Aeros build early lead, down Squirrels 7-4
Akron withstands late Richmond rally to take game two in series
Akron, OH – The Akron Aeros scored seven runs in the first four innings and held on to defeat the Richmond Flying Squirrels 7-4 on Saturday night at Canal Park. A late rally from Richmond would fall short as the Aeros would hold on to a well-earned victory.
It was a good night all around as the Aeros’ hitting, pitching, and defense were all dominant throughout the entire game.
The Aeros scored first and in a big way. After loading the bases with no outs in the bottom of the secondinning, Jake Lowery hit an RBI double to score Jesus Aguilar and Carlos Moncrief easily. Lowery has hit a total of 22 RBI this season.
The Flying Squirrels threatened in the top of the fourth with two quick singles and nobody out, but after a force out at second base and a strikeout, Richmond’s Angel Villalona grounded into another force out and the Aeros ended the inning unscathed.
Richmond’s inability to score in the fourth proved costly as Jake Lowery smacked a triple that was misjudged by right fielder Jarrett Parker and scored when Matt Lawson hit an RBI single. Lawson himself was driven in by an RBI single from Ronny Rodriguez.
The Flying Squirrels were quiet until the eighth inning when they would rally to put 4 runs on the scoreboard. Joe Panik hit a two-out RBI single into center field to score Kelby Tomlinson for his 39th RBI this season and it was followed by a two-run RBI double from Javier Herrera who has hit a team high 53 RBI this year.
Richmond was not finished with their eighth inning rally as Andrew Susac hit an RBI single to drive in Skyler Stromsmoe for his 46th RBI in 2013. When the eighth inning came to an end, the Aeros were in the lead, 7-4.
However, Richmond’s deficit proved to be too big to erase as Jose Flores retired the side in the 9th inning and earned his 11th save and giving the Aeros a solid 7-4 victory.
Fransisco Lindor went 1-for-4 with a single, and he is hitting .381 with seven RBI since joining the Aeros on July 17. He has also reached base in all but one of his games with Akron so far.
It was a great night for the entirety of the Aeros’ lineup, as five hitters had RBI, while Lowery and Lawson each batting in two runs apiece.
Overall, the Aeros had 11 hits, with each batter hitting at least once in the game.
Akron’s starting pitcher Will Roberts was off to a good start, allowing a single hit in the first three innings and five total, allowing two earned runs in 7 1/3 innings pitched. He would earn the win, improving his record to 7-7.
Both Manager Edwin Rodriguez and Roberts himself were pleased with his performance on Saturday.
“He was good. Not only the quality of his pitches, but he was pounding the strike zone. That allowed him to go to the 8th inning. He was very efficient throwing strikes, and he was up to 99 pitches in the eighth inning, which was very good.
Roberts said that there was not much of a difference in his strategy when the Aeros took the seven-run lead.
“In the name of the game, I’m just going to pound the (strike)zone and make them earn everything they get. To come back from a big lead like that, it’s not likely they’re going to get seven hits in a row. With the way we played defense tonight, we played great defense all over the infield.”
When asked about what he is looking forward to in his next outing, Roberts said that he will try to be consistent.
“I’m just going to get out there in five days and compete again. I think we have a good thing going here, so we’re going to keep it going.”
It would be quite a different story for the Flying Squirrels’ starter Craig Westcott, who gave up seven runs and 10 hits in only four innings pitched. His ERA was 4.28 and he was given the loss to drop his record to 4-10.
Although Richmond’s bullpen would slow down Akron’s hitting almost to a stop, their late rally would fall short as they ended up with four runs on eight hits.
In addition to the Aeros’ strong pitching and excellent hitting, a very good defensive performance led by infielders Fransisco Lindor and Ronny Rodriguez robbed the Flying Squirrels of several potential hits.
Edwin Rodriguez explained that he likes how the infielders have been playing since the addition of Lindor at shortstop.
“It’s great to see Lindor play. It’s good to see those young guys, especially in that position. Not too many organizations can say that they have three good prospects (Lindor, Rodriguez, and Jesus Aguilar) in the middle infield right now. It’s good to watch them play, they have fun out there”
The Aeros’ win improves their record to 53-54, 3 games behind the Erie SeaWolves and 5.5 behind the Harrisburg Senators for first place in the Western Division. The Flying Squirrels drop to 49-58, and are in last place in the division.
The Aeros look to conclude this four-game series with another win as they face off with the Flying Squirrels on Sunday afternoon at Canal Park. Paolo Espino is scheduled to take the mound for Akron as he opposes Edwin Escobar of Richmond.
The first pitch is set for 2:05 pm.