Joe Iorio’s fourth consecutive quality start not enough to give Ducks victory

(Central Islip, N.Y., June 24, 2021) – The Long Island Ducks were defeated by the Gastonia Honey Hunters 5-3 on Thursday night in the finale of a three-game series at Fairfield Properties Ballpark.

The Ducks took a 1-0 lead in the second inning when Hector Sanchez tripled off Honey Hunters starter AJ Merkel and scored on a groundout off the bat of Rey Fuentes. L.J. Mazzilli’s sacrifice fly to right field in the third scored Jesse Berardi, making it a 2-0 ballgame.

It stayed that way until the sixth when a two-out RBI single through the right side by Sal Giardina stretched the Ducks lead to three. RBI singles by Jake Skole and Jesus Sucre in the seventh trimmed Long Island’s advantage to 3-2. Then, a three-run ninth inning, highlighted by Sucre’s sac fly to right and a two-run single to center by Mike Osinski gave the Honey Hunters a 5-3 lead.

Neither starter factored into the decision. Joe Iorio pitched six scoreless innings for Long Island, allowing four hits and four walks while striking out two. Merkel lasted six innings, yielding three runs on five hits and three walks with four strikeouts. Donnie Hart (2-1) picked up the win with a scoreless eighth inning, striking out two. Michael Tonkin (1-1) took the loss, giving up three unearned runs on one hit and three walks in one inning. Robby Scott collected his third save with a scoreless ninth inning despite allowing tow hits and a walk.

The Ducks hit the road on Friday to open up a three-game series in North Carolina against the Honey Hunters. First pitch is scheduled for 6:50 p.m. at CaroMont Health Park. Fans can follow all the action on the Long Island Ducks Broadcast Network. Live streaming video and audio will be available via BoxCast on as well as the Ducks official Facebook and YouTube accounts. Right-hander Jhoendri Herrera (0-0, 9.00) gets the start for the Ducks against Honey Hunters righty Jay Gause (1-2, 9.39).

Long Island returns home on Friday, July 2, to begin a four-game set against the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs. Game time is slated for 6:35 p.m., with the Fairfield Properties Ballpark gates opening at 5:35 (5:20 for full season ticket holders. The first 750 fans in attendance will receive Ducks Inflatable Bats. It’s also a Flash Sale Friday! Fans will have the opportunity to receive a special ticket offer to a select home game(s) later in the season by calling (631) 940-TIXX. Tickets to the game, and all Ducks home games, are available by calling (631) 940-TIXX or by CLICKING HERE.

The Long Island Ducks are members of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball, a Professional Partner League of Major League Baseball, and play their home games at Fairfield Properties Ballpark. For further information, visit or call (631) 940-DUCK (3825).

About the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB)

The Atlantic League is the first Professional Partner League of Major League Baseball, a player gateway to the major leagues, and a leader in baseball innovation. ALPB has sent over 950 players to MLB organizations while drawing 42 million fans to its family friendly ballparks over its 24-year history. Please visit