Aeros shut out Binghamton in season opener
The Akron Aeros shut out the Binghamton Mets 4-0 in the team’s season opener on Thursday despite an early exit by starter Paolo Espino due to an apparent injury.
After giving up a leadoff single to Juan Centeno, a trainer visited Espino on the mound and he was removed from the game. Espino worked mostly out of the bullpen in 2011 with Akron and AAA Columbus, posting a 2.77 ERA while limiting batters to a .225 average.
Reliever Kyle Landis replaced Espino, and induced Sean Kazmar to bounce into a double play to Akron third baseman Kyle Bellows. Landis struck out Pedro Zapata to end the inning, beginning six innings of bullpen dominance.
Binghamton starter Collin McHugh pitched five innings, allowing two earned runs on four hits along with three walks. After walking Akron right fielder Ben Copeland to open the third inning, McHugh allowed a one-out double to center fielder Tim Fedroff that scored Copeland from first base. Fedroff, who finished the game with three hits, scored two batters later on a single by Jared Goedert.
Kevin Mulvey replaced McHugh in the sixth and allowed a leadoff double to Ryan Rohlinger. With two runners aboard following a Chun Chen walk, Nick Weglarz hit a potential double-play ball to second baseman Josh Rodriguez. Rodriguez threw to second, but shortstop Sean Kazmar threw wildly to first, allowing Rohlinger to score an unearned run.
After replacing the injured Espino, Landis and the rest of the Aeros bullpen would preserve the shutout. After finishing the third inning, Landis worked around two walks and a single in the fourth thanks to a thrown out runner by catcher Roberto Perez. Jose De La Torre, a former Binghamton Met, pitched around a two-out single to put up a scoreless fifth and cruised through the next two innings.
Matt Langwell took over for De La Torre in the eighth and struck out the side.
The Aeros added an insurance run against Armando Rodriguez in the top of the ninth on a sacrifice fly by Juan Diaz.
Langwell secured his first save of the season after retiring the side in order in the ninth inning. De La Torre earned the win, while McHugh received the loss. The Aeros bullpen combined for seven shutout innings of relief, scattering two hits and four walks.
The Akron Aeros will continue their series with Binghamton Friday night at 7:05 p.m. Left-hander T.J. McFarland will make his season debut for Akron against Binghamton right-hander Zack Wheeler.
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.