RubberDucks bow out of playoffs with 5-1 loss
Akron won 73 games and earning a playoff berth as the West Division wild card.
RICHMOND, VA – Richmond’s Devin Harris clubbed a two-run homer in the fourth inning Saturday night, sparking the Flying Squirrels to a 5-1, series-clinching victory over the Akron RubberDucks in Game 4 of the Western Division playoffs at The Diamond.
The loss ends the season for the RubberDucks, who made to the post-season after winning 73 games and claiming the West Division wild card. With the win, Richmond, the Giants AA affiliate, wins the series three-games-to-one, and advances to the EL Finals against either Portland or Binghamton. It will be the second appearance in the championship series for the Flying Squirrels. The RubberDucks were in the EL playoffs for the 15th time, and were vying for their 10th trip to the league finals.
The 2014 campaign will go down as an historic season in Akron baseball history. Playing for the first time under the new nickname “RubberDucks,” the team drew better than 350,000 fans to Canal Park. New stadium amenities such as the Tiki Terrace, Fowl Territory and The Game Grill and Bar enhanced the fan experience. On the field, the RubberDucks held down first place for over two months of the season under first-year manager David Wallace until injuries and call-ups took a toll. Three players who suited up for the RubberDucks this season are now in the major leagues—Tyler Holt, Kyle Crockett and Bryan Price.
The offensive slump that hit the RubberDucks in the final two weeks of the regular season carried into the Division series against Richmond. Akron hit just .189 as a team and managed to score just eight total runs in the series. Of those eight, five came in Thursday’s 5-1 win in Game 2.
On Saturday, former Giants top draft pick Chris Stratton (1-0) hurled six shutout innings, holding the RubberDucks to two hits. Four relievers pieced together the final three innings, including Tyler Rogers, who recorded a key out in the eighth to strand three Akron runners on base.
Harris lined a two-run homer to right, his first of the post-season, off Akron lefty Shawn Morimando (0-1) in the fourth to give Richmond a 2-0 lead. That was all Morimando allowed in five innings. He scattered three hits, struck out four, and worked around four walks. Morimando made the jump to AA midway through this season, taking over a rotation spot after winning eight games at Class-A Carolina.
Alex Lavisky drove in the only run of the game for Akron with a RBI double in the seventh inning. The Ducks loaded the bases with two outs in the eighth against Jose Casilla. After Casilla complained of an injury to his arm, Rogers came in and induced a fly ball by Lavisky to end the threat. The RubberDucks stranded 29 runners in the series.
The Squirrels tacked on three insurance runs in the eighth to remove the suspense, sending the crowd of 4,893 into afrenzy that lasted until closer Cody Hall fanned Ollie Linton to end the game, series and season for Akron.
The Akron RubberDucks are the Double-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. The 2014 season was 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.