Aeros declaw the Rock Cats, 6-2
AKRON – The Akron Aeros conquered the New Britain Rock Cats 6-2 on Tuesday evening as the Aeros’ offense worked for 12 hits while their bullpen was nearly flawless.
Starting for the Aeros was lefty Giovanni Soto (4-2, 4.07) who had received no-decisions in his last two starts. On the bump for New Britain was righty B.J. Hermsen (3-1, 2.68), who pitched well in his previous start as he tossed 8.2 innings and surrendered two runs.
Returning to Akron was former Aero Trevor Crowe. Crowe started the year in AAA-Columbus before straining an oblique that sent him to Goodyear, Arizona for rehab. Crowe hit second in the Aeros line-up and started in right field.
Hermsen was greeted by leadoff centerfielder Tim Fedroff, who put the Aeros on the board early with a solo shot to right, putting Akron ahead 1-0.
However, New Britain responded immediately as right fielder Evan Bigley also led off with a home run to right to level the score.
The Aeros responded with two more in the third inning as first baseman Chun Chen drew a one-out walk but was thrown out at second on a force out that allowed designated hitter Adam Abraham to reach. Shortstop Juan Diaz reached on a fielding error by Rock Cats shortstop Estarlin De Los Santos and third baseman Kyle Bellows drew another walk. Cue left fielder Nick Weglarz, who singled deep to center to plate both runners, giving the Aeros a 3-1 lead.
New Britain’s rebuttal followed immediately in the fourth as third baseman Deibinson Romero sent a solo shot over the left field wall to bring the Rock Cats within one.
Soto lasted through 5.1 innings of work as he was replaced with Kyle Landis in the sixth. That completed Soto’s line with two runs allowed on five hits and four walks with four strikeouts.
The Aeros struck again in the seventh as Abraham and Bellows drew a pair of walks and advanced a base on a balk by Andrew Albers, who entered to pitch for New Britain in the sixth. With two out, Albers was replaced with Bobby Lanigan. Second baseman Ryan Rohlinger greeted Lanigan with a line-drive single to center to score both runners, boosting Akron’s lead to 5-2.
The Akron bats weren’t ready to be silenced as they carried over into the eighth when Chen drew a one-out walk. With two out, Diaz hit a bloop single down the right field line and Bellows singled into left to score Chen.
Righty Bryce Stowell pitched the eighth to relieve Landis, who struck out four straight in 1.2 innings of work. Stowell relinquished just one hit and a walk and Loek Van Mil entered to pitch the ninth for the Aeros. Van Mil tossed a scoreless ninth with a strikeout to lock down the Aeros’ win at 6-2.
Crowe was limited to four at bats on the evening, in which he hit 2-for-4 with a pair of singles. Overall, the Aeros strung together a total of 12 hits, though they left 14 men on base.
Aeros manager Chris Tremie was pleased with his offense and noted that Crowe appeared to be in good form in his return. “He looked good at the plate,” Tremie said. “He’s been doing some work to get back on the field and play every day. He had a good night and he’s just trying to make sure he’s ready to go.”
Tremie was also content with Soto’s outing, despite the two home runs Soto allowed. “He just left a couple pitches up and the guys just put a good swing on it,” Tremie said. “Overall, he threw the ball well and had a strong five-and-a-third innings.”
Landis’s relief in the sixth and seventh innings was a key factor. “It was a really good outing, coming in, especially first and second in a one-run game. He came in and shut that inning down and then had a really clean seventh. He really did a nice job. He’s thrown the ball really well this year. He’s throwing strikes, keeps the ball down, and has been very productive.”
Rohlinger, who has struggled with a .212 average through his last 10 games, hit 2-for-5 on the night with two RBIs. Tremie noted that Rohlinger is still working on his swing. “He’s working on being consistent and staying balanced and getting the barrel of the bat and the bat head where he wants it to be consistently,” Tremie said. “He’s been working hard and had a good night tonight.”
Next, Aeros’ right-hander Brett Brach (1-3, 4.64) will square off against New Britain’s Brett Jacobson (0-0, 4.84) in game two of the series.
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.