Three-Run Third and Solid Kaminsky Give Akron Game 2 Win; ‘Ducks 4, Thunder 2
Bob Toth | On 15, Sep 2016
Home field was advantageous one last time for the RubberDucks on Wednesday as Akron used a three-run third inning to defeat the Trenton Thunder 4-2 in Game 2 of the Eastern League Championship Series.
Rob Kaminsky started for the ‘Ducks and retired eight straight to start the night before two-out singles from Sebastian Valle and Tyler Wade. Kaminsky buckled down, striking out his fourth batter of the night as the scoreless game moved to the bottom of the third.
Four straight hits from Akron in the bottom half off of Will Carter opened up the game for the ‘Ducks. Singles from Greg Allen and Yan Gomes to start the frame set up a run-scoring opportunity for Jordan Smith, who got his second hit of the game with a double to right, scoring Allen for the early lead. Nellie Rodriguez followed with the game-changing hit, scoring a pair with a single to center to give Akron a 3-0 lead.
Kaminsky was touched up for a run in the fifth after a leadoff double from Billy McKinney. He scored on a grounder to short, cutting into Akron’s lead at 3-1. Kaminsky bounced back, striking out a pair to end the road half.
Akron responded to get a run right back its next time up. Gomes was hit by a pitch and Smith added his third knock of the game with a double, moving Gomes to third. Reliever Cale Coshow intentionally walked Rodriguez to load the bases, but Mike Papi grounded to third with Dante Bichette Jr. throwing to Valle at the plate for the force out. Eric Haase struck out for out number two before a walk by Eric Stamets forced in a run to make it 4-1. Mark Mathias ended the threat by striking out swinging.
The DH Gomes exited in the bottom of the sixth for pinch-hitter Joe Sever as a precautionary measure after the hit by pitch.
Kaminsky followed him out of the game the next half inning. McKinney doubled and moved to third on a missed catch by Rodriguez at first for an error. Trey Amburgey struck out but Valle singled to make it 4-2. After a groundout moved both runners up with two outs, Dustin Fowler struck out swinging against reliever Cameron Hill to end the big threat.
Akron put two on in the seventh and eighth with a pair of walks in each inning, but could not pad its lead. Louis Head came on for the ninth for the RubberDucks, striking out McKinney before a single from Billy Fleming. A pop up to Mathias at second registered the second out before Head walked Francisco Diaz. The go-ahead run came to the plate in Wade, but Head got a huge out, striking out Wade looking for a big save.
Kaminsky struck out eight, a season high, over six and two-thirds innings in a big victory for the ‘Ducks. He allowed two runs on seven hits and did not walk a batter in his outing. Carter lasted just four innings for Trenton, allowing four runs on nine hits. Former ‘Duck relief pitcher J.P. Feyereisen worked an inning and one third against his former teammates, walking three while striking out three.
Smith was 3-for-4 at the plate with a single, two doubles, an RBI, and two runs scored for the RubberDucks. Rodriguez drove in a pair while going 1-for-3. The first seven batters in the Akron lineup registered hits on the night. Valle was 3-for-3 for the Thunder Wednesday night and drove in a run. McKinney was 2-for-4 with a double, a triple, and a pair of runs scored.
With a two-games-to-none lead in the EL Championship Series, the ‘Ducks will go for the sweep and the trophy on Friday night from Trenton’s Arm & Hammer Park in the 7:00 PM start. Akron’s scheduled starter is right-hander Nick Pasquale (7-8, 3.39 ERA in 22 games at three levels in 2016), who is coming off of eight innings of scoreless one-hit baseball against Altoona on Sunday. Former Indians left-handed farmhand and 2014 first round pick Justus Sheffield (10-6, 3.09, 25 appearances over three leagues and two teams) will look to bounce back from a tough start against Reading in the first round of the Eastern League playoffs last Friday, when he allowed six earned runs on eight hits with two walks and three strikeouts in four and one-third innings.
Games 4 and 5, if necessary, will take place in Trenton on Saturday and Sunday.
Photo: David Monseur/MILB.com