Game Recaps: Saturday 9/5
John Drennen sparked the tying two-run rally in the bottom of the ninth and then boomed a two-run walk-off homer in the bottom of the 10th as Akron defeated Erie 5-4 in front of 8,346 fans at Canal Park Saturday night. The Aeros won their sixth straight and climbed a season-high 34 games over .500 at 87-53, tying the 2006 club for the third most wins in franchise history. Erie fell to 71-68 and was eliminated from playoff contention.
The SeaWolves used the long ball to take an early lead, as Mike Bertram hit a solo shot to right-center in the second and Brennan Boesch added a two-run blast in the third to stake starter L.J. Gagnier to a 3-0 lead. Gagnier, in just his second Eastern League start, made the margin hold up through seven scoreless innings before departing after consecutive singles opened the bottom of the eighth. The Aeros would go on to break through in the eighth thanks to a run-scoring fielder's choice by Matt McBride, and a phenomenal leaping catch at the wall by left fielder Jerad Head in the top of the ninth helped keep it a 3-1 game heading to the bottom of the frame.
Carlos Rivero struck out to start the inning, but Drennen followed with a single to center to get the potential tying run to the plate. Armando Camacaro also struck out, but Jose Constanza drew a five-pitch walk from Erie's Brett Jensen to set the stage for Josh Rodriguez. The second baseman took a first pitch ball from Jensen, then belted his second offering off the top of the wall in left-center, scoring both runners and pushing the game into extra innings.
Erie rebounded to take the lead in the top of the 10th though, as Aeros reliever Neil Wagner surrendered one-out singles to Santo de Leon and Danny Worth. Wagner then allowed the go-ahead run in gut wrenching fashion, throwing a wild pitch to advance both runners before a second wild pitch scored de Leon and put Erie in front 4-3.
The SeaWolves sent Jensen back out for the 10th, and after Lonnie Chisenhall singled to open the inning the right-hander came back to strike out Head and Rivero to again get Akron down to its final out. Jensen fell behind 2-0 to Drennen however, and the native of San Diego sent the next pitch sailing into the bleachers to win the game.
Wagner (1-3) earned his first win of the year after allowing a run in two innings of relief, while Jensen (5-5) blew two leads and was roughed up for four runs in 1.2 innings. Aeros starter Jeanmar Gomez allowed the two early home runs before settling in for his ninth quality start, giving up three runs and seven hits in six innings. Drennen finished just a double shy of hitting for the cycle, and the home run was his fifth of the year. Rodriguez finished with three hits as well, Beau Mills was 2-4 to extend his hitting streak to eight games, and Constanza scored runs 96 and 97 on the year, passing Grady Sizemore for second on the club's single-season list.
K-Tribe drop third straight
The Potomac Nationals hit three home runs on their way to a 7-0 victory over Kinston on Saturday night in Virginia. Salem won in extra innings over Lynchburg, as the K-Tribe is now two games out of the final playoff spot with just two games to play.
Potomac managed just six hits in the game, but half were home runs; starting with a solo shot from Danny Espinosa in the bottom of the first inning. In the top of the fourth inning, Potomac