Aeros split doubleheader in Erie
ERIE -- The Erie SeaWolves used a late comeback in the second game of Monday’s doubleheader against the Akron Aeros, claiming a 4-3 win, and a split for the day.
The Aeros won the first game, 4-0, as four Aeros pitchers combined to limit SeaWolves hitters to just three hits.
The Aeros (29-19) completed an eight-game road trip with a 3-5 record. Akron remain in first place in the Eastern League Western Division, with a three-game lead over the second place Harrisburg Senators.
In the first game, starter Steven Wright, just activated from the disabled list, threw three scoreless innings in his return. After missing 11 days due to a broken toe, Wright allowed just two hits and scattered three walks. Working on a strict pitch count, Wright struck out three batters before leaving after 55 pitches.
Kyle Landis (2-1), Rob Bryson and Preston Guilmet preserved the shutout, combining for four innings of work. They allowed just one hit and two walks while striking out four.
The Aeros took the lead in the top of the sixth after first baseman Chun Chen scored on a wild pitch by starter James Avery (5-4, 3.10). Akron added one more run in the sixth and two more in the seventh to make the final score 4-0. Chen and third baseman Kyle Bellows both went 2-for-4 with a double to lead the Aeros lineup.
It looked like Akron might run away with the second game as well, as the Aeros took a 3-0 lead to the sixth on the strength of five scoreless innings from starter Paolo Espino. Espino, making his third Aeros start, allowed only four hits and struck out a season-high five batters, while lowering his ERA to 1.69.
In the sixth, however, Erie narrowed the lead to one after pushing across two unearned runs against reliever Toru Murata. With runners at first and third, a passed ball by Roberto Perez allowed one run to score and a fielding error by second baseman Matt Lawson scored another run to make it 3-2.
In the seventh and final inning, the SeaWolves completed their rally against Loek van Mil (0-1, 2.31). With one out, Erie shortstop Brandon Douglas singled and scored on a triple by catcher Rob Brantly to tie the game at three. After an intentional walk, designated hitter Rawley Bishop hit a short fly ball into foul territory down the first base line. Aeros first baseman Adam Abraham made an over-the-shoulder catch of Bishop’s pop-up. Brantly tagged from third and scored on a close play at the plate.
The final play of the game was contested by the Aeros, resulting in the ejection of both van Mil and Akron Aeros manager Chris Tremie.
According to Akron Aeros media relations coordinator Dave Wilson, Perez dove at Brantly and appeared to tag the runner’s feet as he slid feet first into home plate. Home plate umpire Shawn Lampe signaled safe immediately.
Zach Samuels (2-0, 6.46) picked up the win in relief for the SeaWolves. Samuels worked two scoreless innings, striking out two.
For the Aeros, left fielder Nick Weglarz had a single, a walk and an RBI sacrifice fly in game two. Shortstop Davis Stoneburner and second baseman Matt Lawson each drove in a run as the Aeros built a 3-0 lead.
The Aeros will return home to Canal Park for a three-game series against the Bowie Baysox. The series opener is Tuesday night at 7:05 p.m. Lefty T.J. House (3-1, 3.30) will start for Akron against Bowie right-hander Tim Bascom (3-2, 4.24).
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.