Reading 6, Akron 5
After three pitchers duels against the Yard Goats to open the homestand, the Fightin Phils grew accustomed to playing low-scoring games on this homestand. And for the first five-plus innings Friday night, RubberDucks right-hander Eli Morgan was extremely tough in his Double-A debut. Three ‘Ducks homers, including two from Daniel Johnson, looked like they’d be the difference, but the Fightins pulled off their most improbable comeback of the season with three runs in the ninth. The late heroics were punctuated by Jose Gomez’ second RBI single.
The first home run came off the bat of Akron’s Wilson Garcia, who took Tom Eshelman deep on the first pitch of the second inning for a 1-0 lead. In his best start of the season, Eshelman wouldn’t allow another run until the fifth, when three straight hits produced two runs on a double from Jorma Rodriguez and a single by designated hitter Logan Ice, to stake Akron to a 3-0 lead..
Morgan was perfect until the fifth, which turned when Austin Listi opened the inning with a walk and Cornelius Randolph added the first hit to bring up the tying run. An errant pick-off throw to first scored Listi, and Gomez broke an 0-for-16 at the plate with a run-scoring single to make it a 3-2 ballgame. The ‘Ducks came right back when Johnson led off the sixth with his fifth home run, pushing the lead back to two temporarily.
In the home half, Mickey Moniak led off with his Eastern League-leading fourth triple, a line shot into the right field corner. Henri Lartigue reached base on a with a walk, stole second base, then got to third on a wild pitch that scored Moniak to get Reading within a run at 4-3. Listi’s second walk spelled the end for Morgan, but with one out, left-hander David Speer started a 1-6-3 double-play off the bat of Randolph to end the inning and keep Akron ahead.
Johnson’s second home run came with one out in the eighth, adding to his team-leading total and giving him six for the season. Two more singles came later in the inning, and Jeff Singer got the final out of the inning before striking out a pair in a scoreless top of the ninth.
The comeback started for the Fightins against the hard-throwing Argenis Angulo, who was angling for the save, holding a 5-3 cushion. Adam Haseley and Listi walked to put the tying runs on base, giving Randolph an opportunity to smoke an RBI double down the right field line to make it a one-run game. Pinch-hitter Darick Hall squared off against new pitcher Dalbert Siri and squibbed a single near third base to load the bases. Raul Rivas worked a walk to tie the score, and Gomez lined a single to end the ballgame and give the Fightins a 6-5 win and get them back to a season-high four games over .500 at 17-13.
Indianapolis 6, Lehigh Valley 5
The Lehigh Valley IronPigs ninth inning rally fell short as they dropped a 6-5 decision to the Indianapolis Indians Friday. The Pigs were trailing by five runs entering the bottom of the ninth inning and scored four runs, but left the tying run on third base.
Enyel De Los Santos pitched just three innings in his return start for the IronPigs before Yacksel Rios entered in the top of the fourth inning to pitch in relief. The Indians tagged Rios for five runs to take a 5-1 lead. Jason Martin hit a two-run home run and both Jacob Stallings and Kevin Kramer had RBI doubles.
Stallings would later launch a sacrifice fly off Alexis Rivero in the top of the ninth inning to give Indianapolis a 6-1 lead.
Dario Agrazal was impressive for Indy, needing just 81 pitches to get through eight innings for the Indians. He allowed just one run off three hits with seven strikeouts and did not walk a batter.
The four-run bottom of the ninth inning was highlighted by a Malquin Canelo RBI single and an Andrew Romine two-run single. Damek Tomscha also scored in the inning on a throwing error that allowed Romine to not only steal second, but move over to third as the tying run. Mitch Walding struck out for the fourth time in the game to end the comeback. Walding is mired in a 2-for-20 slump that has dropped his season average to .183 with Lehigh Valley.
The Pigs have now lost five straight games and have fallen out of first place in the IL North, sitting 1/2 game behind Syracuse and are just 1/2 game ahead of Scranton/Wilkes-Barre.
Clearwater 8, Dunedin 4
Alec Bohm had two hits, scored twice and drove in two runs, upping his average with Clearwater to .275 in the Threshers’ win. Matt Vierling had three hits – including two doubles – and also drove in a run and scored two for Clearwater. Unfortunately, Jhailyn Ortiz continued to struggle, going 0-for-5 with three strikeouts, stranding five runners on base. Ortiz’ average is now down to .177 on the season.
On the mound, Julian Garcia was impressive, scattering seven hits over six innings. He didn’t issue any walks in the game and struck out seven. He is now 2-2 with a 2.97 ERA on the season. Errors led to three earned runs over the final three innings against pitchers Luis Cedeno (1 IP) and Grant Dyer (2 IP).
Hagerstown 3, Lakewood 0
Malvin Matos had two of Lakewood’s five hits. The struggles at the plate continued for Luis Garcia (.182), Ben Pelletier (.191), Jake Holmes (.164) and Cole Stobbe (.141). The four hitters were a combined 1-for-14 at the plate, with Garcia picking up the only hit among the four.