Flock opens 2nd half with 2-0 defeat against Somerset Patriots.
Long Island Ducks: The Flock Should Expect Wild Times in the Season's Second Half.
The Ducks and Patriots resumed hostilities Friday with the opening of the league's second half.
On this night, the league's best pitching stifled the league's best hitting.
Starter John Brownell was out-dueled in Somerset by Patriots starter Matt Zielinski. Both hurlers were done after 6 innings. Brownell allowed 2 earned runs on 6 hits, 2 walks, and fanned 3 batters. Zielinski, however, kept Long Island scoreless, allowing 6 hits and one walk, with 7 strikeouts, en route to a 2-0 Patriots whitewashing of the Ducks.
Former Ducks closer Jon Hunton closed out the 9th for Somerset, registering his 19th save of the season.
As Mickey Jannis' contract was recently purchased by the Mets, Long Island must play the second half without the Atlantic League's top pitching triple crown contender.
The pressure, then, is once again on John Brownell to lead Long Island's starting rotation. He suffered only his second loss on Friday against 6 wins this season. In 86.2 innings pitched, Brownell owns a 3.21 ERA, with a 1.100 WHiP.
Brownell is in his 4th year, and 3rd full season with Long Island. He owns a career 30-23 record for the Ducks. Last year, he threw a career high 202 innings, and posted a career best 13-9 record.
Although the Ducks missed out on a first half flag, they enter the season's second half comfortably leading the Wild Card race by 10 games over the Sugar Land Skeeters.
Long Island's goal is twofold then: continue trying to overtake the Patriots and win the second half flag, and/or, maintain their lead over Sugar Land. The Camden Riversharks are the next closest Wild Card contender, 18.5 games out.
The Ducks have just 7 games remaining against the Skeeters, where as they still have another 12 games remaining against the Patriots.
That brings us to another situation worth monitoring. How long can the Somerset Patriots keep playing at their record setting pace? They set a league record with a 50-20 mark in the first half. They are presently winning near 73% of their games based largely on the strength of their pitching.