Roberts kept bats slumbering in Double-A debut
|Pitcher Will Roberts of the Akron Aeros joined the team April 30.|
|Photo: Craig Marks|
“I was woken up at 1 in the morning and told I was pitching for Akron the next day,” said right-hander Will Roberts, who, at the time, was a member of the Class-A Carolina Mudcats.
The call was from Jeff Harris, the Mudcats’ pitching coach. Roberts had been chosen to make a spot start for the Akron Aeros, who were in Altoona, Pa., in the middle of a road trip.
“They told me the cab was coming in a couple of hours, and I had to go to the ballpark to get my stuff,” he said. “So I didn’t get a lot of sleep.”
Perhaps sleep is overrated. In Roberts’ Aeros debut April 30, he threw six shutout innings against the Altoona Curve, getting the win in the Aeros’ 5-0 victory.
“I was able to work through it,” said Roberts, 22, of the lack of sleep time. “In this game, there are a lot of obstacles, and that was one of them.”
In Roberts’ introduction to Double-A ball, he allowed only four hits while striking out four.
“Obviously, the hitters are a little more experienced here,” he said. “I’m not going to get away with as much. It’s definitely a challenge, but I’m excited about it.”
Roberts was chosen by the Cleveland Indians in the fifth round of the 2011 draft. He had been pitching for the University of Virginia where, on March 29, 2011, he threw the first perfect game in the school’s history.
The Cavaliers beat George Washington 2-0. Before Roberts’ masterpiece, there had been only seven 9-inning perfect games in Division I.
“I was pretty locked in that day,” said Roberts. “I had command of all my pitches. It was just one of those days where everything clicked.”
The achievement did not go unnoticed.
“It made ‘SportsCenter’; it made a lot of newspapers,” he said. “I wasn’t expecting anything like that. It was really cool to be recognized like that, and it was exciting for my family and my team.”
Roberts extended his Double-A scoreless streak in his second game with the Aeros, keeping Erie off the board for the first four innings May 6. But the SeaWolves broke through with five runs in the next two innings on the way to a 7-4 victory.
This weekend, the Aeros are on the road, visiting Reading (May 9-12) and Binghamton (May 13-15). The Indians will travel to Detroit May 10-12, return home May 13 to play a makeup doubleheader against the Yankees and then play two games in Philadelphia May 14-15.
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