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Aeros take series with 5-4 win over Thunder

Chen, Brach lead Akron to victory on chilly night

Aeros take series with 5-4 win over Thunder
Chun Chen (Photo: Lianna Holub)
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AKRON – The Akron Aeros completed a three-game series against the Trenton Thunder with a 5-4 win and some contributions at the plate from Chun Chen.

Right-hander Toru Murata (1-2, 2.60) took the bump to counter Trenton righty Caleb Cotham (1-1, 4.85).

The Thunder struck first in the form of a solo home run off the bat of catcher Kyle Higashioka in the second inning.

The Aeros loaded the bases in the third as right fielder Delvi Cid led off with a single to right and shortstop Jose Ramirez drew a walk. Center fielder Tyler Holt followed with a sacrifice bunt that resulted in a base hit and designated hitter Chun Chen unloaded a double deep to right-center to score three. Chen advanced to third on the throw home from right field and trotted home on a single by catcher Chris Wallace to give Akron the 4-1 lead.

Trenton offered their rebuttal in the fourth inning. Third baseman Rob Segedin was plunked by a pitch, designated hitter Slade Heathcott laid down a perfectly placed bunt for an infield single, and Higashioka nearly went deep again as he bounced a double off the left-center wall to score Segedin. With one out, shortstop Ali Castillo singled to score Heathcott, but Murata rebounded to induce a double play to impede any further damage.

Cotham was replaced with righty Danny Burawa in the fifth inning, ending his day at four innings, allowing four runs (three earned) on two walks and a trio of strikeouts.

Segedin leveled the score in the fifth after right fielder Tyler Austin and first baseman Kyle Roller laced a pair of back-to-back singles before Segedin doubled to plate Austin.

Reliever Brett Brach entered the game to start the sixth inning, securing Murata’s line at five innings, allowing four runs on 10 hits, no walks and four strikeouts.

Branden Pinder entered to pitch for the Thunder in the seventh and Chen broke the tie as he doubled home Ramirez who walked to give Akron the 5-4 lead. Holt was tossed for arguing after he was called out on strikes that inning, forcing Carlos Moncrief to enter the game to play right field, shifting Cid to center.

Brach threw three scoreless innings for Akron, yielding just one hit as he struck out three. Trey Haley entered the game to pitch the ninth for the Aeros and preserved the save as he retired the side in order with one strikeout.

Aeros’ manager Edwin Rodriguez noted Chen’s reliability as of late, which has been an imperative factor in the team’s winning.

“He has been swinging good and then again, he has been our RBI guy the last week with clutch hits,” Rodriguez noted. “He’s the guy I want at the plate when we have a runner in scoring position.”

Rodriguez attributed the win to Brach, whose relief outing preserved the bullpen for the upcoming road trip and shut down the Trenton offense.

“He was the one that won the game,” Rodriguez said. “I know that Chen had a good game, but Brett Brach did an outstanding job. He came in when they were swinging, they were aggressive, their momentum worked their way and he came in and threw three innings… He was the one that won this game.”

Next, the Aeros head to Binghamton, N.Y. to face the B-Mets. They have an off-day Thursday before right-hander Danny Salazar (0-3, 4.58) is due to face B-Mets’ righty Rafael Montero (3-0, 1.59).

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.

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