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RubberDucks beat Senators, twice

Akron defeated Harrisburg 10-3 to finish Monday's shortened contest, and 7-6 in Tuesday's scheduled outing.

RubberDucks beat Senators, twice
Akron shortstop Ronny Rodriguez went 3-for-8 with a double and a grand slam, while scoring three runs and recording 4 RBI over the past two games. (Photo credit: Brittany Chay)
May 14, 2014
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AKRON, OH — Before tonight’s game, the RubberDucks and Senators resumed play from Monday's game in the bottom of the seventh inning knotted up 3-3. Propelled by Ronny Rodriguez’s first-career grand slam, Akron scored seven-runs in the seventh to beat Harrisburg, 10-3. Righty Enosil Tejeda (2-0, 2.03) got the win, and newly promoted Rafael Martin (0-1, 81.00) was handed his first loss of the season.

In the “second” game of the night and in a back & forth contest, the Akron RubberDucks pulled out a 7–6 victory over the Harrisburg Senators at Canal Park on Tuesday night.

Akron shortstop Ronny Rodriguez started things off with a fantastic pick and threw across his body to rob Michael Taylor of a base hit on the first play of the game. 

Rodriguez also started things off at the plate for the RubberDucks in the bottom of the third, bunting for a single that Senators starter Blake Schwartz could not handle. Later in the inning, Tyler Naquin hit a sacrifice fly to left, scoring Rodriguez and giving the RubberDucks a 1-0 lead.

Akron continued their hitting ways in the bottom of the fourth when Tony Wolters led off with a popup-turned-single due to miscommunication by Senators catcher Brandon Bantz and first baseman Matt Skole.  Bryan LaHair walked the next at-bat, and second baseman Joe Wendle delivered with a two-run double to put the RubberDucks up 3-0.

Akron’s Duke von Schamann was cruising along, striking out two and only yielding a couple of hits to Harrisburg, until the top of the fifth inning. The Senators scored five runs thanks to RBI singles from Adrian Sanchez, Michael Taylor and Cutter Dykstra.

Former Akron outfielder Quincy Latimore hit a RBI double, as well, in the inning. 

RubberDucks right-hander Jordan Cooper relieved von Schamann with two outs in the fifth, and got Matt Skole to pop out to get out of the jam. The Senators took a 5-3 lead heading into the half inning.

The RubberDucks responded right back with a Justin Toole leadoff double in the bottom of the fifth. Tyler Naquin followed with a base hit to right, then Senator right fielder Quincy Latimore made an errant throw, allowing Naquin and Toole to each advance a base. After walking Tyler Holt, Blake Schwartz was pulled in favor of reliever Matt Grace.

Despite the pitching change, Tony Wolters singled to left field and scored both runners, tying the game back up, 5-5. Two batters later, Joe Wendle hit a RBI fielder’s choice, giving Akron a 6-5 lead going into the sixth inning. 

The RubberDucks added some insurance in the sixth inning, when Ronny Rodriguez scored from second base because of a bad throw by Brandon Bantz that sailed over the head of third baseman Adrian Sanchez and into left field. Matt Grace then walked Justin Toole, and a storm rolled through.

After a 61-minute rain delay, play resumed.  Both teams trotted out new pitchers, Neil Holland for the Senators and Adam Miller for the RubberDucks.

In the top of the seventh, Miller found himself in a jam, giving up back-to-back base hits to Latimore and Dykstra. After a wild pitch and a walk, the bases were loaded for Harrisburg with two outs.  Miller walked two straight, including one run in, but got Ricky Hague to ground out to escape the inning with minimal damage and leave the RubberDucks clinging to a 7-6 lead.

Right-hander Shawn Armstrong came in the 8th inning and gave up just one hit, a double to Michael Taylor in the ninth inning.  However, Armstrong stayed confident and recorded his sixth save of the season and held the RubberDucks lead to win the game, 7-6.

Jordan Cooper (4-0, 5.19) got the win and Blake Schwartz (0-7, 7.04) recorded the loss.

Rodriguez, who has 4 RBI with a grand slam and a double in the series, has really stepped it up lately on both sides of the field.

“I’m working with my hitting coach Roug & Wallace,” said Rodriguez when asked if he’s changed anything. “I haven’t changed my mechanics, just trying to hit the ball and take good pitches down in the zone.”

When asked about the team’s recent success, Rodriguez said that the team has a good energy about it, and that it is great.

The RubberDucks (25-13) are scheduled to play on Wednesday at 10:35 AM to conclude the series with Harrisburg (11-25). 

I asked manager David Wallace about how he can make sure his team is ready to go, “You just do it, and you just figure out what you need to do to get ready to play because that game’s happening one way or another. I mean we’re going to be here, we may as well go out and win it.”

RHP Gabriel Arias (4-2, 3.90) will take the mound for Akron and RHP Brad Meyers is scheduled to start for the Senators in Wednesday morning’s game.

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