Akron has won four consecutive series, dating back to June 27
It was a statement week for the Akron RubberDucks (43-27) as they took five of six games against the Richmond Flying Squirrels (38-34) and picked up a game over the second-place Bowie Baysox in the AA-Northeast League, Southwest Division. In a division that was within 2.5 games from first to fifth to start the week, now the RubberDucks have given themselves a little bit of wiggle room when it comes to making the postseason. It is now four games back to the third-place team: the Erie SeaWolves. Akron can further widen the gap when they travel to Erie for a six game set this coming week.
At Canal Park this week, Akron dropped the series opener 9-5 after the bullpen surrendered eight unanswered runs to close the game. From there, the future Cleveland Guardian affiliate went on a roll. Starting pitching was at the forefront of the attack, with Juan Hillman, Cody Morris, Adam Scott, and Tanner Tully turning in outstanding outings to start games. Akron held on to the series finale for a 3-2 victory, as Richmond stranded the tying run on first base and Ben Krauth sealed the deal for the save.
7/20: L, 5-9 vs Richmond; W: Patrick Ruotolo (1-0) L: Nic Enright (1-1)
7/21: W, 3-0 vs Richmond; W: Dakody Clemmer (2-2) L: Caleb Kilian (3-1) S: Manuel Alvarez (2)
7/22: W, 6-5 vs Richmond; W: Skylar Arias (6-0) L: Sean Hjelle (3-2) S: Kyle Marman (1)
7/23: W, 5-3 vs Richmond; W: Jake Miednik (1-0) L: Raffi Vizcaino (2-1) S: Juan Mota (5)
7/24: W, 11-7 vs Richmond; W: Skylar Arias (7-0) L: Ronnie Williams (4-4)
7/25: W, 3-2 vs Richmond; W: Juan Hillman (7-2) L: Michael Plassmeyer (1-4) S: Ben Krauth (1)
Tyler Freeman and Jose Fermin continued their comeback efforts this week after coming off the injured list at the end of last week’s series at Harrisburg. Freeman played in four games and was 5-for-15 (.333) with three doubles. Fermin looked good as well, hitting 5-for-11 (.455) in his four days of action with two doubles, three RBIs and a walk.
Player of the Week:
RHP Cody Morris: ND, 5.0 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 1 BB, 7 Ks
Morris continued his success in returning to the mound with his third consecutive shutout performance. This was his first start at Canal Park and he shone in his home debut. In his three starts as a RubberDuck, Morris has thrown 13.0 innings and struck out 16 hitters. Morris mixes up his fastball and curveball effectively, with a huge speed difference on the pitches. The right-hander has been a huge part of the RubberDucks rotation, which was plagued with injuries before the arrival of he, Logan T. Allen and Adam Scott.
LHP Juan Hillman: 2 GS, 1-0, 1.80 ERA, 10.0 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 11 Ks
HIllman picked up his seventh win of the season on Sunday, but the lefty out of Winter Haven, Florida put the team in a position to win in both of his starts this week. The series opening game saw Hillman throw three shutout innings and gave up a single run in the fourth, but ultimately exited the game with a 5-1 advantage. This, however, would be the only loss of the series for Akron after a Flying Squirrel comeback. His Sunday start would be stellar: going six innings and picking up the win. Hillman has struck out at least four batters in each of his last five appearances.
LHP Adam Scott: ND, 5.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 7 Ks
Scott was making his first Canal Park start in 2021 as well this week, with the left-hander from Canandaigua, New York going five innings and striking out seven. Each of these marks were the highest of his three starts so far in AA. The Wofford alum seems to be hitting his stride just as the RubberDucks need quality starting pitching moving forward into the back half of the season.
CF Steven Kwan: 7-17 (.412), 3 R, 1 3B, 3 RBIs, 5 BB, 1.051 OPS
The Oregon State product appeared in five games for the ‘Ducks this week, and was the team’s leading hitter. He got on base, whether it was putting the bat on the ball, or drawing a team-high five walks against Richmond. Friday and Saturday’s games were huge for Kwan, going 3-for-4 Friday with the triple and reached base in all five plate appearances Saturday with three hits and two walks. Kwan drove in a run in each of the last three games of the series.
2B Richie Palacios: 6-18 (.333), 3 R, 2 2Bs, 4 RBIs, 4 BBs, SB
Palacios found himself on the Hot List once again this week after a fine hitting performance. He appeared in six games and reached base 10 times. Palacios drove in three runs in Saturday’s 11-7 offensive explosion and was 2-for-5 with a double. The former Towson Tiger has 19 RBIs and eight doubles in the last 30 days, the most on the team in both categories. He and Andruw Monasterio are two of the hottest hitters in the ‘Ducks lineup in the month of July.
LHP Logan T Allen: ND, 2.0 IP, 4 H, 4 ERs, 2 BBs, 2 Ks
After two solid outings in an Akron uniform, Allen’s third start is one that ended up being his shortest outing of the 2021 season. The Flying Squirrels took the early lead on Saturday by plating four runs on four hits, including two homeruns against Allen in just two innings. It was the first time in his professional career that Allen was roughed up for four earned runs and the first time two batters took him deep in the same game.
RF Will Benson: 2-19 (.105), 1 R, 3 RBIs, 3 BBs
Benson continued to do what he does best: drawing walks, but had a hard time putting bat on ball this week. In five games, Benson was only able to gather two singles, but drove in a run in each of the last three games. Manager Rouglas Odor did not waver in his confidence in Benson this week, as he continued to hit in the lead off spot.
- 7/21: P Zach Draper transferred from Akron to Lake County
- 7/25: INF Marcos Gonzalez activated from the 7-day IL
7/27: @ Erie (7:05 pm)
7/28: @ Erie (7:05 pm)
7/29: @ Erie (7:05 pm)
7/30: @ Erie (7:05 pm)
7/31: @ Erie (7:05 pm)
8/1: @ Erie (1:35 pm)
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