Patience is a virtue
The RubberDucks were able to stay patient at the plate and draw key walks and end up securing the 3-2 victory over the Altoona Curve. Akron trailed 2-1 entering the 6th inning as the bats had been largely quiet up to that point. Instead of forcing things and hacking away the RubberDucks’ batters took what was given to them and ended up drawing three walks in the inning and scored two runs. Only one ball left the infield during that span.
“It’s awesome. This team is starting to come together,” said slugger Bobby Bradley.
Bradley was one of Akron’s most patient batters on Thursday night. Notoriously known for his lethal power, the first baseman showed tremendous patience in the batter’s box on Friday night. He was able to lay off some difficult pitches and ended up going 2-2 with 2 walks.
“Plate discipline has really good this year overall. He’s laid off breaking balls out of the zone and put some good swings on balls in the zone especially here of late,” noted Akron manager Mark Budzinski.
He now owns a 16:13 strikeout-to-walk ratio on the season. The slugger ended up scoring the winning run when Yhoxian Medina was drilled in the back during an at-bat in the sixth inning. Despite an early struggle to the season, Bradley now is hitting .225 on the season.
Another key performer on the evening was second baseman Tyler Kreiger. The middle infielder has done nothing but hit since the season started. Although he started out late due to a minor injury to begin the year, the second baseman hasn’t missed a beat as he’s done nothing but spray the ball all over the field and get on-base, thus setting the table for the middle of the lineup to be able to do its damage and give batters RBI opportunities. The prized middle infield prospect is now hitting .429 on the early start of the year.
“He’s probably been our most consistent guy at the plate so far this year, hitting the ball hard to all parts of the field and having good at-bats I hope that continues for him,” the Akron skipper reflected.
Pasquale earns first win
1st Inning: 17 pitches
2nd Inning: 16 pitches
Akron also got some help on the pitching side of things thanks to the efforts of right-hander Nick Pasquale. The righty ended up pitching six innings with two runs allowed on five hits, two walks and five strikeouts on the evening to notch his first win of the season. His lone mistake came on a solo home run off the bat of Chase Simpson whom blasted one all the way to the slide on the right field balcony.
“He deserved to win tonight. He pitched really well, mixed in his breaking ball when he had to, fastball had some life to it so a very good outing for him,” Akron manager Mark Budzinski praised him on the outing.
The first inning saw him looking in control early. He seemed to have most of his pitches working. His most stressful time of the game came during the 2nd inning when he had runners on second and third base with just one out. He allowed a sacrifice fly to right field to even up the score at 1-1 apiece, but was able to lock up Altoona left fielder Edwin Escobar with a strikeout to prevent any more damager.
“It was nice to get out of there with only one run,” smiled Pasquale.
Mejia continuing to rake
Another batter whom continues to excel in the early season is top catching prospect Francisco Mejia. He continues to demonstrate a keen eye at the plate and also the ability to square up on the ball and hit all over the field. His plus-hit tools continue to shine as he is slowly figuring out the first batch of pitching at the Double-A level.
The catcher wend 1-2 on the night with two walks. His patience at the plate helped jumpstart the sixth inning where Akron batters remained patient and forced Altoona righty Tanner Anderson to make perfect pitches, something he was simply unable to do and ended up having to hand the ball over to the bullpen after 5.2 innings.