Akron gets 3-2 walkoff win in 14th inning
AKRON -- The Akron Aeros broke through with a game-winning RBI-single by catcher Roberto Perez in the bottom of the 14th, as Akron beat the Bowie Baysox 3-2.
With the win, Akron finished the homestand with a sweep of the Baysox (22-31).
In the bottom of the 14th, Perez singled home right fielder Ben Copeland for the winning run. Perez’s RBI off Kyler Newby (2-2, 1.65) was the first run scored by either team since the seventh inning, and the first for Akron since the fifth.
The Aeros stayed in the game thanks to a dominant performance by the bullpen.
Starting in the eighth, Toru Murata, Loek Van Mil and Jose De La Torre (2-0, 2.78) combined to retire 19 straight batters before former Cleveland Indian Josh Barfield hit a one-out single in the 14th inning. The three pitchers combined to throw seven innings, allowing no runs on just one hit and one walk while striking out six.
“It was an outstanding job by the bullpen,” said Akron Aeros manager Chris Tremie. “Everybody that came out did a nice job and extended it until we ended up winning the game.
“It’s a big win anytime you go extra innings and get those kind of battles out of your pitchers -- It’s great to come out on the winning end.”
Brett Brach (1-2, 4.09) pitched well after a tough first inning. After allowing one run on three singles in the first, Brach settled down to pitch five and two-thirds innings. He allowed one run while scattering nine hits and one walk. He struck out two.
“He did a nice job of commanding his ball down and away,” said Tremie. “He threw some good changeups. He gave us a solid outing.”
Brach was aided by strong outfield play all night, as two different outfielders gunned down a runner advancing to third base. In the first, Copeland threw out Antoan Richardson trying to advance first-to-third on a single. In the fourth, center fielder Tim Fedroff threw out Buck Britton at third after fielding a sinking liner by catcher Caleb Joseph.
“Playing good defense always helps the pitcher,” said Tremie. “[Brach] threw the ball well and he got some nice plays in the outfield and the infield as well.”
Rob Bryson entered in relief of Brach in the sixth and recorded the final out. He ran into trouble, however, in the seventh. After a leadoff double, Bryson misplayed a sacrifice bunt to put runners at first and third. Britton scored to tie the game, 2-2, on a sacrifice fly. Bryson proceeded to walk the bases loaded, but induced a fly out to center to prevent further damage.
Bryson has walked at least one batter in nine of his last 10 games, with two or more in four of those games.
Akron tied the game, 1-1, in the bottom of the fourth inning off Baysox starter Zach Britton. Third baseman Kyle Bellows led off the inning with a grounder back to the pitcher that was misplayed, allowing Bellows to advance. First baseman Chun Chen followed the error with a single past second that put runners on first and third with no outs. Bellows scored when designated hitter Adam Abraham hit a sacrifice fly to deep right field.
The Aeros took a 2-1 lead in the fifth with timely two-out hitting. After two ground outs to begin the inning, second baseman Davis Stoneburner singled to left. After Stoneburner stole second, Fedroff hit an RBI-double to right.
The Aeros struggled in seven innings against Britton (1-0, 0.75), who started 28 games for the Baltimore Orioles last season. He allowed two runs (one earned) on five hits and one walk. He struck out five.
The Akron Aeros (32-19) will start a road series at Binghamton on Friday at 7:05 p.m. The Aeros will play four against the B-Mets before returning to Canal Park for a six-game homestand on May 5. Knuckleballer Steven Wright (3-2, 1.75) will start the first game for the Aeros against a yet-to-be-named starter for Binghamton. Wright is making his second start since returning from the Disabled List with a broken left toe.
Notes: Kyle Bellows has at least one hit in eight of his last 10 games. … Announced attendance: 2,150.
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.