Espino carves up former mates in Senators win
Akron recorded just five hits in the 3-2 loss to Harrisburg on Saturday.
HARRISBURG, PA – Harrisburg right-hander Paolo Espino had plenty of dominant pitching performances during his years with the Cleveland Indians organization, including a franchise-record 24 wins for Akron. After watching him twirl eight masterful innings for the Senators on Saturday night in a 3-2 win over the RubberDucks, one thing became clear: It was more fun when he was on our side.
Espino (5-3) beat his former team for the second time this season. Both wins have come at Metro Bank Park. On Saturday, he worked eight innings and allowed just two runs on four hits. He did not issue a walk, and used a devastating curve ball to register eight strikeouts. Ironically, he found himself trailing, 1-0, just two batters into the ball game.
After hitting lead-off batter Ollie Linton, Espino gave up a RBI double to Erik Gonzalez. After that he retired the next 11 batters in a row. That streak ended when Bryson Myles clubbed a solo homer in the fourth inning to give Akron a 2-0 lead. Alex Lavisky followed with a single to center, but Espino again regrouped and retired the next 13 Rubber Duckshitters. He finally left after yielding a lead-off single to Gonzalez in the ninth. Espino threw 93 pitches in the game, 70 of which were strikes.
By the time Espino left in favor of closer Robert Benincasa, the Senators (47-65) had battled back to take the lead, 3-2. Former Akron outfielder Quincy Latimore, who won Thursday’s series opener with a walk-off homer in the 10th, smacked a two-run double off lefty Shawn Morimando to tie the game, 2-2, in the bottom of the fourth. In the fifth, Morimando (1-3) issued a pair of walks, and Matt Skole came through with a RBI single to give the Senators a 3-2 lead.
Benincasa immediately gave up a hit to Anthony Gallas in the ninth to put runners on first and second with no one out, but he proceeded to get called third strikes against Jordan Smith and Bryson Myles before getting Lavisky to bounce into a fielder’s choice to end the game. It was Benincasa’s fifth save, and helped Harrisburg to its longest winning streak of the season at four games in a row.
For the second straight night, an Akron loss does not alter the EL West standings. Both first-place Richmond and third-place Bowie also lost, leaving second-place Akron stationary, 6 ½ games behind Richmond, and 3 ½ ahead of Bowie. The top two teams in the division make the playoffs. Going into Sunday’s series finale, 27 games remain in the regular season.
Gonzalez extended his hitting streak to 14 games with his first-inning double. Myles’ homer was his fifth of the season.Second baseman Jaime Pedroza made his Akron debut after signing as a free agent and went 0-3. Morimando lasted sixinnings and scattered five hits. he walked only two and struck out a season-high seven batters, but suffered his third straight loss.
The RubberDucks (60-55) will try and avoid the sweep in the series and road trip finale on Sunday afternoon at 2:00. RHPJordan Cooper (6-3, 4.92) is the scheduled starter for Akron, while RHP Brian Dupra (1-5, 5.63) is expected to get theball for Harrisburg. 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.