Thursday, September 26, 2013

L.I. Ducks: More Solid Pitching And The Long Ball Seal Game Two

From the desk of:   THE WEBBED SPIKES NINE

Ducks Lead Series 2-0
I - Ducks 4; Patriots 3
II - Ducks 3; Patriots 2
III - Friday @ Somerset

LONG ISLAND DUCKS: What Regular Season Struggles?  The Flock Is One Game Away From Repeating As Atlantic League Champions.  They Now Have Three Chances To Win One Game At Somerset.

Strong starting pitching with length, effective bullpen work, and clutch late-inning hitting featuring the long ball is no doubt a winning formula at any level of play.  For a second consecutive night, the Long Island Ducks employed that exact mix to outlast their opponent, achieve victory, and gain a 2-0 advantage in the Atlantic League Finals.

Game Two Final:
Patriots   2

Somerset's Roy Merritt retired the first nine Ducks batters he faced before allowing a harmless lead-off single to Lew Ford in the bottom of the fourth.  Merritt then proceeded to retire another seven straight batters.  Meanwhile, Patriots batters held a 2-0 lead over Long Island starter Shaun Garceau, scoring single runs in the second and fourth innings.

With one out in the bottom of the sixth, Roy Merritt hit Dan Lyons with a pitch.  Renaissance man, Lew Ford then stepped in and stroked his, and the Ducks' second hit off Merritt, only this time he connected on a two run home run to tie the game at two.  A subsequent double by Josh Barfield and RBI single by Bryant Nelson gave Long Island a 3-2 lead.  After such an impressive start, Merritt's effort short circuited just like - that.  His night was over after six.

Meanwhile, Shaun Garceau pressed on.  He departed the game on the winning side after pitching seven full innings, allowing two runs, one earned, on eight hits, walking no batters and striking out six.  Jared Lansford was first out of Long Island's bullpen, pitched a scoreless eighth, and struck out two.  Leo Rosales then entered the game in the ninth and made things interesting yet again, but closed out the Patriots while stranding the tying run on third.  Rosales earned his second save in as many nights, and his third of the post-season.

Both Long Island starting pitchers John Brownell and Game Two's Shaun Garceau have pitched brilliantly to outduel their Patriots mound opponents, while timely hitting again propelled the Ducks to victory.  Year long struggles and finishing the regular season below .500 seem like ancient history now.  In a most efficient manner, Long Island has now won five straight playoff games, and head into Patriots territory with three chances to win one game, and repeat as Atlantic League champions.

Bob Zimmermann will climb the hill for Long Island Friday night in Game Three.  He won his only post-season start over the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, pitching six effective innings of four hit, five strikeout baseball.  For the season, he posted a 4-4 record with a 4.46 ERA in eleven starts and 94.2 innings pitched.  He's been a full time veteran of the Ducks latest three championship runs.  He will be opposed by right-hander Erik Arnesen, 29, who was drafted in the seventeenth round of the 2006 draft by the St. Louis Cardinals.  He is coming off a somewhat rough first round start over Sugar Land, in which he tossed seven innings, allowed four earned runs on nine hits, walked two and struck out six, but still managed the victory.  His regular season was rock solid however.  Erik Arnesen posted a 13-4 record with a 3.18 ERA in twenty-two starts and 149.2 innings pitched.  He ranked fourth in the league in victories, and placed fifth in ERA.  He is charged with the Patriots first  attempt at staving off elimination on their home field.

Somerset is now three long victories away from an unprecedented sixth A.L. title.


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