Richmond--The Richmond Flying Squirrels got a three run rally in the bottom of the ninth innings to steal a 4-3 win away from the Akron Aeros on Sunday.
Akron controlled the game through the eighth inning, leading Richmond 2-0. The Flying Squirrels got their first run in the bottom of the eighth, but sealed the deal in the ninth with back-to-back home runs on closer Preston Guilmet.
Starter T.J. House kept the Flying Squirrels scoreless by only allowing one hit, walking one and striking out six in six shutout innings. The lefty was replaced in the bottom of the seventh inning by right-handed reliever Rob Bryson.
Akron’s first run came in the top of the second inning with a solo homerun from former top prospect, left fielder Nick Weglarz, over the right field fence. The Aeros’ second run would come in the top of the fifth, when first baseman Adam Abraham blasted another solo homer, but this time over the fence in left center.
The Aeros sat secure with the 2-0 lead until the bottom of the eighth. After two walks and a single from Bryson, right-hander Jose De La Torre was brought into the game. He immediately forced center fielder Gary Brown into a double play, but a run still scored. Catcher Michel Hernandez and De La Torre stopped pinch runner Ryan Cavan at the plate to avoid the tie, but Richmond still cut the score to 2-1.
Akron was able to put one more on the board in the top of the ninth. Shortstop Juan Diaz tallied his eighteenth double on the season to start things off. Third baseman Ryan Rohlinger laid down the sacrifice bunt to get Diaz around to third. Abraham, with his second RBI for the night, tapped a line drive double to the right side to make it 3-1.
Guilmet replaced De La Torre for Richmond’s half on the ninth. Things looked promising as his first batter, shortstop Ehire Adrianza was called out on strikes. The next batter got on with a single. With victory on the horizon, the damage was done when first baseman Tommy Joseph and third baseman Mark Minicozzi cracked back-to-back homeruns to slip by the Aeros with a 4-3 final.
The 60-41 Aeros will start knuckleballer Steven Wright in game one of a three-game series against the Erie Seawolves Monday at Canal Park. This game marks the beginning of a seven game home stand for Akron.
Christian Turner is a senior public relations major at the University of Akron where she covers baseball, tennis and military veterans for the student newspaper, The Buchtelite.She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.