Eastern League: Rubberducks Avoid Sweep With 7-6 Walk-Off Win Over Curve
Akron stays within a game of 1st with victory.
The Akron RubberDucks took on the Altoona Curve in a three-game series over the past weekend with both teams in the hunt for first place. The Curve came won the first two games, with the RubberDucks avoiding a sweep, by winning on Sunday 7-6. Legends on Deck’s Mathew Carper was on-hand to capture all the action behind the lens.
On Friday, the RubberDucks who led the Curve by one game in the Eastern League Western standings, scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the first, when Jordan Smith scored ahead of Yu-Cheng Chang‘s sac-fly to center field.
But the Curve answered right back with two in the second and four in the third to take a commanding 6-1 lead. The scoring output was highlighted by a two-RBI double from Jerrick Suiter scoring Elvis Escobar and Logan Hill in the third.
In the bottom of the frame, Eric Haase hit his 16th home run of the season to pull Akron within four runs. Then after Akron scored a run in the fifth, Haase struck again with his second home run of the game (17) and Luigi Rodriguez doubled in a run to pull the RubberDucks closer at 6-5.
The Curve added two runs in the top of the ninth to pad their lead on a two-run home run from Pablo Reyes. Down three runs in the bottom of the frame, Akron brought the tying run to the plate with two outs, but Bobby Bradley was called out on strikes to end the game.
Kevin Newman – 3 for 4, 2 Doubles
Jerrick Suiter – 2 for 4, 2 R, 2 Doubles, 2 RBI
Wyatt Mathisen – 3 for 4, R, Double, RBI
Pablo Reyes – 1 for 4, R, HR, 2 RBI
Miguel Rosario (S, 3) – 2 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 4 K
Eric Haase – 2 for 5, 2 R, 2 HR, 2 RBI
Tyler Krieger – 3 for 5, R, RB
In Game one, the Curve struck first with a run in the top of the first on a line drive single from Edwin Espinal, scoring Pablo Reyes. But the RubberDucks took a 2-1 lead in the bottom of the first on a sac-fly from Bobby Bradley and a RBI single by Yu-Cheng Chang.
The Curve tied the game in the second on a single from Kevin Newman, and the game remained that way until the bottom of the fifth when Akron scored two runs on a two-run double off the bat of Joe Sever.
In the top of the sixth, the Curve added three runs highlighted by a two-run shot from Jerrick Suiter and an RBI double from Tomas Morales. Then Logan Hill added an insurance run on an RBI double, in the top of the seventh to pull ahead 6-4. The RubberDucks put together one last rally, scoring a run in the bottom of the seventh, but Luigi Rodriguez lined out to center field with the tying run on base and fell for the second straight game, this time 6-5.
Logan Hill – 2 for 4, 2 Doubles, RBI
Jerrick Suiter – 1 for 4, R, HR, 2 RBI
Joe Sever – 2 for 4, R, Double, 2 RBI
Luigi Rodriguez – 2 for 4, R, Double
In Game three of the series, which was a make-up game from May 5th, the game remained scoreless until the top of the fourth with Altoona scored a run to take a 1-0 lead on Edwin Espinal’s 10th home run on the season.
Altoona then added four more runs in the top of the sixth on an RBI single, a fielding error and two wild pitches to take a 5-0 lead. Akron added a run in the bottom of the seventh but it was not enough as the Curve bullpen shutdown the RubberDucks offense, securing the 5-1 victory.
Edwin Espinal – 1 for 4, R, HR, RBI
Montana DuRapau (S, 14) – .2 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 0 K
Dorssys Paulino – 2 for 3
Todd Hankins – 2 for 3, R, Double
On Sunday and the final game of the series, the RubberDucks finally broke through scoring seven runs in the last three innings of the game, including four in the bottom of the ninth to walk-off Altoona 7-6 and avoid a 4-game sweep.
Altoona once again struck early by taking a 1-0 lead in the top of the first on a sac-fly from Edwin Espinal.
The game remained that way until the top of the fifth when the Curve scored three in that frame and two more in the sixth to extend their lead to 6-0. In the scoring, Espinal hit his 11th dinger on the season, a three-run shot, and an RBI single from Pablo Reyes was the difference in the sixth.
But the RubberDucks did not give in scoring two in the seventh, one in the eighth on Yu-Cheng Chang’s 19th on the season, and four in the ninth to complete the come-back victory. In the game winning frame, Eric Haase hit a bases loaded single scoring Todd Hankins. Then Bobby Bradley walked in a run, and next batter Yu-Cheng Chang hit a sac-fly scoring the third run in the inning to tie the game at 6-6. After a pitching change, Dorssys Paulino lined out for the second out in the inning. Next batter Miguel Rosario was intentionally walked to load to bases again, and Yonathan Mendoza drew a walk to score Haase with the winning run.
A well needed victory for the RubberDucks keeping them just a game out of first place.
Edwin Espinal – 1 for 4, R, HR, 4 RBIs
Pablo Reyes – 3 for 4, Double, RBI
Jordan Smith – 2 for 3, R, RBI
Eric Haase – 3 for 5, R, Double, RBI
Yu-Cheng Chang – 2 for 4, 2 R, HR, 2 RBI
WEEKEND PHOTO GALLERY – BY MATHEW CARPER