CENTRAL ISLIP, NY – On a night where there were post game fireworks for the fans, the Ducks received a spark of their own, to propel them to a 3-2 victory over the Somerset Patriots.
The announced crowd of 6,411 at Citibank Park, were given the lead for good in the bottom of the seventh inning, when Johnny Hernandez launched a Jared Gothreaux (0-2) fastball over the right field fence. The victory for Long Island (5-4) gave manager Gary Carter, his first victory at home.
“It was a nice win to come back after the tough loss last night”, said Ducks Manager Gary Carter.
The start of the game was not a positive one, as Long Island starter and Ronkonkoma native B.J. LaMura had a difficult time in the first inning. He seemed to have trouble getting his pitches in and when he did, the Patriot bats connected. Two runs came home as a result of a Jeff Nettles single to left field, and a Matt Hagen double that just stayed away from the third base line.
Once the first inning was over, LaMura settled in and retired 10 Patriots in a row, before Anthony Granato reached on an error in right field by Raul Gonzalez. In five and one third innings, LaMura gave up five hits and walked two, while striking out 3.
“I thought he did real well. I know with a lot of family here, he started tough, but he settled down after that”, said Ducks Manager Gary Carter. “He has earned another start.”
After Somerset’s Gothreaux got through the first nine batters with out getting allowing a Long Island batter to reach base, the Ducks cut the deficit to one on a broken bat bloop single by Raul Gonzalez, scoring Ray Navarette.
Gothreaux got into another groove allowing only one more hit over the next two and two-third innings, before walking Raul Gonzalez, and then giving up the home run to Hernandez.
Joe Valentine pitched a scoreless 7th before the Ducks took the lead, to earn his second victory of the season. Dan Miceli pitched a hitless eighth and Bill Simas closed the game for his fourth save of the season. For the Ducks, it gives them a chance for Carter to experience a ‘happy recap’.
“Each game is a battle”, said Carter, but knows that it is good to get some good home cooking. “You always want to play good in front of the big home crowd. We know that we will get 6,000 a night at home, and hopefully tomorrow, we will win the series.
A victory on a fireworks night is always fun for the fans and the players alike. Note: There are 10 of these planned for this season.
Quacker Notes: Who is hot? Outfielder Johnny Hernandez, a former Cardinals farmhand, is batting .500 before tonight’s game, with 2 doubles, 2 triples and 6 runs batted in. Now, add a home run. Who is not? Lew Ford, the former Minnesota Twin, has struggled so far. He is 5 for 29 to start the season. “He may be battling himself right now”, said Carter after the game; “But he is a major leaguer that has been successful, and I believe that he will get out of it.” Preston Wilson had his hitting streak stopped at seven games. Ray Navarette’s streak is now at eight.