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Indians minor league recap: RubberDucks clinch postseason berth

Their 16th in franchise history.

Akron RubberDucks, Instagram

With their win last night, the Akron RubberDucks have clinched a berth in the Eastern League playoffs. They are the third Indians farm team to do so, behind the International League West Division-winning Columbus Clippers, and the Lynchburg Hillcats, who are currently in a tie for the Carolina League Northern Division second-half title.

As for individual performances, first baseman Jesus Aguilar entered the 30 dinger club for the first time in his career. The 26-year-old never even eclipsed the 20 home run mark prior to this season, but his power has been prevalent all season long in 2016.

Columbus Clippers 6, Toledo Mud hens 2

Box Score · Clippers improve to 81-62

The Columbus Clippers have struggled since clinching their third-straight International West Division title last week, but they snapped a four-game losing streak last night with a 6-2 win over the Toledo Mud Hens in their penultimate game of the season.

Jesus Aguilar led the way with three hits and his 30th home run of the season. Aguilar has flashed power in the past, but his 30 home run mark is well beyond his previous career-high of 19 home runs that he had in his last two seasons.

Unfortunately, his bat has never translated well to the majors, despite a couple chances in the past.

Giovanny Urshela was 2-for-4 with a double and a triple playing at shortstop for the Clippers. The Columbus infield is becoming even more crowded with the recent promotion of Todd Hankins, and Urshela is great at third base, so why not.

Bradley Zimmer’s slide continued with another hitless night in three at-bats, although he did draw a walk. In his last 10 games, Zimmer is 4-for-32 with 18 strikeouts.

Toru Murata was given the win after pitching six strong innings, but it was reliever Craig Stammen who had the best game. Over two innings, Stammen faced eight batters and struck out five of them.

Akron RubberDucks 5, Bowie Baysox 3

Box Score · RubberDucks improve to 76-64

This game between the Akron RubberDucks and Bowie Baysox remained scoreless for a while — through the fourth inning — but once the lineups started turning around, both pitchers faltered.

Nick Pasquale blinked first, allowing a run in the top of the fifth, but that was it for the RubberDucks starter. He finished the game with seven innings under his belt, as well as two strikeouts and no walks.

The offense was out-hit, 12-8, but they were 1-for-5 as a team with runners in scoring position and got some power from Mike Papi’s seventh home run of the season.

Greg Allen had two of the hits from the leadoff spot, including a triple.

The win clinched a playoff berth for the RubberDucks, their 16th in franchise history. Sitting a half-game ahead of the second-place Altoona Curve, they play for the Eastern League West Division title tomorrow.

An excited team of RubberDucks celebrate a memorable season they hope becomes a championship one too!

A photo posted by Akron RubberDucks (@akronrubberducks) on

Lynchburg Hillcats 4, Salem Red Sox 5 (F/12)

Box Score · Hillcats fall to 83-65

In a game that lasted until the 12th inning and well into the afternoon, the Lynchburg Hillcats ultimately fell, but are still guaranteed to finish with the farm system’s best win-loss record in the regular season.

Tyler Krieger, who started his High-A career lighting up the scoreboard, has been ice cold lately. The 22-year-old is hitless in his last 20 at-bats, although he has only struck out four times in that span.

Another player struggling lately, Yu-Cheng Chang, was 2-for-6 last night, his first multi-hit game since August 23.

The Hillcats used five pitchers in the game, but it was starting pitcher Brock Hartson who shined over his six innings of work. He finished with seven strikeouts and did not walk anyone.

Lake County Captains 3, Lansing Lugnuts 0

Box Score · Captains improve to 71-68

The Lake County Captains season wraps up Monday, and they will probably hope for a repeat of Sunday’s game, with maybe a hint more offense thrown in.

Collectively, Captains batters recorded just four hits on the day and they were hitless with runners in scoring position. Two of the team’s three runs came off of a home run from Andrew Calica, who has been phenomenal since his promotion from the Low-A Mahoning Valley Scrappers. In 35 at-bats, Calica has shredded Midwest League pitching with a .371/.421/.543 slash and and now his first home run.

Of course, you cannot win a game with only five hits and no great pitching performances. The Captains got three of them from starting pitcher Casey Shane and relievers Shawn Armstrong and Cortland Cox. Armstrong, despite being an MLB-caliber arm out of the ‘pen, was sent down to Single-A so he could be recalled when the Captains’ season ends after Monday. He struck out every batter he faced Sunday night.

Mahoning Valley Scrappers 4, West Virginia Black Bears 4

Box Score · Scrappers fall to 36-38

I feel like I have said this before, but with just how bad the Mahoning Valley Scrappers started the season, the fact that they are anywhere near .500 at this point is incredible. Unfortunately, last night’s loss to the West Virginia Black Bears means they will not finish with a winning record this season, as they wrap up their season on Monday.

The loss was especially disheartening as it was a walk-off for the Black Bears, who singled home a run to break a 3-3 tie in the bottom of the ninth.

Catcher Jack Goihl and right fielder Mitch Longo had the only multi-hit games of the afternoon, with the former also adding a home run, his first of the season.