Late heroics propel Akron to a 6-4 victory over Richmond
The Aeros ended their game against Richmond with a bang Saturday night, both literally and figuratively, winning 6-4 on Fireworks Night at Canal Park.
With a crowd of 5,190 in attendance, the Aeros looked to get back on track after losing four of their last five games, and won the first game of four in their series with Richmond in dramatic fashion.
Akron struck first on an RBI double by Jeremie Tice, which started a three hit, two run second inning to put the Aeros ahead 2-0 against Richmond starter Chris Heston. The Aeros tacked on another run in the third on some more hot hitting by Tice, who scored Chun Chen on an RBI single to push the Aeros lead to 3-0.
Richmond came storming back in the fourth, scoring four runs on five hits to take a 4-3 lead, but Akron responded with the tying run in fifth on an RBI double by Thomas Neal.
With the game tied 4-4 in the eighth, Juan Diaz stepped to the plate and delivered a crucial at bat for the Aeros, hitting a two-out RBI double that plated Matt Lawson to put Akron ahead for good. Chun Chen followed with an RBI single in the next at bat to score Diaz, giving the Aeros an insurance run to close out the game in comfort.
Aeros manager Chris Tremie was pleased with the gutsy effort his guys gave to win the ball game.
“It was a big at bat [for Diaz]; runner at second, eighth inning, two outs, and he knows he was probably going to get pitched at away. He did an outstanding job of getting the pitch up and driving to left field,” said Tremie. “Then we were able to follow that up with Chen to add another run. Those were two big at bats in a clutch situation late in the game.”
Akron starter TJ House went six innings and struck out four, but gave up four runs on eight hits before being replaced by Jose De La Torre, who received the win and is a perfect 6-0 for the Aeros this season.
“Jose came in and really commanded his fastball well tonight, threw some good breaking balls, and really did a nice job of keeping the game right where it was at and giving us a chance to win, said Tremie. It was a key part of the game for us.”
Aeros closer Preston Guilmet worked the ninth, retiring the side in order for his 10th save.
With the win, Akron maintains a 7 ½ game lead in the EL West, as second place Bowie won at New Britain, 9-8. The Aeros finished the month of June at 16-13.
The Aeros and Squirrels will play game two of the series on Sunday afternoon at 1:05. LHP Mike Kickham (5-6, 3.04) will start for Richmond, and the Aeros will counter with LHP Giovanni Soto (5-4, 4.00)..