Aeros hold on for 8-7 win
AKRON - In the first of a three game series, the Akron Aeros defeated the Altoona Curve, 8-7, for their tenth consecutive win at home in Canal Park.
The Aeros and the Curve started off slow having only three hits between them for the first few innings. In the fifth inning, with one down, Nick Weglarz hit a solo homerun over the right field fence to put the Aeros up 1-0. Weglarz was 2-for-4 on the night with two runs and one RBI. The left fielder has an OPS of .669 and is a consistent force at the plate for the Aeros.
“Last year with my knee injury I was hitting off my front leg a lot," said Weglarz. “I worked on getting more of my backside and using my legs more. I sat back [in the off season] and got my legs stronger and I was able to see the ball longer, see it deeper and hit to all fields again.”
The Curve quickly battled back in the sixth when designated hitter Ramon Cabrera doubled on a fly ball to right field. Center fielder Miles Durham followed up with a triple, tying the game up 1-1. Jeremy Farrell grounded out to Aeros shortstop Juan Diaz, but got the RBI to put the Curve up 2-1.
In the bottom half of the inning Center fielder Thomas Neal got the bats going with a dribbling single up the middle. With one out on the board, third baseman Kyle Bellows hit a deep shot to the left field corner to get Neal around to home plate.
In the top of the seventh, Akron brought reliever Toru Murata in to relieve Paolo Espino. The Curve quickly jumped on Murata and put two additional runs on the board.
With the Aeros down by two, Nick Weglarz hit a deep shot to the left field corner to begin the seventh. Rohlinger kept the momentum with a single to left-center putting Weglarz on third. Ben Copeland would be the one to tie the ball game back up with a ground-ball single to right field for two RBI’s making it 4-4.
Copeland made it around to second when right fielder Anthony Norman attempted to throw Rohlinger out at the plate. Copeland scored after two passed balls, and the Aeros took the lead.
But the Curve weren’t ready to settle as they put up one more on Murata to tie the game back up at 5-5.
In the bottom of the eighth, Altoona brought right-hander Jeff Inman in to relieve Logan Kensing. Chen took a stroll up the first base line, but wouldn’t stop there. Inman made an unsuccessful attempt to pick Chen off at first, but with a bad throw advanced him over to third. Rohlinger walked on a 3-2 count and go on to steal second. With runners on second and third, designated hitter Michel Hernandez hit a line drive straight up the middle to put the Aeros up 7-5. Copeland came to the plate and hit a deep shot to the warning track in center field to score Hernandez for an RBI to close the inning 8-5.
Altoona did not take the additional runs lightly and came back strong in the top of the ninth. In a battle at the plate, Ramon Cabrera came out on top with a two run homer over the right field fence, cutting the lead to 8-7. Curve catcher Charles Cutler made the last stand for the Aeros, but on a 1-2 count hit a deep shot to right field but was snagged in a diving save by Copeland.