RubberDucks stay hot, beat Cats
Akron registered 9 runs on 12 hits in Friday's 9-7 win over New Hampshire.
MANCHESTER, NH – The idea in baseball is to peak at the end of the season, and play your bestbaseball down the stretch and into the playoffs. The Akron RubberDucks are following that formula to a tee.
On Friday, Akron shortstop Jaime Pedroza continued to turn heads in his new organization by going 3-for-5, with a homer and four RBI as the RubberDucks outlasted the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, 9-7, at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium towin their fifth consecutive game.
The RubberDucks (70-56) have won all four games on the current road trip, and 10 of the last 11 overall. With Richmond’s 5-1 loss at Portland on Friday, Akron is just a half-game out of first place with 16 regular season games left to play. Thetop two teams from the division make the playoffs, and Akron has a comfortable 7 ½ game lead on third-place Bowie. Adivision title, however, is, after all, a division title.
Pedroza has exploded on the scene since signing as a free agent on August 2nd. Playing regularly the past four games inplace of the injured Erik Gonzalez, Pedroza has gone 8-for-14, with a pair of homers and six RBI on the road trip. Including a three-hit effort last Sunday at Canal Park, Pedroza is 11-for-18, in his last five games.
On Friday, Pedroza singled in runs in the second and third innings as the RubberDucks built a 5-0 lead against New Hampshire starter Casey Lawrence (9-7). Once the Fisher Cats closed to within 7-5, after six inning, Pedroza came to the rescue again in the seventh, launching a long, two-run homer to right field to push the lead back to 9-5. It was his second homer in as many days, following his game-winning shot on Thursday at Portland.
The Fisher Cats (59-66) did not go quietly into the New England night. After tagging starter Shawn Morimando with fiveruns in six innings, the Cats scratched out a run in the eighth against Trey Haley to make it 9-6. Then, facing closer AdamMiller in the ninth, they rallied with two out and no one on base to score a run on a pinch-hit, RBI single by Corey Aldridgeto make it 9-7. Miller left with the bases loaded, but Enosil Tejeda induced a pop-up to center by Matt Newman to end it.
It was Tejeda’s fourth save.
Morimando (2-4) was the beneficiary of the early offensive onslaught, and survived to snap a four-game losing streak andpick up his first win since May 30th.
The RubberDucks sent 10 men to the plate in the 3rd inning, scoring four times. Justin Toole grounded a RBI single, and Anthony Gallas stroked a run-scoring double before Pedroza ripped a base hit to center right past the head of Lawrence.Later, Jake Lowery drew a bases-loaded walk. It was the second time in less than a week that the RubberDucks scored seven runs against Lawrence, the Fisher Cats ace.
The RubberDucks and Fisher Cats will play game two of the series on Saturday night at 7:05. RHP Duke von Schamann (7-6, 3.76) is the scheduled starter for Akron. The Fisher Cats have not announced a starter. 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 toCanal 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.