RubberDucks pitcher Eli Lingos recovering after being hit in the head with line drive, will miss next start

Fred Cay
For the Beacon Journal
RubberDucks starting pitcher Eli Lingos was hit in the head with a line drive during Sunday's game against the Erie SeaWolves. Lingos was able to walk off under his own power but is still be evaluated and will miss at least his next start. [Mike Cardew/Beacon Journal]

Eli Lingos experienced every pitcher's nightmare Sunday afternoon at Canal Park.

The RubberDucks left-hander was struck on the left side of his hed by a line drive off the bat of Erie SeaWolves' Drew Ward in the second inning of the Ducks 6-0 loss. Lingos remained down on the mound for several long minutes. 

Players and spectators waited in stunned silence as Lingos was tended to by trainers from both teams. To everyone's relief, he sat up, recovering enough to eventually walk off the field under his own power to cheers from the crowd.

Ducks manager Rouglas Odor expressed hopeful optimism following the game, but said further diagnosis would determine the next step.

"We are waiting for the results of the CT scan," Odor said. "And hopefully nothing major is happening. It was a scary moment. He got hit in the area, most towards his eyes than the temple. He was bleeding through his eye.

"I came in and I was able to talk to him, so I asked for his mom and his dad and he said he's been texting to them. I asked him a few questions, so he was conscious."

Odor told Lingos both teams and the umpires were asking about him "and he thanked me because of that."

The RubberDucks said Lingos will not make his next start but had no further update on his condition on Monday.

It was a tough outing already for Lingos (3-1, 4.95 ERA), who has usually been one of the Ducks' most effective starters. He allowed five runs on five hits in just 1⅔ innings. Four relievers held the SeaWolves to just one run the rest of the way.

However, the Ducks' hitters were unable to mount any kind of attack with just four hits — all singles — against SeaWolves right-hander Pedro Payano and two relievers.

Payano (2-1) gave up two hits and three walks in six innings, with five strikeouts. The Ducks (18-10) lost three out of five to the SeaWolves (19-10) in the rain-shortened series.

Right-hander Eric Mock relieved Lingos, allowing a run on two hits in 3⅓ innings including a solo home run by Andre Lipcius leading off the fifth. He walked two and struck out three.

Mock, in his third appearance since a promotion from Low-A Lynchburg, said he was scheduled to be the second pitcher for the Ducks but was shocked by the sudden turn of events.

"Obviously my first thought was concern about Eli," Mock said. "I'm just hoping that he's doing all right."

He then had to quickly adjust to game mode and begin warming up.

"You get as many pitches as you want," Mock said, "but you don't want to be making everyone wait the entire day. You just gotta lock it in quick."

Mock's most recent action was his first career start, going 3⅔ innings May 27 at the Binghamton Rumble Ponies. He allowed one run and struck out seven.

A 2019 draft pick by the Indians in the 25th round out of Penn State, Mock kept hitters off balance with an effective change-up and slider Sunday. He allowed the first two batters to reach in the fourth, then struck out the next three.

During the pandemic shutdown last year, he constructed a makeshift pitching mound in the backyard to stay in shape with the help of his father and uncle, using wood and rubber horse stall mats.

"I looked up on You Tube how to build a pitching mound," Mock said. "Bought some supplies and they helped me build it. I still have it. I don't plan on giving it away any time soon."

Three more relievers combined for four scoreless innings, allowing two hits. Left-hander Francisco Perez struck out four in two innings. Dakody Clemmer and Skylar Arias pitched one inning each.

The Ducks start a scheduled six-game series at the Altoona Curve at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday.