Akron extends season-long losing streak to four
The Rubber Ducks had just seven hits in the 3-0 loss to the Reading Fightin Phils.
AKRON, OH — In front of 7,709 fans and the third sold out crowd of the year at Canal Park, the RubberDucks only managed to get seven hits and were shutout by the Reading Fightin Phils 3-0.
Akron’s Toru Murata (3-1, 1.95) struggled early after striking out the side to start the game.
In the second inning, Aaron Altherr singled, stole a base, and would come around to score on a one-out double to deep center by Reading’s newly arrived left fielder Everett Williams. The following inning, Murata gave up three-straight singles that loaded the bases, where he walked one run in.
The right-hander settled down after the third inning. He recorded his first loss of the year, going six total and giving up two earned runs on seven hits. Murata also struck out seven and walked one.
Despite the loss, skipper David Wallace has been impressed with Murata’s efforts this season. “He’s picked us up big time. You know he’s kind of bounced back and forth with a couple different roles, in the bullpen, as a starter.” Wallace continued his praise for the right-hander, noting him going deep into games, “He’s been very valuable to us. We had a short bullpen today so that was huge.”
Tejeda put forth a decent effort, allowing one earned run on four hits in two innings of relief. J.C. Ramirez also worked one inning, a scoreless ninth where he struck out two and walked one.
The Fightin Phils got a superb effort out of their starter Ryan Demmin (1-0, 2.38). The lefty simply dominated the RubberDucks, allowing no runs on three hits and striking out seven in five innings. Demmin was pulled early because he pitched in relief just two nights ago.
Another lefty, Austin Wright, came in for Reading in the sixth inning. Wright was just as good as Demmin, sitting down the RubberDucks with ease yielding just one hit. The southpaw ran into some trouble in the seventh inning, when he walked Tony Wolters and gave up a hit to Alex Lavisky. However, he successfully got out of the jam by getting Jordan Smith to line out to right field with runners on the corners.
Tyler Knigge came in for Reading after, also running into some trouble in the eighth inning. Tyler Holt led off with a double to deep center, followed by a Tyler Naquin walk. Shortstop Francisco Lindor proceeded to ground into a double play, which hurt Akron’s momentum. Joey Wendle ended up hitting a hot shot up the middle, but was robbed of a RBI single by a sensational play from Reading second baseman Albert Cartwight, which ended the inning.
Fighthin Phils closer Nefi Ogando recorded his fourth save of the year after getting out of a bases loaded jam in the bottom of the 9th, getting Holt to ground out and end the game for the Fightin Phils.
A bright spot for Akron was Lavisky. The RubberDucks catcher singled three times on the day and caught Altherr stealing in the sixth inning.
When I asked if he picked up the team, the Cleveland native thought that everybody had good at-bats but were just subject to great defense by the Fightin Phils, “They were making some amazing plays in the field. Their second baseman and shortstop were diving all over the place.”
Lavisky continued to pick up his teammates saying, “Our guys were hitting the ball hard but they were just making a lot of great plays, so it’s just one of those days where you couldn’t do anything about it and just come back out there tomorrow.”
The RubberDucks have now lost four-straight, the most the team has consecutively lost this year.
In spite of the loss, manager Wallace showed no kinds of concern, “You know, take a step back and keep the big picture in mind. It’s going to happen at some point in the season. We’re not going to panic. Are we happy the way we’re playing? No. But we’re not going to freak out or change anything.”
Wallace went on saying how he feels that his team has stayed competitive during the skid, “That’s the thing, four games we’ve been in all of these until the last at-bat. We’re going to keep working, we’ll be alright.”
Akron (30-19) will finish up the series tomorrow on Memorial Day against Reading (28-19). RHP Mike Nesseth (0-3, 7.78) is scheduled to start for the Fightin Phils and RHP Joe Colon (2-2, 2.82) will take the mound for Akron.
Spencer Davies is a student at the University of Akron studying Sports Management with a minor concentrating in Mass Communication. Follow Spencer on Twitter @SpinDavies.