Aeros pitchers strike out 12 in 5-1 win over Altoona
ALTOONA - The top of the Akron Aeros lineup was hot Monday night, and left-hander Giovanni Soto kept the Altoona Curve quiet, allowing just one run over five innings in a 5-1 win.
Strong pitching has been the key to Akron’s early season success so far. The Aeros had allowed just three runs in their first three games of 2012 – the team’s lowest total since 2007. Soto logged another strong starting performance, striking out six batters while allowing just two hits.
Soto, who came to the Indians organization through the July 2010 Jhonny Peralta trade, made a strong case to hold down the number four slot in the Akron starting rotation. In 2011, Soto went 4-4 with a 3.23 ERA in 15 appearances (11 starts) at Single-A Kinston.
The top three hitters in the Akron lineup had seven hits in 12 at-bats with three runs batted in. Tim Fedroff continued his hot start to the season, going 3-4 with two runs batted in and two walks. Juan Diaz and Jared Goedert both had two hits.
Akron broke out to a three-run lead in the second with the help of two singles, an error, and a wild pitch. In the middle of the action was new roster addition right fielder Thomas Neal, who was designated for assignment by the Cleveland Indians on April 4. Neal went 2-for-5 in his second game with the Aeros, scoring two runs.
In all, nine Akron Aeros batted in the second inning before Nick Weglarz lined out to right fielder Andrew Lambo to end the inning.
Weglarz continued his early season struggles, going 0-4 with a walk and a strikeout. He has failed to get a hit in 14 at-bats so far, striking out eight times in the process.
Altoona starter Aaron Pribanic struggled with his command in his season debut. The right-hander walked a career-high six, though he limited the damage to just three runs, one earned, over his three and one-third innings.
While Curve hitters struggled to put the ball in play against Soto, they fared no better against the Aeros bullpen. The Curve struck out six times against right-handers Joe De La Torre and Bryan Price over the final four innings, increasing the team’s total to 12 for the game.
De La Torre, making his second appearance of the season, allowed just two hitters to reach base, striking out two during the sixth and seventh innings. Price took over for the final two innings and continued his strong start to the season, allowing no hits, no walks, and striking out four.
The Akron Aeros will continue their series with Altoona on Tuesday when Aeros left-hander Eric Berger matches up with the fellow southpaw Aaron Poreda at 6:30 p.m.
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.