The Ducks won the opener Thursday 9-4 in front of 5,026 fans. Veteran second baseman Ray Navarrate was the player of the game as he catapulted the Ducks to victory with his 5-for-5 performance. On Friday the Ducks won 6-4 in front of 4,823 fans. The Patriots had a late inning rally surge scoring two runs in the 8th inning and one run in the 9th inning but ultimately the rally came to a close as Ducks closer Jon Meloan notched his first save of the year striking out Freddie Bynum and Freddy Sandoval each with the tying run at second base.
For a comprehensive look at all the statistics, trends and matchups, download today’s April 28th Game Notes.
Tonight’s pitching matchup features right handed hurler Joe Esposito for the Ducks going up against southpaw Roy Merritt for the Patriots. Esposito pitched for the Philadelphia Phillies organization last year splitting time in both Reading (AA) and Clearwater (A+). He was 7-7 with a 4.69 ERA. In 111.1 innings he struck out 94 and walked 54. Merritt will make his Atlantic League debut after spending his entire career with the Mets organization. Merritt can throw over the top and side arm. He changes his delivery throughout the game for deception purposes.
When They Were Drafted…
Joe Esposito: Undrafted free agent signed by the Baltimore Orioles in 2007
Roy Merritt: 29th round of the 2007 MLB Draft by the New York Mets
Career Minor League Statistics…
Joe Esposito: 161 minor league games (25 starts), 24-20 record, 3.40 ERA
Roy Merritt: 206 minor league games (5 starts), 13-14 record, 3.83 ERA
Joe Esposito: This is his second stint with the Long Island Ducks. He pitched for the Ducks in 2010 to help lead them to the playoffs. Had a 2.98 ERA in 25 games.
Roy Merritt: Went to Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The same college as Milwaukee Brewers all-star second baseman Rickie Weeks.
The Patriots will honor former standout player and coach Willie Randolph before the game. Randolph will receive the Somerset Patriots outstanding Community Service Award for his efforts with the Willie Randolph Foundation. Randolph is a Bergen County resident and was a World Series Champion with the Yankees as a player and as an assistant coach. Randolph also won the 2006 NL East Division Title with the New York Mets.
Gates open at 6:00pm. There will be a fireworks display immediately after the game. Be sure to follow the Patriots on twitter @SOMPatriots for immediate updates. Listen to play-by-play voice Justin Antweil broadcast the game on 1450 AM WCTC or www.wctcam.com starting at 7:00pm.