BINGHAMTON RUMBLE PONIES - 4, AKRON RUBBERDUCKS - 3
No Room For Error
The Akron RubberDucks saw their five-game winning streak come to an end on Tuesday night. After letting the Binghamton Rumbling Ponies take an early 3-1 lead in the game, the RubberDucks were able to fight back and tie the game in the 7th inning thanks to some clutch 2-out hitting. The inning was made possible by the Ponies’ failure to turn a routine double play and the extra out paid dividends for the ‘Ducks.
Akron saw its efforts fall in vain when third baseman Joe Sever bobble a routine chopper and then throw wide of first base. He ended up picking up 2 errors on the same play and put the go-ahead run on second base with two outs. The errors came back to bite Akron in the butt when Binghamton shortstop Jio Mier smacked a hot grounder just past Sever’s reach at third for a 2-out RBI-double to give the Ponies back the lead for good.
“That changed the game in such a way. I was just trying to do too much out there and it came back to bite us in the butt,” said Sever.
Despite Sever’s costly error, he had another strong night at the plate. The third baseman went 3-for-4 as he remained one of the hottest hitters in the RubberDucks lineup. His first at-bat saw him lace a double into the gap in right-center setting up Akron’s first run of the game. His second at-bat resulted in him roping one into left field for another base hit. He had his best moment of the evening in his third appearance at the plate when he smacked an RBI-double down the left field line to tie the game 3-3 in the seventh inning.
Sever had a chance at redemption in the ninth when he stepped up to the plate with runners at second and third and no outs. He ended up falling short as he hit a one-bouncer to short and was retired for the first out. The next two Akron batters struck out leaving both the tying run and winning run stranded.
“Just gotta do a better job of at least getting one of those runs in,” lamented manager Mark Budzinski.
Sever: 3-4, 2 R, 1 RBI, 2 E
Allen Receives Gold Glove
It put a bitter end to what was a good night for center fielder Greg Allen. The Akron center fielder received the 2016 Rawlings Gold Glove Award prior to the game after recording a .994 fielding percentage and 15 assists in center field between High-A Lyncburg and Double-A Akron. He’s continued to shine defensively in center field in 2017 so far thanks to his incredible speed, athleticism and range.
“It means a lot. I definitely think it’s a humbling experience. One I’m honored and blessed for. I think it’s a testament to our coaching staff and organization and the emphasis they on our players being well-rounded and doing good things on both sides of the ball,” said the Gold Glover.
The RubberDucks center fielder had a strong night at the plate. He ended up going 2-for-4 at the plate while picking up 2 RBIs in the process. He singled to right field to lead off the game and dropped a drag bunt down the first base line to score his first RBI in the third inning. He then picked up another RBI in the fifth when he singled again to right field to cut into the Binghamton lead 3-2. His last plate appearance of the evening saw him get hit in the leg in the seventh inning.
Allen: 2-3, 2 RBI, 1 K
Battle of the Peoples
3rd inning pitch speeds: 87, 88, 85, 88, 80, 90, 88, 87, 81, 81, 89, 87
Right-hander Michael Peoples started the night strong as he put down the first 4 batters he faced. He then had a tough time in the second inning as opposing batters found holes and were able to sneak a few hits through the infield. He didn’t give in though and toughed it through 5.2 innings before giving the ball to the bullpen.
“My whole goal tonight was to compete as hard as I could and give us a chance to win. The offense did a good job picking me up in the seventh,” reflects the big right-hander.
All in all his pitching line was decent. He just had trouble getting his sinker down in the zone and the Binghamton batters took advantage.
Peoples: 5.2 IP, 6 H, 3 R/ER, 3 BB, 3 SO, 88 pitches (52 strikes)
Sulser Sharp in Relief
Right-hander Cole Sulser had one of his sharpest outings of the early season. He was handed the ball in the sixth inning to take over for Peoples and ended up tossing 1.1 innings of scoreless relief while picking up one strikeout in the process. He ended up retiring all four batters he faced and kept Akron in position to tie the game up or take the lead.
Sulser: 1.1 IP, 0 H, 0 R/ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 24 pitches (16 strikes)