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Despite loss, RubberDucks clinch playoff berth

An Altoona victory over Bowie clinched an EL playoff spot for Akron.

Despite loss, RubberDucks clinch playoff berth
Despite the loss, Erik Gonzalez had a monster game from the plate on Saturday, going 4-for-5 with 3 RBI, scored 2 runs and was just a home run shy of hitting for the cycle. (Photo credit: David Monseur)
August 31, 2014
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AKRON, OH – The word starting spreading through the Akron dugout during the ninth inning of Saturday’s game against Erie at Canal Park, and the news was exactly  what the players wanted to hear. The Altoona Curve had posted a 3-1, 10-inning victory over the Bowie Baysox, which clinched an Eastern League playoff spot for the RubberDucks.

Even though the RubberDucks lost to the SeaWolves, 10-8, when a ninth inning rally ended with the potential tying runs in scoring position, the team enjoyed a long-awaited celebration in the home clubhouse while a sellout crowd of 8,172 celebrated in the stands.

Entering the night with a magic number of one over Bowie to secure the EL Western Division ‘Wild Card’, the RubberDucks played from behind the entire game, ultimately losing to Erie for the second straight night. When reports came in, however, that Altoona’s Stetson Allie had hit a two-run homer in the 10th inning to beat the Baysox, Akron’s goal of reaching the playoffs was finally accomplished, regardless of the outcome against Erie.

The RubberDucks (73-67) will host the Richmond Flying Squirrels in games one and two of the best-of-five Western Division Series on Wednesday and Thursday, September 3rd and 4th, at Canal Park. Both games will begin at 6:35 PM.

Fireworks will follow both games. The venue shifts to Richmond for games three, four and five, as necessary, beginning on Friday, September 5th. Akron was 3-4 against Richmond during the regular season.Tickets for all playoff games are available by visiting the Canal Park box office, calling (330) 251-5153, or by visiting www.akronrubberducks.com.

It will be Akron’s 15th appearance in the Eastern League playoffs. The franchise has won four league championships, most recently in 2012.

Notes: Shortstop Erik Gonzalez had four hits and three RBI’s on Saturday. He was 4-for-5, with a triple, double and two singles. He raised his average to .360. Right-hander Cody Anderson (4-11) started and allowed eight runs over 6 1/3 innings to suffer the loss. Erie’s Steven Moya, the EL MVP, set new Erie franchise records with a homer and three RBI inthe game. He now has 35 homers and 105 RBI on the season. Erie starter Wilsen Palacios (10-4) improved to 4-0 against Akron, and closer Jose Valdez earned his 17th save of the season. Valdez has saved five games against theRubberDucks.

The RubberDucks and SeaWolves (69-71) will play game three of the series on Sunday afternoon at 2:05. LHP Josh Turley (3-4, 3.52) is the expected starter for Erie, while the RubberDucks are expected to go with LHP Shawn Morimando (2-5, 3.60). The game will be broadcast on WARF 1350 AM and online at www.AkronRubberDucks.com.

The Akron RubberDucks are the Double-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. The 2014 season is the 18th since moving to Canal Park and the first as the RubberDucks. For more information, including official team merchandise, go to www.AkronRubberDucks.com or call 330-253-5151. Fans may also follow the team on Facebook at www.facebook.com/AkronRubberDucks and Twitter at @AkronRubberDuck.

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