Akron RubberDucks beat Binghamton, 4-0, behind strong pitching
AKRON, Ohio – Entering Monday’s contest with the Binghamton Mets, the Akron RubberDucks had lost the opening game in five of the team’s seven series to start the 2014 season. The RubberDucks hold a record of 10-6 in all other games, but getting that first win has been difficult thus far.
On Monday, Akron reversed that trend, taking game one of a three-game set 4-0. As has been the case much of the season, the team rode its pitching staff to the victory.
Will Roberts (3-2), who entered as the only Akron starting pitcher with an ERA north of 3.60, threw an gem, allowing just three hits and one walk over six innings. The University of Virginia product has struggled early in the season to the tune of a 5.09 ERA and a 1.78 WHIP entering the game. Following his outstanding performance against Binghamton, his ERA sits at a respectable 4.03 to go along with a 1.55 WHIP.
The bullpen continued its dominance, surrendering just one hit over three scoreless innings. The unit did not allow a walk while striking out seven. Enosil Tejeda and Shawn Armstrong each threw a perfect inning, and Kyle Crockettallowed one hit through his inning of work. On the year, Crockett has a spotless 0.00 ERA and a 0.32 WHIP. In fact, since his promotion to AA Akron in 2013, the former fourth round pick has yet to allow a run over 19 2/3 innings.
The Akron offense got on the board first, pushing across a run in the bottom half of the first. Leadoff man Tyler Naquin and Francisco Lindor both walked to start the inning, and Giovanny Urshela immediately took advantage, knocking home Naquin on a line-drive single to center field. In the process, however, Lindor was gunned down at third base and the RubberDucks couldn’t add any more runs in the first.
The offense was quiet until the eighth, when the Binghamton defense suffered two miscues that led to three Akron runs. Ronny Rodriguez and Naquin both reached via errors to lead off the inning, and Lindor laid down a sacrifice bunt to push both runners into scoring position. Urshela was intentionally walked to load the bases, and first basemanBryan LaHair doubled to deep right field, scoring two. Tony Wolters added an insurance run later in the inning, singling home Urshela.
On the night, Wolters was the only Akron hitter to notch multiple hits, finishing 2-4 with an RBI. Lindor brought his average to a season-high .271 with a 1-2 performance, including a walk. LaHair, appearing in his third game since being recalled from AAA-Columbus, added his first two RBIs on the season, while Urshela brought his batting average back over .300 by going 1-3.
For Binghamton, shortstop Matt Reynolds had three of the team’s four hits, including a triple in the top of the sixth. Reynolds now sits in second place in the Eastern League in batting average at .389. Left fielder Cory Vaughn was responsible for the Mets only other hit. On the night, the Binghamton offense struck out 14 times while only walking once. Starting pitcher Tyler Pill (0-4, 7.58) lasted five innings, allowing just the one run on three hits and one walk.
With the victory, the team’s third in a row, Akron sits in a tie for second place in the Western Division of the Eastern League with a record of 13-11. Binghamton falls to 12-9, two games behind first-place Portland in the Eastern Division.
On Tuesday, Akron’s Kyle Davies is scheduled to face off with righty Hansel Robles. Davies enters the game with a 2-1 record and a 2.92 ERA. Robles, who faced the RubberDucks in his first start of the season, sports a 1.23 ERA on the year. First pitch is slated for 6:35 p.m. at Canal Park.