Turley, Thunder finish sweep, shut out Aeros 1-0
Terrific start from Cooper wasted in low-scoring loss
AKRON, OH -- Coming into this three-game series with the Trenton Thunder, the Akron Aeros were riding high after going over .500 for the first time since May 12.
Now, as the Thunder leave town, the Aeros have more work to do.
The Thunder (36-35) finished a sweep of the Aeros (34-37) with a 1-0 victory Thursday night at Canal Park. One night after the two teams combined for 25 hits offense was at a premium, with only nine hits falling in all night long.
The key hit of the night came in the seventh inning when Trenton second baseman Jose Pirela launched a double to left field. The double scored the only run of the entire game, bringing in third baseman Reegie Corona from first base.
"The ball was up a little bit," Akron starting pitcher Jordan Cooper said of the fateful pitch. "It wasn't the location I wanted to throw it to and the guy put a good swing on it."
A good throw from the outfield may have gotten Corona at the plate, but left fielder Justin Toole overthrew the cutoff man. The throw was bad, but Akron manager Edwin Rodriguez noted that Toole was playing out of position.
"He didn't misplay the ball," Rodriguez said. "It just went over his head. But then again, he's not an outfielder. He's an infielder."
Despite that one bad pitch, the lack of offense wasted a terrific start from Cooper (3-3, 3.28 ERA, 3.97 FIP). The right-hander went deep in the game, throwing seven innings of one-run ball with three hits, three walks, and five strikeouts.
"I was just trying to mix it up, keep the hitters off balance," Cooper said. "The catcher, [Chris] Wallace, did a good job of calling the game. It just seemed like we were on the same page... I wouldn't say one [pitch] was working better than the others. I think it was just the ability to throw any pitch in any count."
"That was a Hall of Fame performance by Cooper," Rodriguez joked. "His changeup was working. It was effectively wild."
More seriously, Rodriguez was impressed with how Cooper threw Thursday night.
"His ball was moving pretty well," Rodriguez said. "His changeup was working, so whenever he was behind in the count, those changeups were [something he could throw for] strikes."
Trenton starter Nik Turley shut out the Aeros for seven innings, only allowing five hits and two walks. Turley (6-5, 4.42 ERA, 4.32 FIP), who was ranked as the 14th best prospect in the Yankees system before the season, impressed Rodriguez with how he saved something for the late innings.
"Late in the game, he was throwing 92-93 [miles per hour]," Rodriguez said. "He didn't show that early in the game. Then late in the game, he was 91, 92, 93."
Despite the lack of scoring, the Aeros did hit the ball well. The key was that those balls found their way into the Thunder's gloves.
"We had some hard hit balls at people," Rodriguez said. "Like the grounder that Aguilar hit down the line [in the sixth inning], the third baseman made a great play. The whole series has been that way."
That play in particular came with runners on first and second and one out. The score was tied 0-0 at the time and Corona took away a clear run-scoring double.
Rodriguez and center fielder Tyler Holt both had two hits on the night, leading the team. Designated hitter Cedric Hunter walked twice, though his 0-for-2 night ended his five-game hit streak. During that streak, Hunter went 10-for-21.
The Aeros will look to get back to their winning ways as they welcome the New Britain Rock Cats (34-37) to town for a three-game set. The series starts Friday night at 7:05 p.m. with Akron right-hander Will Roberts (4-4, 4.33 ERA, 4.35 FIP) facing New Britain right-hander Tom Stuifbergen (1-0, 8.00 ERA, 4.53 FIP).
Attendance: 2,962... Time of Game: 2:32... First pitch was at 7:06... Game time temperature: 76 degrees.
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