RubberDucks 1 Curve 0 (10)
WP: Louis Head (1-0) LP: Brett McKinney (0-1) SV: none
Designated hitter Eric Haase secured Akron's 10th appearance in the Eastern League Finals with a dramatic, walk-off single in the bottom of the 10th inning that lifted the RubberDucks to a 1-0 win and eliminated the Altoona Curve in the Western Division Series Sunday night at Canal Park.
After being held to just one hit through the first nine innings, the RubberDucks finally broke through in the 10th against Altoona right-hander Brett McKinney (0-1). After a deep fly-out to center by Nellie Rodriguez, Mike Papi fell behind 0-2, but managed to square up a McKinney offering for a double to right field. Hasse, who drove in the go-ahead runs with a timely double in Game 1, worked a 1-2 count and then lashed a single into left field that easily scored Papi from second with the game-winning run. The victory gave Akron a three-games-to-one win in the best-of-five series and advanced the RubberDucks to the EL Finals against the Trenton Thunder.
Nick Pasquale started for the RubberDucks and tossed eight shutout innings and allowed only one hit in his playoff debut. He retired the first 12 batters of the game before finally allowing a single to Altoona catcher Jin-De Jhang in the fifth. Pasquale, who won four games for the Ducks in the regular season, walked three and fanned seven. Louis Head (1-0) took over in the eighth and threw two perfect innings of relief to pick up the win. Altoona lefty Brandon Waddell was equally impressive, weaving seven shutout innings before yielding to McKinney in the eighth.
Papi collected Akron's first hit when he led off the fifth with a screamer past third baseman Eric Wood. Papi, who has hit two homers in the playoffs, finished 2-4, and is hitting .444 this post-season.
The RubberDucks had seven shutout victories in the regular season…Akron now advances to meet the Trenton Thunder (Yankees) in the EL Finals for the fourth time…The Thunder defeated the then-Aeros in '07 and '08, but Akron prevailed in the most-recent match-up in '12…All three previous meetings went four games…This year, the RubberDucks were 8-6 against the Thunder…Time of game: 2:24…Attendance: 2,871.
The RubberDucks will open the Eastern League Finals against the Trenton Thunder on Tuesday night at 6:35. RHP Micahel Peoples is expected to start for the RubberDucks and RHP Ronald Herrera is the announced starter for the Thunder. The game will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1350 AM, the WARF iHeart channel, and the TuneIn Radio App.