Game Recap 6/29: Popham Has Impressive Double-A Debut
Right-handed starter Marty Popham delivered a quality start in his Double-A debut as the Aeros snapped a four-game losing streak Tuesday night with a 4-3 victory against the Richmond Flying Squirrels. A crowd of 3,688 fans at The Diamond witnessed a solid pitching duel between Popham and Richmond ace Daryl Maday before a wild finish to end the game. It was a crucial win for Akron (37-40) as the team moved back into fourth place with the victory over the now fifth-place Flying Squirrels (37-41).
Second baseman Jason Kipnis helped the Aeros get off to a solid start in the first with a one-out solo home run although a double play ended the inning and any further rally.
Host Richmond then tied the score at 1-1 against Popham in the bottom of the second inning. Roger Kieschnick began the frame with a single, Conor Gillaspie also nailed a base hit and catcher Jackson Williams collected the RBI with the third hit of the frame.
Both starters cruised after that point as the two teams combined for only two hits over the next four innings. Akron finally re-took a narrow advantage back in the top of the seventh, as first baseman Matt McBride singled to left. Recently returned designated hitter Beau Mills singled again, advancing McBride to third, while John Drennen produced a huge run-scoring double to right, giving the visitors a 2-1 lead.
The Squirrels retaliated in the bottom half of that inning against new Aeros reliever Zach Putnam. A single, a double, a sacrifice bunt and then a RBI single by Clay Timpner brought host Richmond on top for the first time in the contest by just one run.
Akron then captured the lead and the final runs of the night in their next opportunity in the top of the eighth. Catcher Damaso Espino singled and Cristo Arnal laid down a sacrifice bunt, but a throwing error by Maday brought runners to second and third base with no outs. Center fielder Jordan Henry then nailed the game-winner with a clutch two-run single to center against Richmond relief pitcher Jake Stevens.
Putnam (3-1) earned the win on the night despite allowing the go-ahead runs in the seventh inning. Maday (8-5) took the loss but was solid through the first six innings before struggling in the seventh and eighth. Reliever Bryce Stowell recorded his team-leading seventh save by recording the final four outs all via strikeout and The 6