AKRON -- Akron’s Nick Weglarz hit a big walk off homer to right field in the bottom of the 10th inning, pushing the Aeros to a 2-1 victory over the Altoona Curve Saturday night at Canal Park.
The home run was Weglarz’s team-leading sixth of the year, and came on a 2-2 pitch from left-handed reliever Jhonathan Ramos (2-1, 2.89). The long ball traveled past the bleachers in right, starting a home plate celebration before the fireworks following the game.
Weglarz was 1-for-2 in the game with two walks and now has 19 runs batted in. He has had success during the current homestand, going 6-for-14, with a pair of homers.
“He’s had a good week,” said Akron Aeros manager Chris Tremie. “He’s put together some good games and obviously tonight the walk-off home run was huge.”
Weglarz said after the game that he recently altered his swing to increase his hitting zone.
“I’ve had more at-bats, more consistent at-bats every day,” said Weglarz. “I tweaked my swing a little bit to create a little more space so I can get that inside pitch a little easier. I actually tried it yesterday and coincidentally it’s two home runs in two days.”
Aeros starter T.J. House (ND, 2.53) was masterful through eight innings, taking a shutout through the seventh inning. The Curve scored a run off House in the eighth after three singles, tying the game at one.
“He really threw the ball well and easily could have had a shutout,” said Tremie. “He gave up a couple infield singles in his last inning that ended up scoring one run but still, what a great outing.
Overall, House allowed five hits, walked two, and struck out three. At one point, House retired 15 straight Curve hitters, including five straight ground outs to shortstop Juan Diaz.
“[Diaz] put on a show tonight,” said Tremie. “A highlight reel in one game.”
Right-hander Loek Van Mil (1-1, 1.62) picked up the win after relieving House in the ninth. Van Mil tossed a pair of scoreless innings, striking out two.
Both teams remained scoreless through six and a half innings until the Aeros scored a run in the seventh. Second baseman Davis Stoneburner hit a sacrifice fly off reliever Mike Colla, scoring designated hitter Chun Chen from third.
The run was charged to starter Brandon Crumpton (ND, 2.97) who loaded the bases before he was relieved by Colla. Until the seventh, Crumpton kept Akron hitters in check, and finished with one run allowed on two hits, four walks, and six strikeouts.
“Both starters were great,” said Weglarz. “T.J. definitely deserved the win but at least we finally got the win.”
The first-place Aeros (38-20) have won five straight and 11 straight at Canal Park. The team extended their lead in the Eastern League Western Division to 6.5 games, as second-place Harrisburg lost.
The Aeros and Curve will conclude the series on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. Right-hander Shairon Martis (4-1, 2.84) is scheduled to start for the Curve against Aeros lefty Giovanni Soto (5-2, 4.22).
Notes: Adam Abraham was ejected in the ninth by home plate umpire Shaun Lampe for arguing balls and strikes. … Trevor Crowe went 1-for-4 and has at least one hit in every game since joining the Aeros. … Announced attendance: 5,160.
Nathan Kemp graduated from The University of Akron in 2012 with a bachelor's degree in English. He plans to pursue a graduate degree through NEOMFA in the fall. Follow him on Twitter @NathanCKemp.