 inning including two strikeouts!
Fuentes-Lombardozzi-Ford due up for Long Island!
B1: The Ducks jump out in front in a big way thanks to an RBI single by Lew Ford, a three-run home run from Deibinson Romero and a solo homer by David Washington!
Ducks lead 5-0!
Here are the stats for Deibinson Romero’s three-run home run in the bottom of the first:
Distance: 370 ft
Exit Velocity: 94 mph
Launch Angle: 31 degrees
T3: The Skeeters get on the board after scoring on a wild pitch and an RBI single.
Ducks lead 5-2.
T4: Sugar Land brings in a run on an RBI groundout.
Ducks still in front, 5-3.
As David Washington leads off the bottom of the fourth we are glad to report that his first inning home run has finally landed!
His solo home run traveled 429 feet and left the bat at 105 mph!
B4: David Washington goes deep for the second time tonight and Steve Lombardozzi lifts a sacrifice fly to center!
 
Ducks lead 7-3!
David Washington’s second home run of the night went even further than his first, traveling 440 feet and coming off the bat at 104 mph!
T8: Sugar Land tacks on two thanks to a wild pitch and a solo home run.
Ducks ahead 7-5.
FINAL: DUCKS WIN!
Cody Mincey comes in and gets his third save of the postseason with a 1-2-3 ninth inning!
 
Long Island 7 – Sugar Land 5

2019 LDCS Game Three: Ducks vs. Rockers

Mazzilli-Batting-at-High-Point-9-27-19
Long Island returns home with a chance to sweep LDCS

GAME TIME/LOCATION:

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

TONIGHT’S MATCHUP:

The Ducks and Rockers meet in game three of the Liberty Division Championship Series on Friday night as the series shifts back to Long Island. The Flock enters with a 2-0 lead in the series and can punch their ticket to the Atlantic League Championship Series with a win tonight. With the victory, the Ducks would become the first team in Atlantic League history to reach the ALCS in four consecutive seasons. The Ducks have posted a 39-39 all-time playoff record overall and a 25-15 record in the postseason at Bethpage Ballpark. In their inaugural season the Rockers won the season series against Long Island 11-8 and also had the edge in games played at Bethpage Ballpark 6-3.

WEDNESDAY’S RECAP: 

Long Island took game two of the Liberty Division Championship Series from the High Point Rockers 8-1 on Wednesday night in North Carolina.

The Rockers got on the board first after Myles Schroder hit an RBI single to left off Ducks starter Vin Mazzaro in the second inning. That was the only run that High Point could muster, as Mazzaro was lights out for the rest of the evening.

It did not take long for the Ducks to score, as a two-run triple from Steve Lombardozzi and an RBI single by Lew Ford in the top of the third gave Long Island the 3-1 lead.

When Ford came up to the plate again in the sixth he lined an RBI double to left and L.J. Mazzilli followed with a two-run home run. In the seventh, Daniel Fields hit a home run of his own, a solo shot, and then Rey Fuentes rounded out the scoring in the ninth with an RBI single to center.

Mazzaro (1-0) picked up the win for Long Island, tossing eight innings, allowing an unearned run on two hits and four walks, while striking out 10 Rockers. High Point starting pitcher Craig Stem (0-1) took the loss, pitching five and two-thirds, surrendering six runs on six hits and two walks with three strikeouts.

WEDNESDAY’S HIGHLIGHTS:

ON THE MOUND:

Seth Simmons takes the mound for Long Island, making his first postseason appearance of 2019. This season the righty posted an 8-8 record with a 3.86 ERA and 119 strikeouts over 140 innings split between High Point and Long Island. His last start was at York on September 17, where he threw five scoreless innings allowing just one hit and walk, while striking out six. Simmons started one game against his former team for the Ducks this season, tossing seven innings of one-run ball, yielding four hits and two walks with seven strikeouts.

The Rockers look to Joe Van Meter to start game three of the Liberty Division Championship Series. The righty started 24 games for High Point this season, accumulating a 10-6 record with a 2.30 ERA and 131 strikeouts in 144.2 innings pitched. His last start was at Bethpage Ballpark on September 21, where he pitched five and two-thirds innings, surrendering two runs (one earned) on three hits and three walks, while striking out six. In 2019 Van Meter matched up with the Ducks four times, amassing a 2-1 record with a 3.09 ERA and 26 strikeouts over 23.1 innings of work.

FOLLOW ALONG:

Fans can follow all the action for tonight’s game, and every Ducks game in 2019, 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 live account of tonight’s game via the Atlantic League website by CLICKING HERE.

DUCKS GAME NOTES: 

For tonight’s full Ducks game notes, please CLICK HERE. For a look at the Ducks playoff history, CLICK HERE.

STARTING LINEUPS:

Long Island Ducks
#1   Vladimir Frias – SS
#2   Steve Lombardozzi – 2B
#20 Lew Ford – DH
#11 L.J. Mazzilli – LF
#37 Hector Sanchez – C
#21 Deibinson Romero – 3B
#30 David Washington – 1B
#14 D’Arby Myers – RF
#15 Rey Fuentes- CF

#31 Seth Simmons – RHP

High Point Rockers
#65 Stephen Cardullo – 1B
#29 Jared Mitchell – RF
#6   Hector Gomez – 3B
#22 Quincy Latimore – LF
#11 Myles Schroder – CF
#4   Michael Russell – 2B
#9   Tyler Ladendorf – DH
#1   Giovanny Alfonzo – SS
#17 Matthew Jones – C

#34 Joe Van Meter – RHP


LIVE GAME UPDATES:

MID 1: Seth Simmons gets game three of the LDCS underway with a 1-2-3 inning!
 
Frias-Lombardozzi-Ford due up for Long Island!
B1: SANCHEZ SLASHES!
Hector Sanchez laces a two-run single to center to give Long Island an early 2-0 lead!
MID 3: Simmons retires the side in order for the second time tonight!
He strikes out two in the inning, bringing his total to five thus far!
T5: The Rockers get on the board thanks to an RBI groundout to short.
Ducks lead 2-1.
MID 6: Simmons leaves runners stranded on second and third with a strikeout to end the inning!
He has eight Ks tonight!
MID 8: Joe Iorio comes into the game and retires the side in order!
Ducks still lead 2-1!
B8: Steve Lombardozzi lifts a sacrifice fly to right field!
Ducks lead 3-1!
FINAL: DUCKS WIN! DUCKS WIN!
After allowing a leadoff home run, Cody Mincey retires the next three batters, punctuating the inning with a strikeout!
 
Long Island sweeps the High Point Rockers!
 
Next stop the Atlantic League Championship Series!

2019 LDCS Game Two: Ducks at Rockers

Ducks-High-Five-Line-9-24-19
Long Island takes aim at 2-0 lead in 2019 LDCS

GAME TIME/LOCATION:

6:30 p.m. at BB&T Point (High Point, N.C.)

TONIGHT’S MATCHUP:

The Liberty Division Championship Series continues on Wednesday night, as the Ducks and Rockers square off in Game Two at BB&T Point. This year marks Long Island’s fifth consecutive playoff berth and 14th in team history, while High Point becomes the first Atlantic League team to reach the playoffs in its inaugural season outside of the league’s first year in 1999. High Point has an 11-9 edge in 20 games played between the regular season and playoffs Long Island. However, the Ducks lead in games played in North Carolina with a 6-5 record.

YESTERDAY’S RECAP: 

The Ducks defeated the High Point Rockers 8-7 in Game One of the Liberty Division Championship Series on Tuesday night.

It remained a scoreless affair until David Washington and Vladimir Frias kicked off the fourth inning with back-to-back triples. The Ducks added three more runs in the inning thanks to a two-run double from Steve Lombardozzi and a sacrifice fly by L.J. Mazzilli.

Deibinson Romero lifted a sacrifice fly to left in the top half of the sixth, extending Long Island’s lead to 5-0. In the bottom half of the frame the Rockers scratched their first run across the plate when Quincy Latimore launched a solo home run to center.

The Flock pushed their lead up to 7-1 with RBI singles from Lew Ford and Mazzilli in the top of the seventh. However, a six-run home half of the inning for the Rockers tied the game at seven. The inning was highlighted by a Michael Russell RBI single, a two-run double off the bat of Hector Gomez, a bases loaded walk to Jared Mitchell and a Myles Schroder two-run single.

The comeback was put to a screeching halt though when Romero came up to the plate in the eighth inning and skied a leadoff solo homer to left field. The blast proved to be the difference in the game.

Neither starter factored into the decision. Ducks starting pitcher Darin Down tossed six and one-third innings, allowing two runs on three hits and three walks while striking out seven. John Brownell started for the Rockers and lasted six and one-third innings, surrendering seven runs on six hits and eight walks with two strikeouts. Rob Rogers (1-0) picked up the win for Long Island, yielding just one hit in his scoreless one-third of an inning. Sam Runion (0-1) was tagged with the loss for High Point, throwing one inning out of the bullpen, allowing the homer to Romero. Cody Mincey earned the save for the Ducks, his first of the postseason, pitching two scoreless innings and surrendering just one walk while striking out one.

YESTERDAY’S HIGHLIGHTS:

ON THE MOUND:

Vin Mazzaro toes the rubber for Long Island tonight in Game Two. In 39 appearances (10 starts) in 2019, the righty posted an 11-4 record with a 3.61 ERA and 84 strikeouts in 92.1 innings pitched. Since making the move to the starting rotation, Mazzaro has amassed an 8-0 record with a 2.15 ERA with 57 strikeouts over 58.2 innings. His last start came at York on September 19, where he tossed six scoreless innings, scattering two hits and three walks while striking out six to earn the win. This will be the first start for Mazzaro against the Rockers. However, he made four relief appearances against them and allowed seven runs on 10 hits and a walk over four innings with three strikeouts.

Craig Stem takes the hill for High Point tonight. The righty has amassed a 5-5 record with a 2.89 ERA and 84 strikeouts in 96.2 innings pitched over 16 starts between Southern Maryland and High Point. His last start was at New Britain on September 19 where he took the loss, throwing six and two-thirds innings, surrendering five runs (four earned) on five hits and three walks while striking out eight. Stem made a pair of starts against Long Island while he was with Southern Maryland earlier this season. He took the loss in both outings but combined to allow just five runs over 14 innings (3.21 ERA) on 12 hits and two walks with 11 strikeouts.

FOLLOW ALONG:

Fans can follow all the action for tonight’s game, and every Ducks game in 2019, 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 live account of tonight’s game via the Atlantic League website by CLICKING HERE.

DUCKS GAME NOTES: 

For tonight’s full Ducks game notes, please CLICK HERE. For a look at the Ducks playoff history, CLICK HERE.

STARTING LINEUPS:

Long Island Ducks
#15 Rey Fuentes- CF
#2   Steve Lombardozzi – 2B
#20 Lew Ford – DH
#11 L.J. Mazzilli – LF
#37 Hector Sanchez – C
#21 Deibinson Romero – 3B
#30 David Washington – 1B
#1   Vladimir Frias – SS

#29 Daniel Fields – RF

#34 Vin Mazzaro – RHP

High Point Rockers
#65 Stephen Cardullo – 1B
#29 Jared Mitchell – RF
#6   Hector Gomez – 3B
#22 Quincy Latimore – LF
#8   Richie Shaffer – DH
#4   Michael Russell – 2B
#11 Myles Schroder – CF
#33 John Nester – C
#1   Giovanny Alfonzo – SS

#48 Craig Stem – RHP


LIVE GAME UPDATES:

END 1: Neither side dents home plate in the opening inning of Game Two in the Liberty Division Championship Series.

BOT 2: Myles Schroder grounds an RBI single to left field, scoring Richie Shaffer to give the Rockers a 1-0 lead.

TOP 3: Ducks answer right back! A two-run triple to right-center by Steve Lombardozzi and an RBI single up the middle by Lew Ford have put the Ducks on top 3-1!

END 5: Back-to-back 1-2-3 innings from Vin Mazzaro, who has now retired nine straight batters!

TOP 6: Another three-spot for the Ducks puts the Flock ahead 6-1! Lew Ford grounds an RBI double down the left field line, and L.J. Mazzilli launches a two-run home run to left field!

TOP 7: Daniel Fields with an Oppo Taco! His solo home run over the left field fence extends Long Island’s lead to 7-1!

END 8: Vin Mazzaro strikes out the side in the eighth inning and now has 10 strikeouts over eight innings of one-run ball tonight!

TOP 9: Rey Fuentes strokes an RBI single to center field, scoring Vladimir Frias to increase the Ducks lead to 8-1!

FINAL: Brian Matusz works a scoreless ninth inning, and the Ducks defeat the Rockers 8-1 to take a two games to none lead in the best-of-five Liberty Division Championship Series! We’ll see you back on Long Island Friday night for Game Three!

2019 LDCS Game One: Ducks at Rockers

Ducks-at-Rockers-9-24-19
Ducks embark on fifth consecutive playoff appearance; 14th in team history

GAME TIME/LOCATION:

6:30 p.m. at BB&T Point (High Point, N.C.)

TONIGHT’S MATCHUP:

The Long Island Ducks and High Point Rockers face off in Game One of the Liberty Division Championship Series on Tuesday night in North Carolina. This year marks Long Island’s fifth consecutive playoff berth and 14th in team history, while High Point becomes the first Atlantic League team to reach the playoffs in its inaugural season since play began in 1998. All-time, the Ducks are 37-39 in the playoffs, with a 12-24 record on the road. The Rockers held a slim lead in the season series with the Ducks with an 11-8 record. However, the teams split their 10 games played at BB&T Point.

SUNDAY’S RECAP: 

The Ducks took their rubber match with the High Point Rockers, winning 7-6 in 10 innings, in Sunday afternoon’s season finale at Bethpage Ballpark.

A first inning RBI single to right by L.J. Mazzilli gave the Ducks an early 1-0 advantage. However, the Rockers had an answer in the next half inning as they put up five runs against Long Island starting pitcher Brendan Feldmann. An RBI double from Jared Mitchell and a grand slam hit by Michael Russell were responsible for the runs.

The Rockers extended their lead with a solo home run by Mitchell in the third inning, but Deibinson Romero got the run back with an RBI single in the home half of the inning, settling the score at 6-2. The Flock came within two runs in the sixth after Clint Freeman lifted a two-run homer to right field.

An RBI double from David Washington and a sacrifice fly off the bat of Daniel Fields in the eighth inning tied the game at six. It was Fields who came up to the plate again in the 10th inning and drove in Washington with an RBI fielder’s choice to win the game for the Ducks.

Neither starter factored into the decision. Feldmann threw for four innings, allowing six runs (five earned) on eight hits and a walk with four strikeouts. Rockers starter Edwin Carl pitched four innings, surrendering two runs on six hits and two walks, while striking out two batters. Myles Smith (1-1) picked up the win for Long Island with two scoreless innings out of the pen, while accumulating three strikeouts. Richie Shaffer (0-1) was tagged with the loss for High Point, allowing an unearned run in the bottom of the 10th.

SUNDAY’S HIGHLIGHTS:

ON THE MOUND:

Darin Downs takes the mound for Long Island tonight to begin the postseason. This year, in 21 starts, the lefty amassed a 3-3 record with a 2.63 ERA and 140 strikeouts over 109.2 innings of work. Those 140 strikeouts were tied for second-most in the Atlantic League behind only Daryl Thompson (162). His last start was at York on September 18, where he allowed two runs on three hits and three walks over five innings with seven strikeouts. Despite making 21 starts this year, tonight will be the first time that Downs faces High Point.

Former Long Island Ducks all-time great John Brownell gets the nod tonight for High Point. In three starts with the Rockers during the regular season, the righty posted a 2-0 record with a 1.31 ERA and 15 strikeouts in 20.2 innings pitched. His last start was at New Britain on September 18, where he tossed six and two-thirds innings, yielding two runs on seven hits and four walks while striking out seven batters. Prior to joining the Rockers, Brownell made 19 appearances (18 starts) with the Lincoln Saltdogs of the American Association. He posted an 8-5 record with a 3.70 ERA and 90 strikeouts over 121.2 innings. This is the first time he will pitch against Long Island, with whom he played seven seasons from 2012-18 and set franchise records for wins (65), strikeouts (755), innings pitched (1,005.0), and starts (154).

FOLLOW ALONG:

Fans can follow all the action for tonight’s game, and every Ducks game in 2019, 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 live account of tonight’s game via the Atlantic League website by CLICKING HERE.

DUCKS GAME NOTES: 

For tonight’s full Ducks game notes, please CLICK HERE. For a look at the Ducks playoff history, CLICK HERE.

STARTING LINEUPS:

Long Island Ducks
#15 Rey Fuentes- CF
#2   Steve Lombardozzi – 2B
#20 Lew Ford – DH
#11 L.J. Mazzilli – LF
#37 Hector Sanchez – C
#21 Deibinson Romero – 3B
#30 David Washington – 1B
#1   Vladimir Frias – SS

#14 D’Arby Myers – RF

#23 Darin Downs – LHP

High Point Rockers
#65 Stephen Cardullo – 1B
#4   Michael Russell – 2B
#6   Hector Gomez – 3B
#22 Quincy Latimore – DH
#8   Richie Shaffer – LF
#29 Jared Mitchell – RF
#11 Myles Schroder – CF
#33 John Nester – C
#1   Giovanny Alfonzo – SS

#7   John Brownell – RHP


LIVE GAME UPDATES:

END 1: No score after one here in High Point, as Darin Downs strikes out Jared Mitchell to strand the bases loaded!

TOP 3: The Ducks plate four runs and take the lead over the Rockers! An RBI triple by Vladimir Frias, a two-run double by Steve Lombardozzi and a sac fly from L.J. Mazzilli account for the runs!

END 5: Five strikeouts over five scoreless innings thus far for Darin Downs! Onto the sixth we go, with the Ducks still ahead 4-0!

TOP 6; A sacrifice fly to left field off the bat of Deibinson Romero has extended Long Island’s lead to 5-0!

BOT 6: Quincy Latimore puts the Rockers on the scoreboard with a two-out solo homer to center. Ducks 5, Rockers 1.

TOP 7: The Ducks answer with RBI singles from Lew Ford and L.J. Mazzilli, extending their lead to 7-1!

BOT 7: The Rockers send 11 men to the plate and score six runs to tie the ballgame at seven.

TOP 8: BACK IN FRONT! Deibinson Romero launches a solo homer over the left field fence, putting the Flock ahead 8-7!

FINAL: Cody Mincey nails down the six-out save, and the Ducks take Game One of the Liberty Division Championship Series 8-7 over the Rockers!

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