Akron RubberDucks 11, New Hampshire Fisher Cats 8

Micah Pries did it all for Akron. Almost. He got the three hardest hits of the cycle, but couldn’t get a single on the night. Still, he helped the offense to 11 runs as the Ducks held off a furious New Hampshire rally to win 11-8 Wednesday night. Akron jumped out to a 9-2 lead after two innings, but the Fisher Cats scored a pair of runs in four different innings to keep the Ducks from enjoying a relaxing evening. 

Easy Pries-y for Akron Offense

One day after beating New Hampshire with a nine-run performance, Akron decided that wasn’t good enough and threw another couple runs on the board. They jumped on New Hampshire starter Luis Quinones in his Double-A debut, scoring three times before a single out was recorded thanks to RBI singles from Brayan Rocchio and George Valera.

One batter later, Pries got himself on the board for the first time with a 429-foot blast to dead center. A Julian Escobedo single ended Quinones’ night with just one out recorded. Victor Nova brought him home, and left Quinones with an era of 162.0. 

Valera added another RBI on a bloop single an inning later, and Pries banged a triple off the wall in right center-field for another two RBI. 

With the two hardest knocks out of the way by the second inning, all eyes were on Pries every time he stepped to the plate. He later found the right field gap with a double. His third extra base it in the middle of the field.

“I’ve definitely been trying to work on the middle of the field,” Pries said, “I think that gives me the best approach to be able to use the whole field.” 

However, Pries was left to watch as Akron bats faded in the middle innings. 

He was left with just one chance in the seventh to accomplish the cycle for just the sixth time in team history.

“I can’t say it wasn’t [on my mind]” Pries said, “Because I had all the fans yelling at me to hit a single.”

However, he banged a ground ball to the shortstop, and despite a heroic sprint down the first base line, was thrown out. 

Pries’ day didn’t just consist of terrific hitting, as he also made an outstanding catch while diving to his right on a line drive to first.

Rocchio doubled and Daniel Schneemann brought home Nova with a sac fly to add some insurance in the ninth, in Akron’s third consecutive game with at least nine runs.

Pitching Lets Fisher Cats Back In The Game

After throwing six no-hit innings and being names Eastern League Pitcher of the Week last week, Hunter Gaddis got knocked around early. New Hampshire singled and then homered on their first two at-bats of the game to take an early 2-0 lead. 

Maybe stuck in the dugout for too long as his offense posted nine runs early, he got knocked around again in the third. Two innings later he gave up a two-run homer to the Eastern League leader in that category, Orelvis Martinez. 

Nine strikeouts and just one walk seem to show the big righthander had no problems with his control, but in giving up eight hits in less than five innings of work he perhaps left it over the heart of the plate too often.

His night ended in the fifth, and Jerson Ramirez and Kevin Kelly each shut out the Cats until the eighth. Nic Enright was brought on for the six-out save but let them back within one after Zac Cook clobbered a 2-run shot over the batters’ eye in center.

Enright settled and struck out a pair in the ninth to clinch the victory and his eighth save of the season.

Streaks Continue

Jose Tena and George Valera each extended their hitting streaks to eight games on Wednesday night. They now sit even in that setup with Will Brennan, who had the night off. The win puts Akron at a three-game winning streak, including eight in their last nine. They lead the division by two games with a record of 25-16.

“We’ve had a lot of good energy in the dugout,” Pries said postgame, “Lots of communication about what the pitcher is trying to do to us… Hitting is contagious.”

The two teams will run it back on Thursday night in Akron at 6:35. Joey Cantillo is expected to start for the RubberDucks.

Notable Performances:

1B Micah Pries: 3-4, 4 RBI, HR, 3B, 2B

RF George Valera: 2-5, 2 RBI

2B Brayan Rocchio: 2-4, 2 RBI, BB, 2B

SP Hunter Gaddis: 4.2 IP, 8 H, 6 ER, 9 K, 1 BB, 92 Pitches (65 strikes, 27 balls)

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