Espino, Aeros struggle in series opener, lose 4-2
Bowie, MD -- The Bowie Baysox slugged three home runs to beat the Akron Aeros, 4-2, in the opening game of the Eastern League Western Division Series at Prince George’s Stadium.
The Baysox (1-0) now lead by one game in the best of five series, which continues Thursday at 7:05 p.m. in Maryland.
After designated hitter Robbie Widlansky singled with one out, Bowie first baseman Ryne Hughes hit a two-run homer in the fourth inning off Aeros pitcher Paolo Espino to give the Baysox a 2-1 lead.
Espino (0-1, 8.31), who entered the game in the second after a one-inning rehab start by Carlos Carrasco, allowed all three Bowie round-trippers. In addition to the Hughes homer in the fourth, Espino also gave up a solo homer to Ronnie Welty to lead off the fifth and another solo shot by Ty Kelly to lead off the sixth. After the home run derby was over, the Baysox led the Aeros, 4-1.
Espino only allowed seven homers in 116 innings during the regular season but struggled to fool hitters in the opening game of the EL playoffs. He worked four and one-third innings, allowing four runs on five hits. He exited in the sixth after issuing back-to-back walks with one out, but Kyle Landis worked out of the jam.
Landis pitched two innings of scoreless relief, allowing just two baserunners. Rob Bryson retired the final two Bowie hitters.
Baysox top-prospect Dylan Bundy (1-0, 1.50) pitched six innings, allowing just a solo home run by second baseman Matt Lawson in the second. Bundy, the Orioles top pick in the 2011 draft, worked around seven base runners, including a walk, while striking out seven.
Kyler Newby picked up the save for Bowie for his first save in the playoffs. He saved 19 games in 20 chances during the regular season.
The Aeros (0-1) pulled within two after a solo homer by left fielder Adam Abraham in the seventh against reliever Mike Belfiore. Akron had two men on with two outs, but third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall flew out to deep right to end the inning.
First baseman Jesus Aguilar had two hits, including a double, to lead the Akron offense. The Aeros went 0-for-5 with runners in scoring position.
After winning just six of 19 games against Akron during the regular season, the Baysox turned the table in the first game of the series. The team will play one more game in Bowie before the Aeros return to Canal Park on Friday.
Aeros lefty T.J. House (8-5, 3.98) will look to even the series Thursday night against Baysox right-hander Mike Wright (5-3, 4.91).
Notes: Chun Chen continued to struggle, going hitless in four at-bats. … Announced attendance: 1,851.
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.