RubberDucks rally, but fall short 5-4 to Mets
The RubberDucks and Mets split the series 2-2
BINGHAMTON – The Akron RubberDucks rallied late, but fell just short on their comeback attempt against the Binghamton Mets losing 5-4 on Sunday to split the season opening series.
After two days of cold and rainy weather, the RubberDucks and Mets finally got the warmer weather and sun needed to play baseball.
In his season debut, starter Will Roberts made his return to the RubberDucks after a rocky 2013 season. Roberts, who played his college ball at the powerhouse University of Virginia, gave Akron a good opportunity to come away with a win on Sunday.
Allowing runs in the first and third innings, it was the RubberDucks bats that fell silent as Roberts went to work early in the game.
Pitching 5.2 innings, Roberts kept the Mets to just three runs, only two of which were earned runs on seven hits, while walking just one. Roberts threw over two-thirds of his pitches in the strike zone forcing the Mets to put the ball in play.
The RubberDucks did eventually get on the board with Roberts in to pitch. In the top of the sixth, Francisco Lindor and Joe Wendle reached base safely with catcher Jake Lowry due up to bat. Lowry, who collected a pair of hits in game one of Saturday's double header, ripped a double to right field to knock home Windle and Lindor to tie the game up at 2-2.
In the next inning, Roberts ran into trouble with two outs, which ended his day. Reliever Jordan Cooper came on with runners on, but Mets' Travis Taijeron found a gap between first and second to knock a runner in and give Binghamton a 3-2 lead on Roberts' tab.
Cooper had a rough outing in his first appearance of the season. Struggling to come up with stops, Cooper allowed two earned runs in 1.1 innings. The RubberDucks found themselves down 5-2 with just a half inning left to play.
In the top of the ninth, Akron got the inning rolling with a Jordan Smith single to put pressure on Binghamton's closer, Chase Bradford. Right behind Smith was the red-hot Tony Wolters who has had at least one hit in every game this season.
Wolters put his .455 batting average to the test and hit a clutch single that pushed the speedy Smith to third with two RubberDucks on the pond for Tyler Holt. Finding a way to get it done, Holt bashed a long fly to center that allowed Smith to jog in from third to bring Akron within one run of tying the game.
Next up, Tyler Naquin came on with Wolters on second, but Naquin could not get it done as he grounded to second for the second out of the inning ending his day 0-5 with four runners left on base.
Then it was the ever-dangerous Lindor who gave the RubberDucks all the hope they needed. He was able to add on to his impressive start to the season with an RBI single that scored Wolters bringing Akron within a run a 5-4.
Keeping the game on edge, Wendle came up next and ripped a line drive single to left moving Lindor to second.
The game then fell into Ronny Rodriguez's hands in the batters box. Unable to come up with the run the RubberDucks needed, Rodriguez struck out to end the game.
Akron will hit the road again to take on the Altoona Curve (1-2) on Monday with first pitch set for 6:30 p.m.