Aeros blast past Fisher Cats 11-2
Home runs by Moncrief and Urshela power Akron to win
Akron, OH – One night after pulling out a low-scoring, narrow victory, the Akron Aeros' hitting came alive and clobbered the New Hampshire Fisher Cats 11-2 on Wednesday night at Canal Park. Akron has won two straight games against New Hampshire, showing much more life at the plate and are much more consistent with their pitching as well.
It was a slow start but the Aeros’ lineup made up for lost time, scoring four runs each in the seventh and eighth innings en route to eleven runs total.
The Aeros left the bases loaded in the bottom of the second inning and the Fisher Cats responded with the game’s first run. Packer gave up four straight singles to start the third, including an RBI single from Kevin Pillar to score Brad Glenn.
Pillar now has 27 RBI in 2013.
Akron’s troubles with the Fisher Cats' lineup were compounded when Glenn hit a solo home run to center field in the very next inning. Glenn has hit five home runs so far this season.
In the fifth, Ronny Rodriguez led off with a double and crossed home plate on a fielder’s choice to tie the game at 2-2.
Urshela led off the sixth inning with a long double off of the center field wall and scored on a sacrifice fly from Rodriguez. Rodriguez has 26 RBI this season.
The Aeros took advantage of New Hampshire reliever Tyson Brummett in the seventh inning as the first two batters reached base and Carlos Moncrief smashed a three-run home run into the bullpen on the first pitch to extend the lead to 6-2. It is Moncrief’s seventh home run of the season.
The bottom of the seventh inning and Brummett’s woes continued as Jose Ramirez hit a two-out RBI single to score Urshela. When the inning finally came to an end, all nine batters came up to the plate and managed four runs and four hits in total.
Jesus Aguilar scored in the eighth inning off of an error and it then it went from bad to worse for Brummett as Jake Lowery hit an RBI double to score Moncrief and the next batter Urshela hit a massive two-run home run into left field before the reliever was taken out.
Aeros reliever Enosil Tejeda quickly finished off the Fisher Cats in the ninth inning to solidify a major Aeros win.
Matt Packer had some difficulties with the Fisher Cats, as he allowed two earned runs and eight hits, but overcame them to have an overall quality outing. He pitched six full innings and allowed two earned runs and eight hits but did not walk a single Fisher Cat.
Manager Edwin Rodriguez pointed to the third inning, in which Packer allowed hits to the first four batters but gave up only one run, as a major turning point in the game.
“He (Packer) did good," Rodriguez said. "That was a game. In the third inning, with the bases loaded and no outs, and he only gave up one run. That was the game. That took them out of the game.”
Both Packer himself and Edwin Rodriguez recognized that Packer’s training with pitching coach Greg Hibbard has contributed to his game in a big way.
“That’s part of the game,” said Rodriguez. “He has been working with Greg Hibbard, and not only his pitching but the way he is attacking the hitters. It has been working for him; he has put together three or four good starts.”
When asked about his thoughts on improvement, Packer also credited his work with Hibbard as vital to his success.
“Hibbard has been working with me since the beginning of the season," Packer said. "And I feel like I’m getting a little more comfortable, and I’ve been throwing the ball a little faster too, and I think that has a lot to do with the mechanical changes I’ve made.”
Packer commented that he had a better outing, but that it was not perfect. “They got a lot of hits off of me," he said. "But they were ground balls, so I didn’t let myself down and just stuck with what I was doing, and it ended up working, and I got out of a couple jams.
“For the next couple of starts, I have to be a little more consistent, my fastball wasn’t really great today. I have to be better with my fastball command, so that’s what I’ll be working on.”
Packer recorded the win and is now 3-5 with a 3.22 ERA for the year.
Packer was replaced by Chen-Chang “C.C.” Lee, who made his much-anticipated appearance in the seventh inning, his first game in an Aeros uniform in 2013. He only pitched for a single inning but made a large impact, retiring the side and striking out two batters.
Lee is currently recovering from Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, which he underwent in June of 2012.
The Aeros’ hitting was also noticeably strong Wednesday night, especially from Urshela, who led the way going 4-for-5 (reaching base in all five plate appearances) and also hitting a home run and two doubles in three consecutive innings. Urshela stands at 18 RBI with the Aeros.
The Aeros had 14 hits, eight off of Brummett in his 1.2 innings pitched.
Jake Lowery also went 1-for-4. Lowery replaced Roberto Perez at catcher, as Perez has been placed on the temporary inactive list due to the birth of his first child.
The Aeros move up to 28-31 and trail the Erie SeaWolves by five games. The Fisher Cats have lost four straight and are now 28-32.
The Aeros look for their first sweep of the season with the finale of their series with the Fisher Cats on Thursday night at Canal Park. Toru Murata takes the mound for the Aeros has he goes up against Deck McGuire of New Hampshire.
The first pitch is set for 7:05 p.m.