Saturday, September 26, 2015

L.I. Ducks: Flock Poised to Clinch Ticket to Finals

From the desk of:  THE WEBBED SPIKES NINE


Ducks at the Gates!

Ducks lead series 2-1
I - SOM 5; LID 3
II - LID 5; SOM 4
III - LID 9; SOM 4

Long Island Ducks
Somerset Patriots
Some Ballpark

LONG ISLAND DUCKS: Flock within a victory of advancing to their 5th ever Atlantic League championship series.

After a two game split at Bethpage Ballpark, the Liberty Division series shifted to Somerset Friday evening for Game Three.

Bobby Blevins climbed the hill for Long Island and was opposed by Patriots southpaw Matt Zielinski.

With Somerset clinging to a 1-run lead through 4 innings, the league's top offense finally erupted in the 5th.  With two on and 2-outs, Sean Burroughs, Dan Lyons, and Cody Puckett all hit consecutively giving the Ducks a 4-1 lead.

With Somerset's Matt Zielinski out of the game, an E-6 in the top of the 6th wound up giving the Ducks a 5-1 lead.

Then came the Patriots.

Aharon Eggleston led off the bottom of the 6th with a single.  With 1-out, right fielder Michael Burgess took Blevins deep making it a 5-3 Somerset deficit.

Long Island got a run back on Mike Blanke's 7th inning RBI double.

Bobby Blevins then opened the bottom of the 7th by surrendering a single and walk, inspiring Coach Baez to call on his bullpen.  Pinch hitter David Vidal promptly greeted reliever Patrick Crider with an RBI single up the middle.

That, however, ended Somerset's output for the evening.  The Ducks, meanwhile, struck for another 3 runs in the 8th.  Randy Ruiz' double drove in a pair, and Sean Burroughs' sac-fly gave Long Island their eventual 9-4 margin of victory.

  • Bobby Blevins earned the victory.  He faced 26 batters over 6 innings pitched, and threw 88 pitches with 60 (68%) going for strikes.  He allowed 4 earned runs on 4 hits and 3 walks, and fanned 7 batters before exiting on the winning side of (then) a 5-3 game.
  • Closer Ryan Kussmaul pitched 2 innings in a non-save situation, and faced the minimum with 2 strikeouts.
  • Sean Burroughs remained white hot.  He went 2 for 4, with 2 more RBI in Game Three, and is now 8 for 12 with 4 RBI in the series.
  • Randy Ruiz has DH'd in the clean-up slot this series.  He went 1 for 4 Friday, and is now 4 for 11 in the series.

The Ducks now have two chances to win one game.  Easier said than done...

Long Island's Bruce Kern will toe the rubber in Game Four.  Kern made 40 appearances this season, but this will only be his 14th start.  He went 9-6 during the regular season with a 3.51 ERA.  In 107.2 innings he posted a 1.21 WHiP, boasted .242 average against, and fanned 102 batters.

The Ducks will have their work cut out for them against Patriots starter Will Oliver, whom was a late season acquisition from the Frontier League.  He started 9 games for Somerset.  In 54 innings pitched, Will posted a fine 6-2 record with a 3.15 ERA, a 1.07 WHiP, and a .204 average against.

  • Patriots right fielder and clean-up hitter Michael Burgess is tearing up Ducks pitching.  He is 5 for 12 (.417) with 2 home runs and 6 RBI in 3 games.
  • Table setter Aharon Eggleston is 5 for 8, with 2 walks, a double, home run, and 5 runs scored.

Southern Maryland Blue Crabs 
lead series over Lancaster Barnstormers, 2-1
I - SMB 2; LAN 0
II - LAN 6; SMB 5
III - SMB 6; LAN 1

Blue Crabs
Waldorf, Maryland

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