September 11, 2016 Lynchburg Hillcats

The Columbus Clippers did win game two of the Governors’ Cup against Durham on this date last year thanks to two Ryan Lavernaway homers and a solid pitching performance by three members of the 2020 Cleveland Indians, Logan Allen, James Karinchak and Cam Hill, but we’re not looking at that game.

Instead, we’re going a few years earlier, when the Akron Rubberducks got into a very close matched game in the the series decided match of the 2016 Eastern League semi-finals. Leading the Altoona Curve 2-1 in the five game set, Nick Pasquale (pictured at top from 2018 Indians spring training) was tabbed with the start against Brandon Waddell (currently a member of the Pirates bullpen). Both pitchers started the game fantastically with the only base runner in the first four innings for either team being Jordan Smith who reached on an error.

The game’s first hit came in the fifth inning when Jin-De Jhang singled off Pasquale. A fielder’s choice and two strike outs ended that threat, then the Ducks got their first hit in the bottom half when Mike Papi singled, but despite a Eric Haase walk as well, a double play helped keep the game scoreless.

In a similar situation, Pasquale walked two and threw a wild pitch in the sixth, but used a double play to maintain the shutout. Both starters faced the minimum in the seventh as Smith walked, but was retired by another double play. Pasquale walked another in the next inning, but again managed to get through without score. Waddell was pulled prior to the bottom of the eighth, but the Ducks still couldn’t get anything going and went down in order.

Pasquale was removed heading into the ninth and replaced by Louis Head. He struck out one in a perfect inning of relief, then Brett McKinney stayed in for his second inning and brought the shutout performance into extra innings. After Head pitched another perfect inning in the 10th it took the Ducks just three hitters to walk it off. With one out, Papi doubled and then scored on a Haase single. Overall, there were just four hits total for both teams in the game with two coming in the walk off tenth. Pasquale and Head combined for 10 one hit innings with three walks allowed and ten strike outs. Waddell nearly matched Pasquale for the Curve as he went seven innings, allowed one hit and two walks.

This win for the Rubberducks vaulted them into the Eastern League finals against the Trenton Thunder. This was the 10th time that an Akron based team made it to the Eastern League AA Championship round (they’ve now done it 11 times) and the eighth time since 2003.

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