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First two pitchers join Long Island’s roster for 2014

(Central Islip, N.Y., Jan. 27, 2014) – The Long Island Ducks today announced that they have signed left-handed pitcher Eric Niesen and right-handed pitcher Casey Barnes. Niesen returns for his third season with the Flock while Barnes, who was acquired from the River City Rascals of the Frontier League in exchange for future considerations, enters his first season with the Ducks and in the Atlantic League.

“Eric has been a valuable piece of our bullpen during each of our championship runs,” says Ducks president and general manager Michael Pfaff. “We are happy to have him back for our 15th anniversary season and look forward to welcoming Casey to the Ducks organization as well.”

Niesen was superb for the Ducks in 2013, posting a 4-0 record with a 3.23 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 35 appearances. His efforts earned him a contract with the Boston Red Sox organization on July 9. After pitching in two games with Triple-A Pawtucket, he made 12 appearances with Double-A Portland, compiling a 4.34 ERA, one save and 22 strikeouts in 18 and two-thirds innings.

The southpaw’s first season with the Ducks came in 2012. He was second on the team in appearances with 57 and went 3-2 with a 3.89 ERA and 64 strikeouts in 69 and one-third innings. The Michigan native then went on to appear in seven postseason games, helping lead the Flock to the Atlantic League championship. Prior to joining the Ducks, the 28-year-old spent five seasons in the New York Mets organization, reaching as high as Double-A Binghamton (2009-11). Niesen was originally drafted by the Mets in the third round of the 2007 amateur draft.

Barnes started 20 games for the Rascals in 2013 and posted a 7-3 record with a 3.68 ERA and one complete game. He struck out 66 batters in 120 innings while walking just 29. In addition, the Arizona native allowed three earned runs or less in all but three of his starts.

The 25-year-old spent the previous two seasons in the Frontier League as well with the Washington Wild Things. In his three seasons of Independent Baseball, he has compiled an 18-15 record with a 3.32 ERA in 52 starts. He also earned an All-Star Game selection and League Rookie of the Year honors in 2011. That same year, he was signed by the Philadelphia Phillies organization and made three starts with their rookie-level affiliate in the Gulf Coast League as well as two appearances with Single-A Williamsport in the New York-Penn League. Barnes played his collegiate baseball at Kansas Wesleyan University and went 28-11 with a 3.97 ERA, 22 complete games and five shutouts in 59 games (45 starts).

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