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Ducks win slugfest, 16-14, over Blue Crabs

The bats could not be silenced Sunday during the Ducks' 16-14 win over the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs, as the teams erupted for a combined 30 runs and 36 hits.

It was not a day to remember for either pitching staff. Fittingly, the pitchers labored through this Labor Day weekend affair, and only two relievers -- the Ducks' Ricardo Gomez and Ryan Kussmaul -- were able to escape without allowing a run.

"Hitting was contagious, for both sides," said Ducks manager Kevin Baez, whose team remained two games behind Somerset in the Liberty Division second-half standings. "It seemed like every time a ball was hit, it found a hole."

That certainly was true for his club, as all nine starters recorded at least one hit and one run scored. Seven of the nine players had multiple hits, including Randy Ruiz. His two-run homer was part of a nine-run fourth that gave the Ducks a 10-6 lead.

"It was a fun day," Ruiz said. "It was a good hitting display by both teams. It's part of the game. You're going to have the good hitting days and you're going to have the good pitching days. The most important thing is that we won. That's what we needed."

Anthony Vega, Nelfi Zapata and Fehlandt Lentini also homered for the Ducks. Lentini's solo shot in the seventh gave the Ducks the lead for good at 15-14.

Delta Cleary Jr. had two hits and extended his hitting streak to 21 games, the second longest in the Atlantic League this season.

Perhaps the man most excited about the offensive display was Ducks starting pitcher Ian Marshall, who quickly was taken off the hook after a four-inning, seven-run performance against his former team.

"We're a very resilient team," Marshall said. "It's a big morale boost. No matter the situation, no matter how many runs we're down, I know our team believes we can win the game."

Marshall was mostly ineffective. He walked three batters and was unable to put hitters away with two strikes. He said he felt fine physically but added that he has been having problems finding the strike zone with consistency in recent starts.

Five pitchers worked after Marshall, and only Gomez and Kussmaul came out unscathed in the eighth and ninth innings.Baez attributed the rough game pitching-wise to the workload of both staffs, saying, "Both teams' bullpens have been taxed. The arm gets tired. That's an indication of the game today. Guys have been throwing a lot, so they don't have their best stuff."

The division crown has been a topic of discussion lately around the Ducks, but Ruiz is not concerned with Somerset.

"You can be the best team during the whole year and have the best record, but it doesn't mean you'll win the championship," he said. "Whoever's hot at the end is the team that's going to win it. We don't worry about what Somerset is going to do. We worry about what we're going to do. We need to turn it up."

New York Sports