Akron RubberDucks fall short against Trenton Thunder, 9-5
TRENTON, N.J. – On a night when the Akron RubberDucks' offense was finally able to get going, the usually reliable pitching staff faltered, leading to 9-5 defeat at the hands of the Trenton Thunder.
The offense, which entered the game 10th out of 12 teams in batting average, pumped out 12 hits but finished the night 1-11 with runners in scoring position and stranded seven. Hitting in the clutch has been an issue early on in the season, and the problems continued Wednesday night.
With the score 8-2 entering the seventh inning, The RubberDucks scored three to cut the lead to 8-5. Trenton quickly responded, however, with a run of its own in the bottom half of the inning. Following a scoreless eighth, Akron made things interesting in the top half of the ninth. Tyler Holt and Tyler Naquin each had one-out singles, and Bryson Myles worked a deep count before popping up to second baseman Robert Refsnyder. Joe Wendle, who had already homered on the night, stepped into the box with two outs but hit a sharp grounder to first baseman Kyle Roller to end the game.
The Akron pitching staff, which entered second in the league in both ERA and WHIP, struggled from the onset, allowing runs in each of the first four innings. Starter Will Roberts battled through five innings and was hurt by two defensive errors. The former fifth-round pick allowed eight runs (six earned) on six hits and four walks. Allowing an abundance of hits has been the theme throughout Roberts’ career, but walks have rarely been issue. Through 367 career innings, Roberts has only issued 2.03 walks per nine innings. But Thursday was a different story, as he often fell behind hitters and racked up 83 pitches on the night. Kyle Crockett kept his perfect ERA intact, throwing a scoreless inning. Crockett, the Indians fourth-round pick in 2013, has not allowed a run through 7.1 innings on the year to go along with a 0.41 WHIP.
The offense scored five runs for only the fifth time this year, but again came up short when it mattered.
Tyler Naquin stayed hot at the plate, adding three hits and putting together back-to-back multiple-hit games for the first time in 2014. The three hits brought his average up to .250 on the year. Joe Wendle smacked his second home run of the year and brought his average up to .203. Alex Lavisky, the local kid out of St. Edwards High School, again took advantage of his playing time, adding two hits, a double, and an RBI. In his 16 at bats this season, Lavisky has six hits, two home runs, and four RBIs.
For Trenton, designated hitter Ben Gamel led the way with three hits, including two doubles, and two RBIs. Kyle Roller had a home run and a double while Rob Segedin also homered and added three RBIs. Starting pitcher Zach Nuding was effective through 5 1/3 innings, surrendering two runs on seven hits and one walk.
With the loss, the team’s third in a row, the RubberDucks fall to 9-10 on the year while the Thunder sit at 12-7. On Thursday, Akron is scheduled to send veteran Kyle Davies to the mound looking to avoid the sweep. Through three starts, the 30-year-old righty sports a 3.50 ERA and a 1.28 WHIP. The Thunder’s starting pitcher has yet to be determined. First pitch is scheduled for 10:35 a.m. at Arm & Hammer Park in Trenton, N.J.