Aeros fall to Flying Squirrels, 9-5
AKRON -- Richmond left fielder Nick Liles hit a two-run single in the 11th inning to put the Flying Squirrels ahead, as the Akron Aeros lost 9-5 Monday night at Canal Park.
Richmond grabbed an early lead in the first inning off Aeros starter Steven Wright and never trailed in the game. The Squirrels increased the lead to 4-0 after scoring three runs in the third, the first of which came from a homer hit by Richmond designated hitter Johnny Monell. Richmond added another run in the fourth to make the score 5-0.
Wright struggled for the second start in a row as he allowed five runs (four earned) in six innings of work. He allowed seven hits and three walks while striking out six.
The Aeros offense stayed quiet through the first five innings as Richmond built their lead. Akron ended their streak of 14 consecutive scoreless innings, however, with a run in the sixth inning. The Aeros followed the run with another run in the seventh and three more in the eighth inning. After scoring three runs in the eighth, the Aeros tied the game, 5-5, where it remained until the Squirrels scored four runs in the 11th inning.
The bottom of the Aeros lineup was active on the night, driving in three runs and scoring one. The final three hitters in the lineup combined to go 4-for-12 with three walks.
“They’re having good at-bats,” said Akron Aeros manager Chris Tremie. “A couple of them had good nights tonight. It’s always good, up and down a lineup, when you get on base, especially when you can set the table for the 3-4-5 guys who need somebody to drive in.”
Richmond starter Justin Fitzgerald pitched six effective innings, allowing just one run, while walking and striking out four batters. Relievers Brett Bochy, Tom Vessella, and Edwin Quirarte combined for three and two-thirds shutout innings. Vessella (3-2, 2.68) earned the win for Richmond.
The Akron bullpen was dominant for four innings. Rob Bryson relieved Wright in the seventh and worked three perfect innings. He did not allow a baserunner while striking out six batters.
“Three solid innings out of Bryson -- he threw the ball really well,” said Tremie. “He’s being much more efficient with his pitches. Tonight, going three innings, it’s encouraging to see.”
The Aeros also got a perfect inning from right-hander Preston Guilmet who faced three batters and struck out two.
The Squirrels took the lead for good in the 11th off Bryce Stowell, who was roughed up on the night. With runners on second and third following a sacrifice bunt, Stowell intentionally walked center fielder Gary Brown to load the bases. Liles followed with a line drive single to bring two runs across. Two more runners would eventually cross home plate, making the score 9-5.
Stowell (1-1, 4.12) took his first loss of the season and left the game with an apparent left oblique injury after just one-third innings pitched. Bryan Price yielded no earned runs, but allowed two runs charged to Stowell to score.
The Aeros will conclude their eight game homestand and four-game series when they play the Flying Squirrels again on Tuesday evening at 7:05 p.m. Lefty Chris Gloor (1-1, 2.65) will start for Richmond against Akron right-hander Brett Brach (3-3, 3.49). Tuesday’s game will feature fireworks in honor of Independence Day and a special Spider Man appearance.
Notes: Announced attendance: 2,206.
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.