LONG ISLAND DUCKS: FIRST TO FIFTY!
In the rubber game between the two first-half division champs, the Long Island Ducks won their 50th game of the season Friday night by consistently pushing across two-out runs against opposing pitcher J.D. Durbin and the rest of the Lancaster Barnstormers.
In the second inning, Matt Padgett and Tom Pennino (his first) hit back-to-back home runs to tie the game at two after Lancaster touched-up Ducks' starter Ruddy Lugo for two runs in the top half of the frame.
The Ducks went ahead 4-2 in the third on RBI singles by John Rodriguez and Lew Ford. In the fourth inning, Long Island posted another pair of runs to make the score 6-2 Ducks. Kraig Binick singled home Dan Lyons who doubled; then stole second. Ray Navarrete singled to drive home Binick.
After a rain delayed start to the game, Ducks' starter Ruddy Lugo put forth a respectable effort after Lancaster got to him in the second inning. He pitched five innings and threw eighty-five pitches. Allowing three hits overall, he gave up the two earned runs in the second inning but no more, while walking three batters and striking out four. Ruddy left the game on the winning side of what stood to be his fifth win against two losses.
Bob Zimmermann entered the game in relief of Lugo in the sixth inning and promptly pitched himself into trouble. He gave up a home run, a walk, and back-to-back singles before he received a trip to the mound from his pitching coach after Lancaster made it a 6-4 game. The meeting on the mound didn't work. Zimmermann gave up another single to make it a 6-5 game with the tying run and go ahead run still on base. Coach Baez came out of the dugout this time and yanked his pitcher with two outs.
Enter Bubbie Buzachero in a rather early call for him these days. He hit the first batter he faced to load the bases. Then, a single by Lancaster's Tommy Everidge drove home two more runs for a 7-6 Lancaster lead. And so much for Ruddy Lugo's fifth win of the season. He got stuck with the no-decision after a ruinous five run sixth inning for the Ducks' bullpen. All five runs were charged to Zimmermann.
With two outs, an RBI double by Kraig Binick in the bottom of the sixth tied the score for the Ducks at seven apiece. Then all-time Duck, Ray Navarrete, singled home Binick with yet another two out RBI by the Ducks for an 8-7 lead. All eight runs scored by the Ducks to this point were scored with two outs.
Bubbie Buzachero managed the seventh inning after allowing the lead-off batter to reach base. He wasn't sharp; pitching behind the count to all batters he faced. But he kept things very quiet in the eighth inning. And looking back on the outing, he most certainly earned the win in relief of Friday's game for his 2+ innings of work.
"New" Ducks' closer; Eric Wassermann...(and why not? He's pitching lights-out)..... came in to pitch the ninth inning. And in commanding Closer fashion, gave up a hit, but struck out the side to secure his 7th Save and the Long Island Ducks' 50th win of the season.
The Ducks are now the proud owners of an overall League best 50-28 record. They remain as the only Atlantic League team above .600, playing to a .641 percentage. In the second-half standings, they gained a game on Camden who lost Friday, and are now just one game behind the River Sharks for first place in the Liberty Division.
On July 30, 2011
vs. the ROAD WARRIORS
The Long Island Ducks Will Welcome Their
5,000,000th Fan To The Ball Park!
Congratulations to my own personal favorite, Buddy Harrelson, and to the entire
LONG ISLAND DUCKS ORGANIZATION.
Congratulations to the Baseball Fans of Long Island.
Pat yourselves and each other on the back Saturday.