Aeros strong hitting downs Seawolves 12-4
Akron, OH – There was speculation before the game to whether Fransisco Lindor would make his much-anticipated first appearance with the Aeros, and even though he did not, the Aeros did not show any signs of distraction and pulled out a solid 12 against the Erie SeaWolves on Monday night at Canal Park.
The SeaWolves struck first and early against Matt Packer. In the top of the second inning, Wade Gaynor smacked a 2-run double to left field for his 38th RBI in the season.
That was not all the trouble the SeaWolves caused in the inning, but they could have caused much more. Jamie Johnson walked to load the bases with one out and Eugenio Suarez hit a single off of Ronny Rodriguez’s glove, but Packer escaped further problems by ending the inning leaving three men stranded.
The Aeros responded in the bottom half with an RBI single from Matt Lawson to score Kyle Bellows. The next batter was Tyler Holt and he kept his hitting streak alive with a single, driving in Lawson. At the end of the second inning the SeaWolves held a 3-2 lead.
The next inning provided a controversial play as Erie’s James Robbins hit an infield grounder and was called safe in a close call at first base. Manager Edwin Rodriguez discussed the play with the Umpire but the call stood. Fortunately the Aeros would execute a terrific double play with the next batter, Wade Gaynor to end the inning.
“I thought he (Packer) was on the bag, but he (the umpire) was closer than me, I was 200 feet away," Rodriguez said.
The score stayed at 3-2 until the fifth inning, when Jesus Aguilar hit a two-out RBI double off of the right field wall to score Ronny Rodriguez. That play sparked momentum for the Aeros as Carlos Moncrief smacked a two-run double to score Aguilar and Cedric Hunter which gave Akron a 5-3 advantage.
Akron extended their lead in the bottom of the eighth with another RBI single from Lawson to score Moncrief. This was directly followed by another RBI single from Holt, scoring Bellows, which in turn was followed by yet another RBI single from Rodriguez to drive in Lawson.
The Aeros lineup continued to hammer the poor Erie reliever Tyler Stohr as the next batter Cedric Hunter hit an RBI double to score both Holt and Rodriguez and was in turn driven in by a single from Aguilar.
What was a bad outing turned into a nightmare as Moncrief hit a single to score Aguilar before Stohr was taken out. He gave up seven consecutive hits and six earned runs without recording a single out.
A total of eleven Aeros stepped up to the plate and scored seven runs and seven hits with two outs in the inning. All Akron hitters reached base except for Giovanny Urshela.
When Carlos Moncrief was asked about the Aeros’ hitting in the 8th inning, he explained that confidence can build when others are doing well.
“Hitting is contagious," Aguilar said. "Once one guy gets a hit everybody else gets confidence and vice versa, when the pitcher comes out and strikes out the side.”
Edwin Rodriguez was also asked about the hitting.
“The hitters have been developing that toughness, that mental toughness," he said. "In the last month, we’ve been scoring runs with two outs in the inning, they don’t waste an at-bat and if we keep building that that’s what’s going to happen.”
At the end of the Aeros’ hitting marathon, they held a 12-3 lead. Trey Haley finished the game, but not after allowing an RBI from Eugenio Suarez to score Jamie Johnson. He would hold on and the Aeros would take the game with a final score of 12-4.
Matt Packer started on the mound for the Aeros and had a decent outing, despite a few setbacks early on. He pitched 5.2 innings but gave up all three of his runs in the second but he settled down and retired the final eight batters he faced. Packer earned the won and moves to 9-5 on the season.
Packer’s opponent, Drew VerHagen did just the opposite, starting off strong but allowing the Aeros to take the lead with back-to-back doubles in the ffith before he was relieved by Kelvin Perez. VerHagen was given the loss and his record stands at 2-3.
After being promoted from the Mudcats on July 12, Jeff Johnson pitched for a single inning, retiring the side with one strikeout.
Tyler Holt went 2-for-5 and with his RBI single in the bottom of the second has hit in 16 consecutive games, which is the longest hitting streak for the Akron ball club this season.
Usually an explosive hitter in the Aeros’ lineup, Carlos Moncrief was once again in full form, going 2-for-4 with three RBI. His batting average is at .309 which leads the Aeros and is 7th overall in the Eastern league.
After the game, Moncrief commented that he has seen an improvement with his game, but that it is always a continuous process.
“I’ve been relaxing in the box for the most part, waiting on a good pitch," Moncrief said. "It never stops though, trying to improve. I’m working on it every day, hitting the cage, doing whatever I have to to get ready for the game.”
Edwin Rodriguez also has seen Moncrief’s hitting and practice pay off.
“I would say the last month and a half (Moncrief) is getting locked in, making adjustments, he’s been driving the ball, he’s been hitting well," Rodriguez said.
Six different Aeros recorded an RBI during the course of the game. Leading that pack this season are Jesus Aguilar and Moncrief, who have 75 and 53 RBI, respectively.
Francisco Lindor, who has been ranked as the number one prospect in the Indians system by the Indians Baseball Insider for the past two seasons, was promoted to Akron from the Class-A Carolina Mudcats on Monday. He is expected to make his first appearance on Tuesday.
The Aeros gained a game on Erie to improve to 46-49 while the SeaWolves drop to 48-45. Erie still have a three game lead over the Aeros for second place in the Western Division.
The Aeros are currently 4-7 against Erie this year and hope to improve that mark in their next two games. The series continues on Tuesday night as Brett Brach faces off on the mound against Warwick Saupold of the SeaWolves.
The first pitch is set for 7:05 pm.