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Thomas Ponticelli and Mason Hickman toss career-best games in Akron and Lake County victories

Cleveland minor league recap for June 21, 2021

Columbus Clippers 0, Toledo Mud Hens 8

Box Score · Clippers fall to 19-22

That’s one way to end a home run streak.

Heading into Sunday’s game, Andres Gimenez had homered in a whopping six consecutive games, but it’s hard to homer when your team gets shut out, impossible even.

Starting pitcher Kirk McCarty didn’t pitch poorly, allowing three runs on five hits in 5.0 innings while striking out three and walking two, but he was handed the loss thanks to the silent Clippers bats.

Dalbert Siri was hammered for four runs out of the bullpen, and the one Clipper pitcher to hold Toledo scoreless was Anthony Gose, who struck out the side in the eighth inning.

Offensively, Trenton Brooks was the lone Columbus batter to have a multi-hit game, going 2-3 with a walk. Gabriel Arias had a double. Also of note, Oscar Mercado left the game after being struck in the head by a pitch. Hopefully it isn’t serious.

Akron RubberDucks 3, Bowie Baysox 2 (F/10)

Box Score · RubberDucks improve to 24-16

Thomas Ponticelli pitched the game of his life, but a late bullpen blowup cost him a surefire win, although Akron was able to rally late.

Ponticelli was matched up against No. 19 overall MLBPipeline prospect Grayson Rodriguez, and for the second time in a week, Akron defeated Rodriguez by a score of 3-2.

Ponticelli matched Rodriguez pitch for pitch, tossing 7.0 shutout innings with eight strikeouts while allowing just two hits and one walk.

Rodriguez, on the other hand, allowed solo home runs to less heralded Akron infielders Jonathan Engelmann and Andruw Monasterio. Funnily enough, it was the first home runs of the season for both players.

Akron held on to a 2-0 lead until the bottom of the nine inning, where Kyle Marman served up a 2-run home run to tie the game.

In extra innings, Akron played small-ball, moving to third on a wild pitch, then Mike Rivera brought the intentional runner in with a sacrifice fly. On the flipside, Nick Mikolajchak continued his dominant season with a scoreless 10th inning to earn his fifth save and drop his season ERA to 1.00.

Lake County Captains 3, West Michigan Whitecaps 0

Box Score · Captains improve to 23-19

Another game, another career-best night for a Cleveland minor league pitcher.

This time, it was 2020 fifth round pick Mason Hickman, who kept West Michigan on its heels all night. Hickman tossed 6.0 shutout innings of four-hit ball, striking out a whopping nine batters and walking none. Not bad for the team’s No. 5 starter.

Offensively, the star-studded top of Lake County’s lineup did exactly what the Cleveland brass hoped they would do, as Brayan Rocchio, Bryan Lavastida, George Valera and Aaron Bracho all went 2-4 with multi-hit efforts.

Rocchio had the best game of the bunch, going yard for the sixth time this season while also hitting a double and walking once. Bracho also added a double and Lavastida also walked. At the bottom of the order, former second round pick Quentin Holmes remained hot, going 2-4 as well.

The bullpen also locked things down, as Kevin Kelly added a scoreless inning and Nate Ocker completed the shutout with 2.0 scoreless innings to earn his first save.

Lynchburg Hillcats 9, Fredericksburg Nationals 10

Box Score · Hillcats fall to 22-18

Nine runs is normally enough, but that wasn’t the case for Lynchburg on Sunday.

Gabriel Rodriguez and Yainer Diaz both went 2-5, with Diaz hitting a double. Alexfri Planez also had a multi-hit game, going 2-5 with a double. Angel Martinez reached base safely three times, going 1-3 with a pair of walks. Hosea Nelson, Planez and Cody Farhat also stole a base.

Returning to the starting rotation, Josh Wolf had a horrific outing, allowing seven runs in 4.0 innings on seven hits while striking out one and walking two.

Daritzon Feliz and Liam Jenkins held down the fort, both pitching 2.0 scoreless innings of relief, which shockingly allowed Lynchburg to overcome a 7-0 deficit and take a 9-7 lead, but the normally reliable Jerson Ramirez couldn’t hold the lead, allowing two runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to tie the game, and when Lynchburg was unable to score in the top of the 10th inning, Ramirez gave up the walk-off with two outs in the bottom of the 10th.