The Akron RubberDucks (53-40) pulled away from the Richmond Flying Squirrels (54-39) and posted a, 9-2, victory on Thursday night at The Diamond. The RubberDucks took three games in the series and trimmed the Squirrels lead in the Western Division to one game.
The RubberDucks struck first in the third inning against right-hander Clayton Blackburn. Justin Toole rifled a one-out double into the left-field corner to get Akron started. Tim Fedroff followed and laced an RBI single to left field for a 1-0 lead. Francisco Lindor then delivered a hit-and-run single to put runners on the corners. Anthony Gallas then made it 2-0 with a single to the hole on the left-side of the infield.
Blackburn didn’t face any additional adversity and called it a night after five innings. He was charged with two runs on four hits, walked two, hit one and struck out five. He did not factor in the decision.
Richmond-native Will Roberts coasted through the first five innings, blanking the Squirrels on just one hit. However, the Richmond bats came alive to tie the game, 2-2, in the sixth. Kelby Tomlinson sparked the inning with a one-out single flared to right field. Mario Lisson followed and punched a double into the right-field corner to put runners at second and third with one out. Tomlinson scored on a wild-pitch and Devin Harris knotted the ballgame with a sacrifice-fly to center field.
The RubberDucks snatched the lead right back with a run off lefty Phil McCormick in the seventh. McCormick issued a walk to the lead-off man, Tony Wolters. An out later, Ronny Rodriguez singled to put runners at the corners. Another out later, Toole lined a single into right field to give Akron a 3-2 advantage. McCormick (2-4) took the loss for Richmond.
Roberts (9-9) turned in seven strong innings for the win. He allowed two runs on four hits, walked one and struck out seven. He improved to 3-0 lifetime against the Squirrels, also defeating them twice in 2013.
Akron put away the ballgame by sending 10 men to the plate and scoring six runs in the eighth inning. All the damage was done against right-hander Jose Casilla. The inning was sparked by Lindor, who delivered a double – his third hit of the night. Jake Lowery, Rodriguez and Fedroff all supplied run-scoring singles in the frame, but the big blow belonged to Jordan Smith, who blasted a three-run triple to left-center field. The RubberDucks exited the inning with a 9-2 lead.
Right-handers Enosil Tejeda and Adam Miller each handled an inning of relief to take the game to the finish-line. Richmond right-hander Cody Hall struck out all four batters he faced after relieving Casilla.
The Squirrels travel to Bowie, MD, to open a four-game series with the Bowie Baysox (Baltimore Orioles) on Friday night. The opener of the series is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. at Prince George’s Stadium. Richmond LHP Ty Blach (7-4, 2.98) will make the start against Bowie LHP Tim Berry (4-5, 4.04). The Flying Squirrels Pregame Warmup begins at 6:05 p.m. on Sports Radio 910 and SportsRadio910.com.