RubberDucks show late fight, but fall in extras 3-2
(Akron, Ohio) September 3, 2014 – An 11th inning RBI double by Richmond’s Angel Villalona proved to be the difference-maker in Akron’s playoff opener at Canal Park Wednesday night as the Flying Squirrels captured a 3-2 win over the RubberDucks.
The Flying Squirrels (1-0) now lead the best-of-five Western Division Series one game to none heading into Thursday’s second game, also slated for Canal Park, at 6:35 p.m. In the East, Binghamton claimed an 8-5 win over Portland on a walk-off, three-run home run.
With the score deadlocked at 2-2, Villalona doubled to the alley in left-center field with one out in the top of the 11th, and chased home Mario Lisson with the go-ahead run. Lisson had opened the inning by drawing a four-pitch walk from Akron lefty Elvis Araujo (0-1).
Richmond’s Jose Casilla (1-0), who stranded the potential winning run at third in the bottom of the 10th, worked a perfect 11th to secure his first playoff win. Casilla had a 15.43 ERA in three relief appearances against Akron in the regular season, but managed to weave together two scoreless innings on Wednesday.
The game went to extra innings when Joe Wendle slapped an RBI single to left in the bottom of the ninth off Richmond closer Cody Hall. After Wendle’s single tied the game, 2-2, the RubberDucks (0-1) had two men on and no one out, but Hall fanned Bryson Myles and induced a double-play grounder by Jordan Smith to prevent a walk-off win.
The game featured a number of lost opportunities for the RubberDucks, who went 1-10 with runners in scoring position.
RubberDucks starter Duke von Schamann turned in a stellar effort, going seven innings and allowing two runs on five hits. His one and only mistake pitch came when he served up a two-run homer to Richmond’s Blake Miller in the third inning to give the Squirrels a 2-0 lead. After that, he only allowed one more hit over the next four innings. An eight-game winner during the regular season, von Schamann walked only two and fanned six.
Alex Lavisky was 2-4 on the night, including an RBI double in the fourth inning off Richmond lefty Adalberto Mejia, who allowed just one run in 6 2/3 innings. Lavisky’s double brought home Erik Gonzalez, who also had two hits in the game.
Notes: The win snapped a three-game, playoff losing streak for Richmond, who dropped the final three games of the 2011 EL Finals to New Hampshire. Miller’s homer was his first of the season for the Flying Squirrels. Four Akron pitchers combined to strike out 13 Richmond hitters. Richmond started three position players that did not suit up for a single game for Richmond during the regular season (Daniel Carbonell, Mitch Delfino and Tyler Horan). Right fielder Jordan Smith turned in the defensive play of the game when he made a diving catch in the alley to rob Lisson of a potential double in the sixth.
The RubberDucks will attempt to tie the series when they host the Flying Squirrels in game two on Thursday evening at 6:35. LHP Jack Snodgrass (11-6, 3.56) is the expected starter for Richmond, while the RubberDucks are expected to go with RHP Will Roberts (12-12, 4.08).