For the second time this season, the Akron RubberDucks defeated the Bowie Baysox in four of six games. They are the only team to do it twice as the New Hampshire Fisher Cats also defeated the Baysox in four of six games in the last full week of June. After a tremendous start, Bowie seems to be on a slide towards mediocrity, one that was started by the RubberDucks.
The ‘Ducks were excellent on both sides of the field during this past week, utilizing strong offensive nights, and good pitching to collect their four wins. Thomas Ponticelli and Tanner Tully both turned in great outings during the week, and Will Benson and Oscar Gonzalez were catalysts for the offense. The X-factor for Akron was the emergence of Daniel Schneemann as a run producer in the stead of Tyler Freeman who hit the IL.
With the variety of injuries, it was impressive to see different guys step up, and established guys continue to produce. The resiliency of the RubberDucks was on full display during the week, first with their walk off on Friday night, coming back from a run down in the ninth inning, and then with their attempted comeback on Sunday, when they loaded the bases with two outs in the ninth. The pitching staff was able to produce a ton of swing and miss from a potent Baysox lineup, striking out 71 batters in 53 IP, while only walking 18 batters. The staff was a huge reason for the wins this week, even despite two blown saves recorded by the bullpen.
The RubberDucks will encounter another tough test on the road, as they head to play the Altoona Curve, who sit at 29-23, just 1.5 games back of Akron. With reinforcements of Cody Morris and Adam Scott coming to the team, the staff may be a source of strength as the offense looks to get by after the promotion of Alex Call, and the absence of Tyler Freeman, Jose Fermin, and Marcos Gonzalez.
6/29: L 1-6 vs. Bowie; W: Lebron (3-0); L: Plesac (0-1)
6/30: W 2-0 vs. Bowie; W: Enright (1-0); L: Knight (2-1); SV: Mikolajchak (6)
7/1: W 12-5 vs. Bowie; W: Arias (2-0); L: Klimek (1-3)
7/2: W 7-6 vs. Bowie (10 inn.); W: Marman (4-0); L: Vespi (1-1)
7/3: W 5-3 vs. Bowie; W: Hillman (6-2); L: Rodriguez (3-1): SV: Mota (3)
7/4: L 4-5 vs. Bowie; W: Peralta (5-0); L Mikolajchak (0-4)
Player of the Week
IF Daniel Schneemann: 6-17, 2B, 2 HRs, 6 RBIs, 2 BBs, SB, .353 AVG, 1.215 SLG
In his first week with the RubberDucks, Daniel Schneemann was excellent, as he led a superb offensive effort with six hits and two home runs. With Tyler Freeman injured and hitting the IL, Akron needed one of their backup infielders to step up and that’s exactly what Schneemann did, giving a big boost to the bottom of the RubberDuck order. The left-handed hitting infielder had three multi-hit games in a row from July 1st – July 3rd, collecting an extra base hit in each game. He added at least one RBI in each game, helping Akron win all three of those matchups.
OF/DH Oscar Gonzalez: 7-24, 6 R, 2 2Bs, 2 HRs, 6 RBIs, BB, .292 BA, .979 OPS
Well, it was obvious Oscar Gonzalez was going to make this segment. The right-handed slugger has been on a tear all season, and that didn’t change against Bowie during the last week of play. While his 17-game hit streak came to an end on Saturday, he smashed two home runs and drove in six runs, including a homerun estimated at 450 feet, clearing the batter’s eye in deep center field. The power hitting outfielder has been a menace to opposing pitching all season, as he now ranks third in the Double-A Northeast in HRs, BA, and OPS. Hitting coach Junior Betances mentioned the maturity he has gained to start this year as a key culprit for success, as well as a stronger ability to recognize off-speed pitches.
OF Will Benson: 7-19, 2 R, 2B, HR, RBI, BB, 8 SO, .368 BA, .979 OPS
Will Benson has quietly turned on the offense over the last couple of weeks and continued a strong stretch during the past week against Bowie. The leadoff hitter was on base eight times in six games, as he was a key catalyst for the Akron offense. He finished off a strong week with a great day on Sunday, coming up just a triple short of the cycle, the second week in a row he came up one hit short of a cycle. He had 3 multi-hit games to finish the week of play, which raised his average from .215 to .245. He still holds the top on base percentage on the team at .405 which is good for fifth in Double-A Northeast.
SP Tanner Tully: 2 G, 1 GS, 9.1 IP, 7 H, 4 R, 2 ER, 0 BB, 13 SO
Tanner Tully was excellent for the RubberDucks against a potent Bowie offense, as he worked as a traditional starter on Sunday, and as a bulk reliever behind the rehabbing Zach Plesac on Tuesday. Tully worked two of his best outings of the year, specifically on Sunday. After encountering some trouble in the first, mostly from the inability from his defense to make some plays, the left-handers pitch count skyrocketed, and an unearned run came home. After that, he was able to settle in and strike out a season high seven batters in five innings of work. Over the 9.1 IP, he compiled a 1.93 ERA, a .75 WHIP and an opponent BA of just .200. The boost that the Akron staff gets when Tully is this effective is huge, as even though the RubberDucks lost both games he appeared in, he kept them in the game on Tuesday, and left the game with a lead on Sunday.
RP Nic Enright: 2 G, W, Hold, 4.1 IP, 3 H, 1 ER, 0 BB, 8 SO
Nic Enright continued a superb season with his two outings against Bowie, allowing one earned run in two multi-inning outings. The right-hander worked 2.1 scoreless innings in his first outing on Wednesday night, working as the bridge to Nick Mikolajchak and picking up the win. On Sunday, he picked up his first hold with two innings of one-run ball, which was his first run he had given up in Double-A and the first run that he allowed since his second outing of the year on May 12th.
RP Jake Miednik: 1 G, BS, .2 IP, 4 H, 4 ER, HR, BB, SO
Jake Miednik was charged with a blown save for his outing on Friday night, when he blew a three-run lead, allowing the Baysox to take a 7th inning lead. The inning began with a solo homerun from Kyle Stowers and was followed by a double and a walk. After a sacrifice bunt, top prospect Adley Rutschman lined a game tying double into the left field corner. After a strikeout, Miednik allowed a triple to Robert Neustrom that gave the Baysox a one-run lead. Miednik was finally removed after relinquishing the lead and Manuel Alvarez picked him up by stranding Neustrom on third base. The outing raised the left-handers ERA from 2.20 to 4.24.
OF Chris Roller: 3-19, 4 R, 2B, 3 RBIs, 3 BB, 9 S0, .158 BA, .471 OPS
Chris Roller was able to get a chance to regularly play this past week, with Steven Kwan still working towards 100% and Alex Call being promoted to Columbus. However, Roller was unable to take full advantage of the opportunity as he only collected three hits in six games. While he was still able to drive in runs and get on base enough to score four times, he couldn’t be a consistent bat for the Akron offense. The opportunities will likely still come for the outfielder as the season continues, but they may not be as plentiful with Kwan back to 100% and Palacios still playing a part in the outfield picture.
7/6: @ Altoona, 6:30 p.m.
7/7: @ Altoona, 6:30 p.m.
7/8: @ Altoona, 6:30 p.m.
7/9: @ Altoona, 7:00 p.m.
7/10: @ Altoona, 6:00 p.m.
7/11: @ Altoona, 6:00 p.m.
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