By Bill McCaughey
Jeremy Barfield hit two home runs and drove in four runs to lead the Sugar Land Skeeters past the Long Island Ducks on Tuesday, May 17.
With an 11:05 a.m. start for Baseball in Education day, and a crowd of 5,358, mostly school children, the Skeeters came from behind to defeat the Ducks 8-7.
The Ducks went ahead in the first inning with a single run, but the Skeeters quickly responded. With two out in the bottom of the first, both Delwyn Young and Kent Matthes reached base on consecutive errors by the Duck’s third baseman. Barfield then blasted a three-run home run to give the Skeeters’ the lead.
Barfield is one of the league’s top ten hitters with a .309 average. He said the early start didn’t bother him.
“It was a good day to hit,” he said. “The wind was blowing out today instead of howling in. I am just trying to be as consistent as possible.”
The Ducks responded with single runs in the second and third innings to tie the game at 3. In the bottom of the third, Jeff Dominguez walked and Ricky Hague blasted a two-run home run. Two batters later, Barfield again hit a home run to give the Skeeters a 6-3 lead.
Manager Gary Gaetti has been pleased with Ricky Hague.
“He has been giving me some good at-bats, and I can do a lot of different things with him in the lineup,” he said.
The Ducks immediately responded with four runs on four hits and an error to take the lead 7-6 after four innings. The game then settled down until the Skeeters came to bat in the bottom of the sixth. Andy LaRoche led off with a triple, followed by a Patrick Palmeiro walk. Beamer Weems then loaded the bases with a fielder’s choice. LaRoche then scored on Wilfredo Rodriguez’s fielder choice, and Jeff Dominguez knocked in the winning run on an infield single.
Dominguez is leading the league in runs scored with 20. He is third in the league with a .537 slugging percentage, third with four home runs, and fourth in the league with a .329 batting average.
Andrew Johnston, Zech Zinicola and Derrick Loop each pitched a scoreless inning to close out the Ducks. Pitching coach Jeff Scott likes what he is seeing from his closer, Derrick Loop.
“Derrick played hurt last year, but he is healthy now and throwing well,” he said. “He struck out two of the three batters he faced in the ninth. I just have to keep from over-working him early in the season.”
Lew Ford and Tyler Colvin each had two hits for the Ducks, and Young and Barfield had two hits for the Skeeters.
Skeeters 3, Bridgeport 0
Bryan Morgado held the Bridgeport Bluefish to three hits over five innings and the bullpen allowed only two more hits over the final four innings allowing the Skeeters to shutout the Bridgeport Bluefish 3-0 on Sunday, May 22, at Constellation Field.
In his last start, Morgado gave up seven runs in four innings but he was in complete charge today.
“I noticed on video that I needed to make some mechanical adjustments. Once I realized what I had to change, I worked on it during the week and just went with it today. When I can locate, it works out very well,” Morgado said.
In the second inning, Johan Limonta singled, stole second and came home on a single by Patrick Palmeiro. In the fourth inning, Limonta doubled and scored on a Beamer Weems single. The Skeeters scored their final run in the fifth inning when Ricky Hague reached base on an error on the third baseman, and scored on a Jeremy Barfield double.
Morgado, who was drafted by the Phillies in the fourth round in the 2010 draft out of the University of Tennessee, throws a fastball, change-up and slider and considers his fastball his out pitch.
“I trust my fastball and mix in my change and slider so they are not waiting on the fastball,” Morgado said.
This was the first game Morgado threw to new catcher Albert Cordero.
“We spent several innings in the dugout developing a game plan. Once he understood my strengths, I had total trust in throwing whatever he called,” Morgado said.
Manager Gary Gaetti turned to his bullpen in the throw out batters at just the right time. Carlos Sosa had two hits for the Bluefish, while Limonta had two hits and scored two runs for the Skeeters. Jeff Dominguez doubled in the third inning to extend his on base streak to 17 games.
The Skeeters go on the road to play a three-game series with Somerset and a three game series with Lancaster before returning home on May 31 to play the New Britain Bees.