Richmond-native Will Roberts guided the Akron RubberDucks (1-1) past the Richmond Flying Squirrels (1-1), 5-1, on Thursday night at Canal Park. The win allowed the Ducks to level the series at a game apiece as the scene shifts to The Diamond for the remaining games in the series.
Lefty Jack Snodgrass battled through adversity in the first two innings, but couldn’t continue to hold off the RubberDucks in the third. Erik Gonzalez and Anthony Galles started the inning with back-to-back singles before Snodgrass walked Bryan LaHair to load the bases with nobody out. Alex Lavisky followed and grounded into a double-play. Gonzalez scored the first run of the ballgame on the play. Joey Wendle then made it 2-0 with an RBI single to center field.
Kelby Tomlinson opened the fourth inning and flared a double into right field to get the Squirrels started against Roberts. Blake Miller grounded out to move him to third, and Mario Lisson grounded out to score him.
Akron got the run right back against Snodgrass in the bottom of the fourth. Ollie Linton led off and yanked a triple into the right-field corner. He scored when Snodgrass then uncorked a wild-pitch.
Akron took a commanding lead and chased Snodgrass from the ballgame in the fifth inning. Wendle sparked the inning with a one-out single. Wendle was forced by Bryson Myles, but the inning continued for Jordan Smith. He crunched a two-run home run to right field for a 5-1 Akron lead.
Smith’s home run was the final pitch that Snodgrass threw, doomed to the loss over 4 2/3 innings. Snodgrass (0-1) was charged with five earned runs on nine hits, walked three, hit two and struck out three..
Meanwhile, Roberts (1-0) was magnificent over seven innings. He allowed just the lone run on five hits. He walked none and struck out a season-high 11 to earn the win.
Right-hander Trey Haley worked a perfect eighth inning, and fellow righty Josh Martin had no trouble closing the door in the ninth.
The Western Division Championship Series shifts to The Diamond in Richmond, VA, for all remaining games. Game 3 is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. as Richmond LHP Ty Blach (8-8, 3.13) will make the start against Akron RHP Cody Anderson (4-11, 5.44). The Flying Squirrels Pregame Warmup will begin at 6:35 p.m. on Sports Radio 910 and SportsRadio910.com.