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Akron RubberDucks fall off late, lose to Harrisburg Senators, 6-4

Akron RubberDucks fall off late, lose to Harrisburg Senators, 6-4
Photo credit: Brittany Chay/flickr
May 31, 2014
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AKRON, Ohio – Down 5-4 with the bases loaded and no outs in the bottom of the eighth inning, it appeared that the Akron RubberDucks would head to the top of the ninth inning with the lead or, at very least, a tie.

Unfortunately for the home team, neither scenario would become reality.

Following a Ronny Rodriguez strikeout to begin the rally-killing sequence, Jordan Smith walked to the plate looking to be the hero.

Instead, Smith weakly tapped a bouncer left of the mound to Senators’ reliever Matt Grace, who calmly threw the ball home for a force out at the dish.

Subsequently, Bryson Myles, who smacked a single up the middle to help load the bases earlier in the inning, tripped while rounding third base on the play and was caught in a pickle that ultimately turned into in an inning-ending double play for the Senators. 

As for the reason Myles was rounding third with such vigor, well, RubberDucks manager David Wallace said he believes that’s just Bryson being Bryson.

“He was being aggresive. That’s Bryson,” Wallace said. “Bryson’s aggressive. We want him to continue to be aggressive. I think he’d like to have that one back. There just wasn’t really a play to be made there. He’ll learn from it.”

Following the RubberDucks’ botched chance in the eighth; the Senators added a run in the ninth off of reliever Shawn Armstrong to secure a 6-4 victory- just their 19th of the season thus far.

While the outcome of that eighth inning was not the one that Wallace had hoped for, he believes that innings and situations like that will help his team and their development going forward.

“That’s the game, we’re going to learn from it,” Wallace said. We’re going to be better in the end from it. Whether what happened, happened or we come through with the big hit, sometimes those things can actually be better in the long run.”

On the mound, RubberDucks starter Cody Anderson came into Saturday’s game having pitched well in three straight starts, earning him the title of Indians Minor League Player of the Week, but the righty struggled at times in his latest outing.

Allowing three runs on four hits in six innings, while walking four and striking out just one, Anderson felt his early struggles were the result of an itch to get back out on the mound.

“That’s one of those games you have to just grind through,” Anderson said of his start. “I came out early in the game overthrowing because I felt pretty good. I was on seven days rest and just kind of overthrew a little bit- left a lot of stuff up- and they obviously capitalized early. I settled down and was able to get some quick outs.” 

Wallace, on the other hand, felt Anderson’s problems on Saturday were caused by a need for perfection, rather than an overdose of anticipation.

“I think sometimes he just tries to be a little too perfect, instead of challenging guys,” Wallace said. “I thought there were too many times that he got ahead and let him get back into the count. He needs to be able to put them away earlier.”

Wallace quickly came to Anderson’s defense, however, saying that the starter made the proper adjustments and did what he needed to do to give the RubberDucks a chance to win. 

“I thought he battled. He definitely didn’t have his best stuff or his best location, but he battled through it,” Wallace said. “He gave us six innings, three runs, so that’s a quality start in my book.”

Despite his problems on Saturday, Anderson feels that overall, things are continually heading in the right direction.

“I’m just starting to feel a lot better,” Anderson said. “The weather is warming up, I got a better routine going and I feel like it’s time to start rolling and battle through these next three months.”

Offensively, second baseman Joey Wendle hit a towering home run to right following a Tyler Naquin triple to deep left center, but Akron couldn’t muster much else, as the back-to-back knocks were the only extra base-hits of the night for the home team. 

The RubberDucks are set to return to action on Sunday afternoon at Canal Park against the Senators in the rubber match of this three-game set. First pitch is scheduled for 2:05 p.m.

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