Durham Takes Early Lead, Hangs on to Control Series; Bulls 3, Clippers 2
After losing a heartbreaker on Thursday night in the ninth inning, the Columbus Clippers fell behind early on Friday night. Spotting Durham three runs in the first two innings was enough for the Bulls to hang on to a 3-2 victory and now lead the series, 2-1. Columbus will try to fight off elimination this afternoon at 1 p.m.
Durham plated a pair of runs in the bottom of the first when Jason Christian started the inning with a single off Clippers’ starter Shaun Marcum. After Marcum retired the next two hitters, Jeremy Moore singled in a run and Tim Beckham doubled in another to put the Bulls up 2-0. In the bottom of the second inning Nick Franklin homered to left field to give Durham a 3-0 lead.
Columbus battled back in the top of the fifth inning when Elliot Johnson and Ryan Rohlinger hit back-to-back home runs. The two solo homers cut the Clippers’ deficit to just 3-2, but they would get no closer. Columbus registered just six hits in the game, but three after the homers. The Clippers had chances to tie the game, but could not come through. Their best opportunity was in the eighth inning when James Ramsey doubled to start the inning, but Giovanny Urshela, Audy Ciricao and Carlos Moncrief could not bring him home.
The Clippers will now try to fight off elimination on Saturday afternoon at 1 p.m. Nate Karns (9-9, 5.08) will pitch for Durham. Columbus has not officially named a starter.
Richmond Pitching Silences Akron; Flying Squirrels 1, RubberDucks 0
Courtesy of Akron RubberDucks
Three Richmond pitchers, led by lefty starter Ty Blach, weaved a three-hit shutout Friday night, as the Flying Squirrels edged the Akron RubberDucks, 1-0, in game three of the EL Western Division playoffs at The Diamond.
The win gives Richmond a two-games-to-one lead in the best-of-five series. They will look to close out the series on Saturday night at 6:05. The RubberDucks will be looking to force a fifth and deciding game on Sunday.
Richmond’s Kelby Tomlinson drove in the only run of the game with an RBI single in the third inning off Akron starter Cody Anderson (0-1). Tomlinson, who finished 3-4, on the night, bounced a single up the middle to drive in Daniel Carbonell. Carbonell reached on a fielder’s choice and then stole second, prior to Tomlinson’s hit that made it 1-0.
Blach (1-0) dealt 6 1/3 innings of shutout baseball in his first start of the season against Akron. He yielded just two harmless singles, and retired 10 in a row at one point. He issued a pair of walks in the seventh, and left after a slug bunt from Bryan LaHair advanced the runners to second and third with one out. Blach used only 90 pitches to get into the seventh.
Sidearm specialist Edwim Quirarte came on in relief and got an immediate groundout by Alex Lavisky, on which the runners held. Quirarte issued an intentional walk to Joe Wendle to bring the right-handed hitter, Bryson Myles, to the plate with the bases loaded. Quirarte then fanned Myles on a nasty breaking ball to end the inning.
Quirarte worked into the ninth, giving up a lead-off single to Erik Gonzalez, but getting a double play ball from Anthony Gallas. Lefty Steven Okert was summoned from the bullpen to face LaHair, who promptly grounded out to end the game. It was Okert’s first save of the playoffs.
Anderson walked one and struck out four in one of his best outings of the season. He allowed only five hits.
Notes: Myles threw out Mitch Delfino at the plate in the fifth inning, keeping it a one-run game. Right fielder Jordan Smith was ejected in the sixth inning after objecting to a called third strike by plate umpire Dan Merzel. Attendance was 5,944.
The RubberDucks and Flying Squirrels will play game four of the series on Saturday evening at 6:05. LHP Shawn Morimando (2-6, 3.83) is the expected starter for Akron, while the Squirrels are expected to go with RHP Chris Stratton (1-1, 3.52). The game will be broadcast on WARF 1350 AM and online at www.AkronRubberDucks.com.
Photo: Lianna Holub/DTTWLN photographer