Aeros Strike Early, Beat Flying Squirrels 4-3
Richmond, VA -- The Akron Aeros scored four runs in the first inning and held on for Matt Packer’s first win of the season, beating the Richmond Flying Squirrels, 4-3.
The Aeros (59-39) have now won seven games in a row as they continue their hot play on the other side of the Eastern League All-Star break. After losing its second game in a row, Richmond (50-49) fell to 9.5 games in back of Akron in the EL Western Division.
Packer (1-0, 0.00), who began the season on the disabled list after suffering shoulder soreness in spring training, was strong in his first start with the Aeros. In six innings pitched, he allowed two unearned runs on five hits while striking out seven Richmond batters.
Packer spent all of the 2011 season with the Aeros, going 9-12 with a 4.31 ERA in 27 starts. His nine wins were a career-high. Before coming to Akron for the current series, he appeared in two games with high-A Carolina, working a total of eight innings without allowing a run.
The Aeros offense did all of the team’s damage in the first inning off Flying Squirrels starter Chris Gloor (2-2, 2.09). Center fielder Tyler Holt led off the game with an infield single to third. With Holt on second after a sacrifice bunt, designated hitter Thomas Neal hit a two-out, RBI single to left to make the score 1-0. Following a walk by first baseman Adam Abraham, third baseman Ryan Rohlinger drove an RBI double to right. Two more runs scored after right fielder Jordan Henry reached on a fielding error by Richmond first baseman Mark Minicozzi, stretching the lead to 4-0.
Gloor would finish after tossing five and two-thirds innings, allowing just the four runs (two earned) while scattering eight hits and a walk. Jake Dunning and Brett Bochy followed Gloor with three and one-third innings of silent relief, allowing no baserunners while striking out four Akron hitters.
The Aeros bullpen combination of Kyle Landis, Jose De La Torre and Preston Guilmet protected the lead for Packer. Landis allowed an eighth inning homer to Juan Ciriaco to allow Richmond to pull within one run. After allowing another hit and a sacrifice bunt, De La Torre relieved Landis and shut down the rally with two quick outs.
Guilmet worked the ninth inning for his 16th save of the season, allowing just one hit while lowering his season ERA to 1.70.
The Akron Aeros and Richmond Flying Squirrels will continue their four-game series on Friday at 7:05 p.m. Left-hander Giovanni Soto (5-6, 3.73) will start for the first time since his no hitter against the Altoona Curve on July 15. Soto will be opposed by Richmond right-hander Craig Westcott (8-6, 3.67)
Notes: Ryan Rohlinger is hitting .353 over his last 10 games with five doubles and five RBIs. … Matt Lawson has now hit in nine of his last 10 games. … In his last 10 appearances, Preston Guilmet has allowed no runs on three hits while striking out 13. … Announced attendance: 6,807.
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.