Goedert powers Aeros to 8-5 victory
AKRON - Jared Goedert hit a pinch hit three-run home run to left center field in the eighth inning and the Akron Aeros overcame an early four-run deficit to beat the Trenton Thunder 8-5 on Saturday.
Akron has now won three in a row to clinch the first home series at Canal Park in 2012.
After early struggles by starter Giovanni Soto, the Aeros lineup came alive after the third inning, as the team scored at least one run from the fourth to the eighth inning.
After a walk by right fielder Thomas Neal and a single by catcher Chun Chen, left fielder Nick Weglarz grounded out to second base, making the score 4-1 in the bottom of the fourth. Center fielder Tim Fedroff singled in the team’s second run of the game in the fifth inning. Akron third baseman Kyle Bellows grounded out with runners on second and third in the sixth inning, scoring Weglarz.
Akron’s third score closed the book on Trenton starter Josh Romanski, who pitched 5+ innings, allowing three earned runs on six hits, two walks, and three strikeouts.
The Aeros took the lead for good in the seventh off Thunder relievers Ryan Pope and Francisco Rondon.
Neal opened the inning with a double to right center and advanced to third on a single by Chen. After a Weglarz strikeout, Neal scored on a passed ball by Thunder catcher Jeffery Farnham. After a walk, Jared Goedert pinch hit for center fielder Ben Copeland. Goedert drove a 2-1 pitch over the left field wall to put Akron up 7-4.
“In that situation I’m not trying to do too much,” said Goedert. “I’m just thinking hit something hard up the middle, a ball in the outfield just to get the runner in from third.
“I got a hitter’s count right there, got a fastball, and I was able to hit it out.”
Goedert admitted that hitting off the bench is a challenge.
“I try to stay focused into the end of the game whether it’s hitting off a tee at the end of the game as much as I can to be ready for a situation like that,” said Goedert. “It’s obviously going to be slightly different from a regular at bat, but I try to do stuff throughout the game to try to make it as much like a regular at bat as I can.”
Each team would add a solo home run in the final two innings to make the final score 8-5.
Early on, it was all Trenton, as the away team jumped out to an early 4-0 lead off Soto.
After retiring the first batter of the third inning, Soto allowed a one out single by Trenton center fielder Melky Mesa, who stole second. First baseman Luke Murton singled past Akron first baseman Adam Abraham, allowing Mesa to score from second. After another single and a fielder’s choice, shortstop Addison Maruszak hit a double to left center, expanding the Trenton lead to three runs.
Soto allowed a leadoff hit to second baseman Ronnier Mustelier the next inning. After Mustelier stole second, Soto retired the next two batters before Mesa drove in Mustelier with a single to right. Mesa stole second base again, as the Thunder continued to test Chen’s throwing arm.
At the end of three innings, Soto had allowed four earned runs, making 62 pitches (37 for strikes). He would pitch one more inning, allowing a total of seven hits, one walk, and five strikeouts.
“I think [Soto] was very good his last outing” said Akron Aeros manager Chris Tremie. “Today he didn’t have the same control he did, but that happens from time to time and I look for him to come back in his next outing and do exactly what he did in his first outing.”
The Aeros bullpen continued their strong work in relief of Soto. Kyle Landis earned his first win of the season after pitching three scoreless innings, allowing just one hit while striking out three. Bryan Price pitched two innings for his first save of the season, allowing one home run and striking out three.
“The bullpen’s been very good so far this year,” said Tremie. “Landis came in today with those three strong innings and Price finished it up. It’s definitely one of our strengths.”
The Akron Aeros will wrap up their first home series of the year on Sunday as left-hander Eric Berger goes for his first win of the season against Trenton’s Craig Heyer. Canal Park’s first Family Funday and Kids Club Day will be held prior to the game. The event includes pre-game catch on the field, player autographs, and kids entertainers as well as post game kids run the bases sponsored by Smith Dairy.
Note: Goedert’s pinch hit home run in the eight inning was the first pinch hit home run of his career. ... Akron Aeros pitchers combined to strike out 11 Trenton batters. ... Announced attendance: 2,113.
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.