Aeros Win Game One, Scrappers Advance
Akron Leads Best-of-Five SDCS 1-0; Game 2 Thursday
Josh Tomlin dominated Reading for seven magnificent inning and the Aeros got huge contributions from the bottom third of the lineup, taking game one of the Southern Division Championship Series 9-4 in front of 2,646 fans at Canal Park Wednesday. Akron now leads the best-of-five series one game to none, with game two set for Thursday night.
The Phillies opened the scoring in this one, as three straight singles loaded the bases with one away in the top of the second. Freddy Galvis then grounded a ball to first that enabled Beau Mills to get a force at second as one run scored, but the return throw from shortstop Carlos Rivero was in the dirt as Domonic Brown was able to come home as well and make it 2-0.
The Aeros responded in the bottom of the third however, as Jose Constanza singled with one down and Josh Rodriguez followed with a ringing RBI double to right-center to get Akron on the board. The turning point then came in the fourth, as Phillies starter Mike Stutes was on the verge of getting out a jam with the lead intact. Mills and Matt McBride opened the inning with base hits, but Stutes got a pair of hard-hit outs from the next two batters. John Drennen then reached on an infield single to short to extend the inning, and Jerad Head delivered the big blow with a three-run double off the wall in left-center to put Akron ahead to stay.
With Tomlin cruising, Drennen extended the lead to 6-2 with a two-run homer off the batters’ eye in dead center in the sixth, marking his fourth straight game with a home run to tie a franchise record (Kevin Kouzmanoff in 2006 and Carlos Santana earlier this year are the only other players to do it).
Reading rallied in the top of the eighth with a pair of runs off reliever Steven Wright, but close Josh Judy came on with two away and retired the dangerous Michael Taylor on a deep fly to center to preserve what had become a 6-4 lead. Akron then salted the game away in the bottom of the eighth, as RBI singles from Rivero and Constanza were sandwiched around a sacrifice fly from Head to account for the final scoring.
Tomlin (1-0) was terrific, tossing seven quality innings and allowing just two runs (one earned) on three hits. He retired the final 17 men he faced, did not walk a soul, and struck out eighth. Stutes (0-1) worked into the sixth in the defeat, allowing six runs (three earned) and nine hits in 5.1 innings. Judy set down the final four hitters in order for his first save of the post-season, striking out one in the process. The bottom three Akron hitters of Rivero, Drennen and Head combined to go 4-10 with a double, a homer, four runs scored and seven RBI, while Constanza, Rodriguez and Lonnie Chisenhall each collected two hits. The Aeros out-hit Reading 12-5.
Game two in this best-of-five series is set for 7:05 p.m. Thursday at Canal Park, and will feature another tremendous post-game fireworks show courtesy of BFG Federal Credit Union. Eastern League Pitcher of the Year Jeanmar Gomez (10-4, 3.43 ERA) will take the mound for Akron while Reading counters with left-hander Yohan Flande (4-4, 4.58 ERA).
Scrappers Advance to NYPL finals with 3-1 Win
On Wednesday night, the Mahoning Valley Scrappers advanced to the New Your Penn League Championship with a 3-1 victory over the Brooklyn Cyclones. The Scrappers are now 8-0 all-time in semi-final playoff games and await the winner of the Staten Island and Lowell Spinners series that is tied at one game apiece.
Scrappers starter Vidal Nuno went the first five innings and gave up no runs on just one hit, while walking one and striking out five. Austin Adams pitched the next two innings and gave up one run on one hit, while walking three and striking out one. Tyler Sturdevant pitched the eighth inning and gave up no runs while walking one and striking out one. Guido Fonseca pitched the ninth, retiring the side in order, ending the game with a strikeout.
Mahoning Valley scored first in the 2nd when Ben Carlson singled to centerfield scoring Casey Frawley, who reached base on a walk, and advanced to third on a sac fly. In the 3rd, the Scrappers increased the lead to 3-0 when Jason Kipnis hit his second home run of the playoffs scoring Argenis Martinez, who reached on a single. Scrappers pitching kept the Cyclones off the scoreboard until the top of the 7th, when John Servidio doubled to right scoring Richard Lucas from first. The Mahoning Valley bullpen pitched a scoreless 8th and 9th, and the Scrappers swept the series with the Cyclones two games to none with a 3-1 victory.
Saturday, the Mahoning Valley Scrappers will play game one in the finals against a team to be determined.