Birch hurls gem, Richmond pitching silences Akron
The RubberDucks were held to just three hits in the 1-0 loss.
RICHMOND, VA – Three Richmond pitchers, led by lefty starter Ty Blach, weaved a three-hit shutout Friday night, as the Flying Squirrels edged the Akron RubberDucks, 1-0, in game three of the EL Western Division playoffs at The Diamond.
The win gives Richmond a two-games-to-one lead in the best-of-five series. They will look to close out the series on Saturday night at 6:05. The RubberDucks will be looking to force a fifth and deciding game on Sunday.
Richmond’s Kelby Tomlinson drove in the only run of the game with a RBI single in the third inning off Akron starter Cody Anderson (0-1). Tomlinson, who finished 3-for-4, on the night, bounced a single up the middle to drive in Daniel Carbonell. Carbonell reached on a fielder’s choice and then stole second, prior to Tomlinson’s hit that made it 1-0.
Blach (1-0) dealt 6 1/3 innings of shutout baseball in his first start of the season against Akron. He yielded just two harmless singles, and retired 10 in a row at one point. He issued a pair of walks in the seventh, and left after a slug bunt from Bryan LaHair advanced the runners to second and third with one out. Blach used only 90 pitches to get into the seventh.Sidearm specialist Edwim Quirarte came on in relief and got an immediate groundout by Alex Lavisky, on which the runners held. Quirarte issued an intentional walk to Joe Wendle to bring the right-handed hitter, Bryson Myles, to theplate with the bases loaded. Quirarte then fanned Myles on a nasty breaking ball to end the inning.
Quirarte worked into the ninth, giving up a lead-off single to Erik Gonzalez, but getting a double play ball from Anthony Gallas. Lefty Steven Okert was summoned from the bullpen to face LaHair, who promptly grounded out to end the game.
It was Okert’s first save of the playoffs.
Anderson walked one and struck out four in one of his best outings of the season. He allowed only five hits.
Notes: Myles threw out Mitch Delfino at the plate in the fifth inning, keeping it a one-run game. Right fielder Jordan Smith was ejected in the sixth inning after objecting to a called third strike by plate umpire Dan Merzel. Attendance was 5,944.
The RubberDucks and Flying Squirrels will play game four of the series on Saturday evening at 6:05. LHP Shawn Morimando (2-6, 3.83) is the expected starter for Akron, while the Squirrels are expected to go with RHP Chris Stratton (1-1, 3.52). The game will be broadcast on WARF 1350 AM and online at www.AkronRubberDucks.com.
The Akron RubberDucks are the Double-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. The 2014 season is the 18th since moving to Canal Park and the first as the RubberDucks. For more information, including official team merchandise, go to www.AkronRubberDucks.com or call 330-253-5151. Fans may also follow the team on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AkronRubberDucks and Twitter at @AkronRubberDuck.