Roberts guides RubberDucks back to even in series
(Akron, Ohio) – Right-hander Will Roberts set a new career-high with 11 strikeouts, and led theAkron RubberDucks to a 5-1 victory over the Richmond Flying Squirrels in game two of the Eastern League Western Division Series Thursday night at Canal Park.
With the win, Akron (1-1) ties the best-of-five series at a game apiece heading into game three on Friday evening at 7:05 at Richmond’s home ballpark, The Diamond.
Roberts, who ranked second in the league with 12 wins during the regular season, worked seven impressive innings to secure his first playoff win. After giving up a lead-off double and committing a throwing error in the first inning, Roberts settled down to retire the next three hitters and emerge from the opening inning unscathed. He scattered five hits and allowed just one run. He walked none and used mainly his fastball to overpower the Richmond hitters. Roberts (1-0) had a string of five straight strikeouts between the fourth and sixth inning, including striking out the side in the fifth, which won everyone in the stadium free barbeque sandwiches. He finished his outing by retiring the final four batters he faced.
Roberts’ previous career-high in strikeouts was eight, set earlier this season in a game at Altoona. RubberDucks pitching has fanned 26 batters in the series so far.
Jordan Smith provided the key blow against Richmond starter Jack Snodgrass (0-1). His two-run homer in the fifth inning knocked Snodgrass from the game, and extended Akron’s lead to 5-1. It was Smith’s (and Akron’s) first homer of the postseason.
Notes: Ollie Linton was 2-3, with a triple in the fourth inning. He scored on a wild pitch. Joe Wendle, who knocked in the tying run in the bottom of the ninth inning in game one, drove in a run in the third with an RBI single to make it 2-0.
Wendle finished 2-2, and reached base all four times he came to the plate, also drawing a walk and hit-by-pitch. Anthony Gallas broke out of a 1-17 slump by going 2-3, with a double.
The RubberDucks and Flying Squirrels will travel to Richmond for game three on Friday evening at 7:05. LHP Ty Blach (8-8, 3.13) is the expected starter for Richmond, while the RubberDucks are expected to go with RHP Cody Anderson (4-11, 5.44).