AKRON – The Akron Aeros finished off the Bowie Baysox with a 5-2 victory on Sunday to advance Akron to the Eastern League Championship series.
Right-hander Carlos Carrasco made another short rehab start for the Aeros to counter Bowie right-hander Tim Bascom (6-6, 4.33). Carrasco was only scheduled to pitch one inning as part of his rehab as he recovers from Tommy John surgery.
Carrasco was dominant through his one inning pitched as he struck out two Baysox batters before giving way to right-hander Brett Brach (5-8, 3.84).
Akron ensured an early lead as they posted three runs in the first. Right fielder Jordan Henry led off the inning with a walk and swiped second base for his first steal of the playoffs. Henry advanced to third on a groundout before designated hitter Chun Chen hit an infield single to second to score Henry. Chen advanced to second as first baseman Jesus Aguilar drew a walk and with two out, left fielder Adam Abraham singled to right to plate both runners.
The Aeros tacked on another in the second inning as shortstop Davis Stoneburner led off with a single and scored on a two-out single by centerfielder Tyler Holt to lift the Aeros to the 4-0 lead.
Chris Petrini entered the game to pitch for Bowie to start the third. Petrini tossed two scoreless innings before giving way to Clay Schrader.
Meanwhile, Brach remained solid through five innings before relinquishing a run in the sixth. Centerfielder Antoan Richardson reached base on a bunt single and utilized his speed to advance to third on a single by second baseman Buck Britton. With one out, Richardson went on to score on a sacrifice fly to put Bowie on the board down 4-1.
The Aeros added another as they drew one from Schrader in the seventh. Holt drew a one-out walk before stealing second and scoring on another single by Chen for his second hit of the evening.
Former Cleveland Indian Josh Barfield ended Brach’s evening in the eighth in the form of a solo home run to left. Brach was replaced with reliever Rob Bryson, sealing Brach’s final line at 6.2 innings pitched, surrendering two runs on six hits while fanning four.
Jason Gurka entered to pitch the eighth for the Baysox while Hector Rondon took the bump for the Aeros. Gurka tossed a scoreless eighth for Bowie and it all rested on Rondon’s shoulders to shut down the Baysox in the ninth. Rondon made quick work of the inning as he retired the side in order and struck out the final batter of the game to preserve the Aeros with the 5-2 victory and advance Akron to the next round.
The Trenton Thunder, who finished off the Reading Phillies on Sunday, will head to Akron for the first game of the Eastern Championship series on Tuesday. Right-hander Brett Marshall (0-1, 5.14) is expected to start for Trenton while the scheduled starter for Akron has yet to be released.
Stephanie is a crime and general assignment reporter for The Morning Journal in Lorain, Ohio. She’s an alumna of Cleveland State University with a degree in Journalism and Promotional Communication. You can follow her on Twitter @7thInningSteph.