LONG ISLAND DUCKS: Stong Bullpen Work And Cody Puckett's Bat Lead Flock To 12-Inning Victory, And Third Straight Over Southern Maryland Blue Crabs.
The Ducks are roughly 1/6 of the way through defense of their back to back titles. They've spent the last three nights getting healthy against the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, with a trio of victories to get them above the .500 mark again with a 13-11 record.
Had Southern Maryland and the Somerset Patriots not switched divisions this season, Long Island would be in 1st place of the Liberty Division. Just thought I'd throw that out there.
Entering Wednesday night's action, Blake Gailen of the Lancaster Barnstormers was the only A.L. player still hitting above .400, otherwise Ducks veteran Lew Ford entered the night 2nd in the circuit with a .375 batting mark, while his 22 RBI ranked 3rd, just 3 behind the league leader.
Lew Ford and Adam Bailey led Long Island with 4 home runs each.
On the hill, 3 of the league's top 7 strikeout leaders were Ducks. Prior to Wednesday's game, Bobby Blevins led the league with 27, and John Brownell was tied for 2nd with 25 strikeouts. Reliever Eric Niesen was 7th with 22 strikeouts.
Jeremy Accardo leads the Ducks with 3 victories. However, Brownell, once again expected to fill the role of staff ace, is struggling with a 1-3 record, and an unsightly 6.00 ERA.
In the bullpen, Leo Rosales leads the circuit with 9 saves, and prior to Wednesday's game had a 1.59 ERA, while Josh Lansford has yet to allow a run in 11.1 innings pitched.
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In the third of four games against the Blue Crabs from Bethpage Park, Fernando Hernandez climbed the hill for Long Island, and pitched effectively over 7 full innings. He allowed a pair of earned runs on 7 hits, only walked one, and fanned three before departing to a no-decision. His ERA rose slightly from a 2.16 before the game, to a 2.28 mark.
Southern Maryland scored single runs in the 5th and 6th innings to take a 2-0 lead. Long Island then got one back in the bottom half of the 6th on Adam Bailey's two out single.
That's the way it stayed till the 9th. Playing in his first game as a Long Island Duck, catcher Jan Vasquez homered over the right field wall to tie the score at two, and into extra innings they went.
Relievers Leo Rosales, Jeremy Accardo, and Eric Niesen then combined on 3 innings, surrendered no runs, no hits, and fanned four. Circling back, in relief of Fernando Hernandez, Bret Lorin pitched the 8th and 9th innings, and surrendered no runs on one hit. Leo Rosales lowered his ERA to a 1.46 mark.
In the bottom of the 12th inning, Joash Brodin reached on a one out single. After advancing to second on Randy Ruiz' base hit, Brodin came around to score on Cody Puckett's game winning double.
Eric Niesen earned the win in relief - his first. He now has 24 strikeouts to place him 4th among the league leaders, and like Josh Lansford, has yet to yield a run in 13.1 innings pitched this season. He additionally has only issued 6 walks and allowed 5 hits.
Lew Ford raised his average to a .376 mark. Joash Brodin was 3 for 5, and scored the Ducks first, and winning run.
Southern Maryland used 7 pitchers and the Ducks 5, who all combined to issue just 3 total walks for the game.
The Long Island Ducks will attempt to sweep the four game series on Thursday. The Somerset Patriots fell to the Camden River Sharks, allowing the Ducks to pull within 2.5 games of 1st place.
After Thursday's game, the Flock will migrate to Sugar Land, Texas, for a Memorial Day Weekend four game series against the Skeeters.