Thanks to some unusual circumstances, the RubberDucks won their third game in less than 24 hours with a 4-2 victory over the Harrisburg Senators on Wednesday morning.
The Ducks played the final two innings of a suspended game against the Senators on Tuesday and won 10-3. Then they won the regularly scheduled game 7-6.
So with a 10:35 a.m. game on Wednesday, Ducks manager David Wallace was impressed with the way his club handled the heavy workload.
“I think it says a lot about the team,” Wallace said. “Not ideal circumstances, but we figured out what we needed to do to get ready to play and we played hard.”
The Ducks, who entered the game tied for second-to-last in the Eastern League with just 22 home runs, found their power stroke against Senators pitching.
Center fielder Tyler Naquin led off the game with his first home run of the season. He skied the ball high into the right field corner and at first it was unclear whether it would be a homer, long fly out or a foul ball. But it carried just enough to give the Ducks a 1-0 lead.
“He was out in front just a tick but he stayed through it and backspun it,” Wallace said. “I knew that thing was going to carry out of here because I knew he had that in his bat. It was a good job staying through it even though he was a little out in front.”
Then Senators starting pitcher Brad Meyers gave up his second home run of the game to Alex Lavisky with none on and two outs. The homer was Lavisky’s third of the season.
Ronny Rodriguez continued the power surge with his second home run in as many days off reliever Warner Madrigal in the eighth inning.
“We’ve got guys that can drive the ball out of the ballpark,” Wallace said. “Get good pitches, put a good swing on it and any one of our guys can put it out of the ballpark at any time.”
Gabriel Arias, a 24-year-old right-hander, got the start for the RubberDucks and turned in perhaps his finest outing in the Indians organization after being signed in the offseason.
Arias threw seven innings, allowing two earned runs on seven hits and a walk. He struck out three and allowed one home run, improving to 5-2.
Arias doesn’t throw hard or miss many bats, but he was efficient, keeping his pitch count to just 67 through six innings and 80 through seven.
“He was just pitching to contact,” Wallace said. “We’re ecstatic with how he threw. He did a good job using his defense behind him. He pitched with confidence and energy and we’re very happy for him. He threw a great game.”
Tyler Sturdevant came on in the eighth and worked two scoreless innings for his fourth save. He struck out two and walked two. After missing most of last season recovering from shoulder surgery, Sturdevant has been impressive, posting a sub-2.00 earned run average in 16 outings this season.
“We’ve seen everything we wanted to see,” Wallace said. “There’s good life to his fastball, his cutter looks really good and there’s some depth to his slider. He looks confident. He doesn’t look like he’s out there pitching concerned about his injuries or surgeries. He looks free and natural.”
The Ducks have won 17 of their last 20 games. Wednesday’s win was played in front of a sold-out crowd of 8,138, the biggest of the season, on Education Day.