Aeros Take Commanding Lead
Akron Leads Series 2-0, Can Clinch Title Friday
Josh Rodriguez drilled a three-run homer in the top of the ninth and Josh Judy survived a heart-stopping bottom half of the inning as the Aeros survived a wild 7-6 victory over Connecticut in game two of the Eastern League Championship Series. Akron extended its franchise-record winning streak to 13 games and now leads the best-of-five series two games to none, with game three set for Friday at 7:05 p.m. at Canal Park.
It was a night of big pitches for the Aeros, starting in the bottom of the first as Jeanmar Gomez stranded a runner at third with one away. Akron then opened the scoring with three runs in the top of the third, as John Drennen sparked the rally with a leadoff single. Jerad Head followed with an RBI double and went to third on an error, scored on Jose Constanza’s RBI base hit, and Constanza came home later in the inning on a run-scoring fielder’s choice by Beau Mills.
Connecticut cut it to 3-1 with consecutive doubles from Brock Bond and Mike McBryde, but again Gomez was able to stop the damage there and eventually stranded McBryde at second. Gomez then saved his best escape act for the fourth, getting out of a bases loaded, one-out jam by striking out Jackson Williams and Bond to end the inning and escape unscathed.
The Aeros added a run in the 7th, but Connecticut stormed back in the bottom of the inning to tie it at four. After a single and two walks, the bases were loaded with no outs. Carlton Smith walked in a run and was lifted for Zach Putnam, who curtailed the damage a bit by forcing a run scoring double play grounder and a strikeout to end the inning.
After Josh Rodriguez’s aforementioned homer had given the Aeros a 7-4 lead in the ninth inning, closer Josh Judy worked through trouble as the Defenders pulled within a run on a McBryde triple before Tyler LaTorre was called out on strikes to end the game.
After a day off Thursday, the series shifts to Akron for game three in this best-of-five series Friday night at 7:05 p.m. at Canal Park. The Aeros will send lefty Eric Berger (1-0, 1.80 ERA) to the hill against Connecticut southpaw Craig Clark (0-1, 5.40 ERA).