Aeros sweep marathon doubleheader
AKRON -- After a rainout on Saturday, the Akron Aeros swept a double header against Altoona, playing a total of 20 innings in the process.
In the opening game, Eric Berger gave up two unearned runs courtesy of a throwing error and a wild pitch to give Altoona a second inning lead. He pitched four and two-thirds innings, giving up three hits and three walks while striking out two.
Reliever Kyle Landis replaced Berger and threw three and one-third scoreless innings, striking out four. Matt Langwell followed with three more scoreless innings as the game entered extras.
In the top of the 12th, Altoona scored a run off Aeros closer Preston Guilmet to make the score 3-2.
In the bottom of the inning, center fielder Tim Fedroff walked to represent the tying run. After a sacrifice bunt by shortstop Juan Diaz, first baseman Jared Goedert hit a game-tying single to right, advancing to second on the throw home. Goedert would fail to advance after two quick outs.
The Aeros finally sealed the deal in the bottom of the 13th when catcher Michael Hernandez drove in second baseman Ryan Rohlinger from second in walk-off fashion. Guilmet earned the win, his first of the season, while Altoona right-hander Kris Harvey took the loss after surrendering both the tying and winning runs.
In between games, Akron made a quick call up for another reliever after the bullpen logged eight and one-third innings during the first game. Mason Radeke (1-1, 2.77) made the trip from Lake County to Canal Park, but ultimately wasn’t needed during the second game.
T.J. McFarland (3-1, 2.11), continued his Eastern League dominance and took pressure off the overextended Aeros bullpen.
“You get a great performance out of the first group of guys then you get your starter to give you seven full innings in the second game after a thirteen-inning game,” said Akron Aeros manager Chris Tremie. “It’s really incredible.”
McFarland pitched a complete game, scattering seven hits and one walk, while allowing two runs. He made just 88 pitches (61 for strikes).
Both teams struggled to score runs in the game, as they combined for just 12 hits.
Rohlinger was 1-3, with a walk and scored his second winning run of the day on a wild pitch in the bottom of the seventh.
“It feels good because I was on base,” said Rohlinger on his positioning in both wins. “I did something, either got a hit or I got walked. It’s nice being able to get on base and get my uniform dirty.”
First baseman Chun Chen rebounded from a rough first game (0-6, 4K), going 2-4, with a run scored. He was the only Aero with more than one hit in the second game.
Altoona’s pitching was solid throughout the day, but was ultimately unable to match Akron’s dominance.
In game two, right-hander Mike Colla pitched five and two-thirds innings for the Curve, allowing two runs on three hits and two walks. He struck out seven Akron batters.
Between the two games, Altoona pitchers struck out 19 batters.
After the three-game sweep, the Aeros (14-6) have beaten Altoona in four of five games this season, and carry a five-game winning streak. The Aeros are in sole possession of first place in the Western Division of the Eastern League.
After 20 innings of competitive baseball, Tremie was proud of the solid all-around baseball played by his team.
“A lot of time you get that high after winning the game and it’s hard to focus,” said Tremie of the first walk-off win. “The players battled their tails off that first game pitching-wise, played defense and ended up eventually getting the winning run.
“To come back and win again in the bottom of the seventh says a lot about their makeup.”
The Aeros will start a four-game series against the Binghamton Mets at Canal Park on Monday at 7:05 p.m. Right-hander Steven Wright (2-1, 1.46) will start for Akron against Altoona’s left-hander Darin Gorski (2-0, 2.75).
Notes: Announced attendance: 2,343. ... Jared Goedert’s .385 average is second best in the Eastern League. ... Kyle Landis retired 10 batters in a row in game one. ... Bryce Stowell has not pitched since 4/20 and Tremie says “more updates will follow” on the 25-year-old right-hander.
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.