Akron RubberDucks All-Star right-hander Eli Morgan (5-1) pitched a season-high seven innings, but Binghamton Rumble Ponies pitchers scattered 10 Akron hits, while their offense rallied for a 4-1 win in the Independence Day opener of a four-game series at NYSEG Stadium on Thursday night.
After Binghamton catcher Patrick Mazeika hit a game-tying solo home run in the fourth inning, the Rumble Ponies took the lead in the bottom of the fifth inning. Center fielder Braxton Lee hit a one-out double to right-center field, and first baseman Jason Krizan hit a go-ahead RBI double, advanced to third base on designated hitter Barrett Barnes' single to center field, and scored on Mazeika's sacrifice fly for a 3-1 lead.
Morgan worked around two hits and a walk in the first three scoreless innings before the three runs in the fourth and fifth innings. He retired the final eight batters he faced, completing seven innings to match a career high. All-Star left-hander Kyle Nelson began the eighth inning, and he allowed Mazeika's one-out double and third baseman David Thompson's RBI single. For Binghamton, right-hander Mickey Jannis (5-1) allowed a hit in each of his six innings, but yielded just one run - the only Akron run against him in 13 innings this season. Right-hander Joe Zanghi pitched two scoreless innings, and right-hander Stephen Villines pitched a perfect ninth inning for his sixth save.
The RubberDucks took their only lead in the third inning. Shortstop Ernie Clement had the second of his three singles with one out and went to second base when All-Star center fielder Ka'ai Tom grounded out. Right fielder Trenton Brooks then hit an RBI single to right field. Akron did not score again, despite having a hit in each of the first seven innings.
Clement has five multi-hit games in his current seven-game hitting streak (13-for-32, one triple, four runs, four RBI) to raise his batting average to a team-leading .298, and his nine-game stretch without a strikeout matches Connor Marabell for the longest this season…The RubberDucks have had a lead in 10 straight games but have lost six of them…The Rumble Ponies lead the season series, 5-2, including 3-1 at NYSEG Stadium….Time of game: 2:24…Attendance: 6,129.
On the Pond
The RubberDucks continue their weekend series in Binghamton at 7:05 p.m. Friday. Akron LHP Adam Scott (2-0, 2.95) is scheduled to face Rumble Ponies RHP Austin McGeorge (0-1, 8.31). The game broadcast, powered by FirstEnergy, is on Fox Sports 1350 AM, the WARF iHeartRadio channel, and the TuneIn Radio App, and available on MiLB.TV. Tickets are at www.akronrubberducks.com/tickets.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.