Reading, PA - The Fightin Phils and RubberDucks took advantage of the wind at FirstEnergy Stadium and combined for six home runs in the second game of their three-game series on Tuesday night. It was back and forth for most of the night until Reading took the lead for good in the sixth, earning an 8-6 win to improve to 3-2 on their first homestand.
Tom Eshelman picked up his first victory of the year, tossing six strong innings while striking out five amidst seven Akron hits. Eshelman tossed a pair of scoreless innings to begin the ballgame and set up Reading to take their first lead of the game when Harold Martinez took Akron starter D.J. Brown deep to left field for a leadoff home run in the second. The lead was short lived because in the top of the third Yhoxian Medina answered with a home run of his own to left center.
Akron took the lead in the top half of the forth on a solo home run by Yu Chang, but it would not hold. With one out in the bottom of the fourth, Chace Numata answered with his second home run of the season to tie the game at two.
Both teams would be held scoreless in the fifth, but in the sixth Bobby Bradley gave Akron their final lead with a solo home run off Eshelman. Trailing by one heading into the bottom half of the inning, Reading would respond with four runs to take the lead. With Brown's day done, David Speer would come on in relief.
Martinez led off the inning with a walk, which was followed by a single by Mitch Walding. Numata then walked to load the bases for Aaron Brown, who would single into right center to re-tie the game at three. Reading would strike three more times in the inning to take the lead. Scott Kingery beat out a double play ball to score Walding, and Carlos Tocci singled through the right side to score Brown. Kingery would move up to third on the play and score soon after on a Yhoxian Medina fielding error at third base.
The long ball resurfaced in the top of the eighth when Mike Papi cut into the lead with a two-run opposite field homer off Tom Windle, who came on in relief of Eshelman for an inning-and-a-third. That would end the day for Windle, who gave way to Jesen Therrien for the last two outs tosend the game into the ninth.
Leading by a run, Reading got some insurance in the eighth off of 'Ducks reliever Cameron Hill. Aaron Brown and Angelo Mora opened the inning with singles as they'd both finish the game 3-for-4. On Mora's base hit, the ball went under the glove of 'Ducks center fielder Greg Allen, bringing home Brown for a 7-5 lead. With Mora on third and one out, Tocci would pick up his second RBI of the game with a sacrifice fly to center.
Mario Hollands came on to pitch the ninth looking to pick up the first save of his career. After inducing a groundout to start the inning, Greg Allen doubled to right, proving the Ducks would not go down easy. Hollands bounced back to strike out Tyler Krieger, but Francisco Mejia kept the game going with a run scoring single to center. Bobby Bradley would work a two-out walk and a wild pitch set up second and third with Yu Chang up to bat. Trying to tie the game up in the ninth for the second straight night, Chang grounded the ball into the hole at shortstop where Mora made a beautiful backhanded stab and throw to give the Fightins a tense 8-6 win.
America's Classic Ballpark is proud to be a part of Pennsylvania's Americana Region. Season tickets for the 2017 season are available online at Fightins.com, by phone at 610-370-BALL, and in-person at FirstEnergy Stadium. Follow the Fightin Phils on Twitter at @ReadingFightins and like them on Facebook via www.facebook.com/fightins.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.