BOWIE – A seven-strikeout performance by starter Adam Scott and three hits by Alex Call proved to the catalysis in the Akron RubberDucks’ 5-0 win against the Bowie Baysox on June 30, preventing a series sweep.
The result ends a five-game winning streak by the Baysox (39-41, 9-3), who have been pulling off impressive results in their previous outings. In the first three games of their series, Bowie had outscored Akron 16-11. Before their series closer, Bowie came back from a 7-0 deficit to defeat the Ohio-based squad 8-7 for their 17th win in 20 games.
“As a team, we have done a good job the past couple of weeks to play with that never say die mentality. That’s contagious throughout the lineup so I carried it during my at-bat,” said center fielder Ryan McKenna, who hit a grand slam in Bowie’s comeback win on June
“I was just trying a good pitch to hit… It’s been a good team effort.”
Left-handed starter Zac Lowther struggled early in the series finale for Bowie as he surrendered a walk and a single against two of his first three batters. First baseman Nellie Rodriguez capitalized with a crushing RBI double to right center field towards the warning track. The hit allowed outfielder Ka’ai Tom to run home to score the RubberDucks’ first run of the game.
Lowther bounced back in the second inning, striking out two consecutive batters. However, the All-Star pitcher surrendered a single to Ernie Clement to start the third inning. Clement proceeded to steal second base as Call prepared for his first at-bat.
The outfielder connected with a booming double to center field, driving in Clement home for Akron’s second run.
Designated hitter Li-Jen Chu kept the inning going for the RubberDucks (39-43, 5-8) as he connected with a low driven shot down the left field foul line for a double. Call rushed down from second base to come home to add a third run to Akron’s lead.
Meanwhile, the Baysox batters were unable to find their rhythm in the opening four innings as they only connected two hits and struck out four times.
Outfielder Jesmuel Valentin swung on two consecutive pitches during his at-bat in the bottom of the fourth, only to have both pitches by Scott pass him by for the strikeout.
“This was a guy we had never seen before,” shortstop Mason McCoy said. “I think he had every pitch working, he located very, very well and when he missed, it was down the zone, which still made it hard to hit. It was just one of those days and you are going to have them the way we have been swinging for the past whole month.”
In the top of the fifth, Call continued his tremendous day with a thunderous shot to left field. The ball sailed over the wall for a solo home run, increasing the RubberDucks advantage to four. It was Call’s fourth home run of the season.
After Lowther surrendered another single to Rodriguez, Chu hit a second hit down the left field foul line for an RBI double to drive in the visitors fifth run of the game. The left-hander was pulled before the start of the sixth inning, with five strikeouts but allowing eight hits in 94 pitches.
“He just did not have his command; he did not have his best stuff,” Baysox Manager Buck Britton said. “But, with all that said, he still kept us in the ballgame and we still had a chance to win there. We just did not have anything going offensively.”
For Akron, Scott continued his standout performance before being pulled in the sixth inning. The Canandaigua, New York native finished his day striking out seven, walking only three batters and giving up two hits. He earned his second win for Akron since being assigned from Class-A affiliate Lynchburg Hillcats on June 20.
Unlike the night before, the Baysox were unable to find their hitting touch, even when Scott was pulled for right-hander Jared Robinson. The West Covina, California native finished off Bowie with four strikeouts in three and 1/3 innings for his second save of the season.
As of June 30, the Baysox sit in second place in the Eastern League Western standings. While it is too early to talk about a playoff spot, Britton said he is proud of the team’s overall effort and improvement in the second half of the season.
Bowie will look to bounce back at Hartford on a three-game road trip before taking on the Harrisburg Senators on July 4th weekend.
“I’m more happy for the guys that have been showing the improvement and to have the results to show for it, it is nice,” Britton said. “We were heading for a long season the way we were going but for these guys to show up every day, improve every day and be where we are at, it is nice.”