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Despite loss, Hartford remains half-game out of first place in playoff hunt

Yard Goats pitcher Brandon Gold allowed nine hits in Wednesday night’s Eastern League loss in Akron. 

AKRON, OH, June 12 — Led by Connor Marabell’s three hits and two runs batted in, the Akron RubberDucks unleashed a 15-hit attack to earn a 5-1 Eastern League victory over the Hartford Yard Goats Wednesday night in the rain at Canal Park.

The Yard Goats (36-27) lost for the second straight night but still remained a half game behind Trenton in the race for a playoff berth. The team leading the Eastern Division at the end of the first half of the season clinches a playoff berth. The Eastern League is splitting their season to determine who qualifies for the EL playoffs in September.

With five games remaining in the first half of the season, Trenton (35-25) holds a half-game lead over the Yard Goats. Reading (35-27) is one game off the pace with Binghamton (33-26) in fourth place 1½ games behind Trenton.

Akron (33-31), which has won the first two games of the three-game set, scored the only runs it needed in the first inning off of Yard Goats’ starting pitcher Brandon Gold.

With one out, Akron’s Ka’ai Tom singled, moved to second on Gold’s errant pickoff attempt and scored on Marabell’s double to the base of the wall in dead center.  After a fly out and a walk, Mitch Longo singled to center, scoring Marabell for a 2-0 lead.

The RubberDucks tacked on a run in the third inning on consecutive singles by Tyler Friis and Ernie Clement and a two-out single by Marabell.

In suffering the loss, Gold (6-4) pitched five innings, allowed three runs on nine hits, walked one and struck out one.

The Yard Goats scored their only run in the fourth inning.  With two outs, Akron starter Sam Hentges issued back-to-back walks, before Vance Vizcaino delivered a run-scoring single, cutting the lead to 3-1. Following the hit, Hentges was ejected from the game, and Matt Whitehouse entered and pitched three scoreless innings to notch the victory.

Robert Broom and Kyle Nelson closed out the relief effort of the RubberDucks, holding Hartford hitless. The Yard Goats had just six hits in the game. Scott Burcham had a single and double and Vizcaino an RBI-double to pace the Yard Goats’ offense.

The finale of the three-game series is Thursday at 7:05 PM.  LHP Ty Culbreth will pitch for Hartford, while RHP Eli Morgan will be on the mound for Akron.  The game will be broadcast on News Radio 1410 AM, on 100.9 FM and on the Internet on newsradio1410.iheart.com and on MiLB.com.

Hartford returns to Dunkin’ Donuts Park on Tuesday, June 18 at 7:05 PM against Bowie – the final day of the first half of the season.

Eastern Division W L Pct. GB
Trenton 35 25 .583
Hartford 36 27 .571 ½
Reading 35 27 .565 1
Binghamton 33 26 .569
Wednesday’s results
Akron 5, Hartford 1
Erie 2, Reading 1
Trenton 7, Binghamton 2Thursday’s games
Hartford at Akron
Erie at Reading
Trenton at Binghamton

Since 2009, the Collinsville Press has been providing award-winning coverage of sports and news in the Farmington Valley and across Connecticut.

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