Richmond, VA – Akron first baseman Jesus Aguliar drove home Tyler Holt in the top of the 12th inning to score the go-ahead run, as the Aeros won, 4-1, over the Richmond Flying Squirrels Saturday night.
One night after clinching the team’s eighth division title in franchise history, the Aeros (81-59) continued to finish the regular season on a winning note. Akron will now look to maintain the best record in the Eastern League over the Trenton Thunder.
Akron scored the first run of the game in the third when left fielder Nick Weglarz drew a bases-loaded walk. The score stayed 1-0 until Richmond tied the game in the ninth against Aeros closer Preston Guilmet.
The game remained tied until Aguliar’s go-ahead hit in the 12th. Second baseman Matt Lawson followed Aguliar with a two-RBI double to solidify the Akron victory.
Akron starter Danny Salazar pitched six shutout innings in a no decision, allowing just four hits while striking out three batters. Salazar has allowed just three runs over his last five starts, picking up four wins along the way.
Trey Haley followed Salazar with two scoreless innings of relief, working around two baserunners while striking out four. After Guilmet allowed a run in the ninth, Bryce Stowell and Rob Bryson followed with three combined innings of no-hit relief.
Stowell (2-1, 3.72) pitched two innings to earn his second win and struck out two. Bryson also struck out two hitters to earn his second save.
Richmond starter Craig Westcott lasted six innings, allowing just one unearned run on seven hits and three walks. Tom Vesella (3-4, 4.10) took the loss, after allowing all three Aeros runs in the 12th inning.
The Aeros offense collected 13 hits on the night. Eight Akron hitters recorded hits and five came away with multi-hit efforts. Lawson’s double in the final frame marked the only Akron extra-base hit. Aguliar continued his hot streak, reaching base five times (two hits, three walks).
The Aeros will continue the series at Richmond on Sunday at 5:05 p.m. Akron will start right-hander Brett Brach (4-7, 3.90) against Eastern League Pitcher of the Year Chris Heston (9-7, 2.13).
Notes: Jesus Aguilar has drawn 10 walks in his last 10 games while striking out just 11 times. … Announced attendance: 5,319.
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.