Akron, OH -- Akron shortstop Ryan Rohlinger had two hits, including a two-RBI single, as the Aeros beat the Trenton Thunder, 4-3, Saturday night at Canal Park.
After losing the first two games of the best-of-four series against Trenton, the Aeros won just their second game in their last six. Second place Bowie stayed hot, beating Harrisburg, 5-4, on a walk-off single. The Aeros maintain a lead of 5.5 games in the Eastern League Western Division with 10 games remaining.
Akron starter T.J. House (8-4, 3.74) rebounded off his shortest start of the season to pick up the win. Over six and two-thirds innings, he allowed three runs on six hits and two walks while striking out four. House’s only big mistake came in the fourth. After walking the leadoff hitter, David Adams hit a two-run homer, his seventh of the season, to put the Thunder ahead 2-1.
“He was probably as upset as anybody or more after his last start when he went only one inning,” said Akron Aeros manager Chris Tremie. “He came back out and threw the ball well and kept us in the game. Other than the two-run homer, he really threw the ball well.”
After giving up back-to-back singles in the fourth, House was replaced by Shawn Armstrong, who got the final out of the inning. Armstrong also pitched the eighth, allowing just one hit.
Preston Guilmet pitched a perfect ninth to earn his 22nd save of the season, which is tied for tops in the Eastern League. Guilmet was recently named to the Eastern League All-Star team and is posting an ERA of 2.22.
“He’s been a big part of our success this year in those save situations,” said Tremie. “He’s also pitched several other times in close games or tie ball games where we ended up winning.”
The Aeros got on the board in the bottom of the second inning after first baseman Chun Chen hit a solo homer to right-center, his fifth of the season. After going 2-for-4 on the night, Chen is hitting .321 on the season, which is second in the Eastern League to Brock Holt’s .322 mark. Holt, however, is now playing at Triple-A, making it a one man race for the Eastern League batting crown.
After Trenton posted two runs in the top of the fourth to take a 2-1 lead, Akron bounced back with two runs of their own in the bottom half. With one out, the Aeros loaded the bases on back-to-back singles and a walk. Rohlinger followed with a two-run single to left that scored left fielder Thomas Neal and Chen.
Rohlinger had two hits, including a double, and walk in the game and continues to come through in clutch situations for the Aeros. On the season, over 25% of Rohlinger’s RBIs have come from bases loaded situations.
“I can’t say enough about the influence he’s had on the players here,” Tremie said, “not only in his play and his steadiness in the field defensively, but he’s also come up with big hits.
“Just his presence around the guys is a big factor.”
After Trenton tied the game again in the sixth, catcher Michel Hernandez doubled home designated hitter Jesus Aguilar to make it 4-3. Aguilar continued to show a disciplined eye at the plate, drawing two walks.
The Aeros will play the final game of the series and their final regular season home game of the season on Sunday at 1:05 p.m. Right-hander Brett Marshall (13-6, 3.24) will pitch for Trenton against Akron righty Toru Murata (2-1, 3.13).
Notes: Thomas Neal had two hits for the second straight game and now has a four game hitting streak. … Matt Lawson is 0-for-10 in the series against Trenton. … Carlos Rojas made his fifth fielding error in nine games with the Aeros. … Announced attendance: 6,759.
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.