Pantoja Homer Lifts RubberDucks
Akron RubberDucks second baseman Alexis Pantoja hit a go-ahead home run to left field leading off the top of the ninth inning to lift his team to a 3-2 win over the Erie SeaWolves at UPMC Park in Erie, Pennsylvania, on Saturday night. It snapped an eight-game losing streak to Erie and set up Akron's fifth straight series rubber match on Sunday.
A 2-2 tie remained from the sixth inning until the ninth inning, when SeaWolves right-hander Nolan Blackwood began his second inning of relief. Pantoja led off with a drive that struck above the yellow stripe along Erie Insurance Arena, marking a home run to left field. It was Pantoja's second home run of the season and first since a solo home run June 1 in Game 1 of a doubleheader in Erie, which was also Akron's last win against the SeaWolves until Saturday night.
RubberDucks right-hander Kyle Dowdy, who pitched 13 games with Erie last season, pitched 4 2/3 innings in his first Eastern League start of the season. After three scoreless innings, he allowed Erie's two runs in the fourth inning but stranded two other runners. He left after a two-out single in the fifth inning for Paulson, who got the final out of the fifth inning and worked around a one-out triple in the sixth. He pitched 3 2/3 scoreless innings before leaving in the ninth inning with one out. Right-hander Dalbert Siri entered, and on his first pitch, Cam Gibson tried to steal second base, but catcher Logan Ice threw to shortstop Ernie Clement to record the second out. A flyout on the next pitched ended the game.
Erie right-hander Casey Mize retired the first nine RubberDucks before Clement led off the fourth inning with a double to left field and scored on third baseman Nolan Jones's RBI single. With a 2-1 Erie lead in the sixth inning, right fielder Trenton Brooks hit a two-out double to right field, Mize walked the next two batters, and center fielder Alex Call hit a game-tying single, scoring Brooks, but the potential go-ahead run, Nellie Rodriguez, was thrown out at home plate.
Akron improved to 11-25 in one-run games...Prior to Saturday, the RubberDucks had lost eight straight games to the SeaWolves (the most against any opponent this season) and trail the season series, 11-3...Erie (40-16) remained two games ahead of Bowie (38-18) in the Western Division second half...Time of game: 2:49...Attendance: 5,274.
On the Pond
The RubberDucks conclude their series in Erie at 1:35 p.m. EDT Sunday. Akron LHP Adam Scott (4-3, 3.45) is scheduled to face SeaWolves LHP Tarik Skubal (1-1, 1.86). The game broadcast, powered by FirstEnergy, is on Fox Sports 1350 AM, the WARF iHeartRadio channel, and the TuneIn Radio App, and available on MiLB.TV. Tickets for RubberDucks home games are available at akronrubberducks.com/tickets.
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