Aeros fall to SeaWolves 7-4 in series opener
Aeros fall despite homers from Chen, Latimore
Right-hander Wil Roberts (1-0, 0.00) started for Akron and to countered Erie right-hander Victor Larez (4-0, 3.54). Roberts tossed a shutout in his debut with the Aeros in Altoona as he earned a 5-0 win, but couldn’t keep the SeaWolves at bay Monday.
Designated hitter Chun Chen put the Aeros on the board in the first inning. After right fielder Bo Greenwell led off with a single to left, Chen unloaded a one-out pitch over the left field wall to give the Aeros the early 2-0 advantage.
Left fielder Quincy Latimore joined Chen beyond the left field fence in the fourth inning as he hit his fourth home run of the year to boost the Aeros’ lead to 3-0.
Meanwhile, Roberts dominated the SeaWolves through the first four innings until they scored in the fifth. With two out, designated hitter Jamie Johnson singled into center and right fielder Luis Castillo tripled on a ball deep to center that centerfielder Carlos Moncrief couldn’t field cleanly, permitting Johnson to score.
The SeaWolves rallied in the sixth inning as Roberts seemed to hit a wall. Second baseman Hernan Perez led off with a double to center and centerfielder Daniel Fields followed with a single. Left fielder Tyler Collins reached on a single that Latimore couldn’t track in the lights, allowing Perez to score. After a sacrifice fly that plated Fields, third baseman Wade Gaynor sent his third home run of the season into left, giving Erie the 5-3 lead.
Reliever Trey Haley replaced Roberts, ending Roberts’ evening at 5 2/3 innings, surrendering five runs (all earned) on 10 hits, no walks and four strikeouts. Haley, who has yet to allow an earned run this season, retired the third out to prevent any further damage.
Will Startup entered the game to pitch for Erie in their half of the sixth. The Aeros put two runners on in their half of the seventh, but couldn’t capitalize as Chen was unable to leg out a ground ball, which resulted in his ejection after he argued the call.
Cole Cook relieved Haley in the eighth and relinquished two more to the SeaWolves in the ninth. Shortstop Eugenio Suarez hit his first home run of the season before a pair of back-to-back walks came back to haunt Cook on a single by catcher James McCann.
The Aeros’ attempt at a comeback fell short as they scored one more in the ninth as shortstop Ronny Rodriguezsingled and scored on a double by third baseman Giovanny Urshela, but that was all the offense could fabricate, ending the game in the SeaWolves’ favor 7-4.
Aeros’ manager Edwin Rodriguez said all of Roberts’ pitches were working for him, it wasn’t until the Erie line-up grew accustomed to him where he ran into trouble.
“I think he did pitch a good game,” Rodriguez said. “It was his third time around the line-up that he ran into the problems. I think we were facing a good hitting and I think he did good for five innings.”
Rodriguez accredited the Erie pitching staff for his team’s failure to capitalize on scoring opportunities, noting Larez’s talent. “I think you have to tip your hat to the pitching,” he said. “Larez did very good. He’s 4-0 for one reason – he knows how to pitch.”
Stephanie is a crime and general assignment reporter for The Morning Journal in Lorain, Ohio. She’s an alumna of Cleveland State University with a degree in Journalism and Promotional Communication. You can follow her on Twitter @7thInningSteph.