McFarland, Aeros slammed, 7-3
ERIE, PA – The Erie SeaWolves washed over the Akron Aeros as T.J. McFarland struggled to keep the Erie line-up at bay on Friday.
McFarland, who was coming off an impressive start against Richmond in which he allowed 12 hits, but only one run, was looking to earn his ninth win of the year. However, this time around was not as kind to McFarland as one inning was the tipping point of the ballgame.
McFarland started off well as he posted three straight scoreless innings without allowing a hit, but the fourth inning was a rough one as the SeaWolves plated all seven runs.
Centerfielder Jamie Johnson and second baseman Brandon Douglas led off the inning with back-to-back singles and scored when shortstop Niuman Romero tripled to right. The hits kept coming as first baseman Jordan Lennerton and designated hitter Rawley Bishop each had infield singles to the pitcher and catcher John Murrian singled on a liner to center. With two men on, left fielder Wade Gaynor rocked a home run to left, boosting the SeaWolves’ lead to 7-0.
Meanwhile, Erie starter Ramon Garcia remained solid until the fifth inning, where he relinquished a lead-off double to right fielder Thomas Neal. Neal went on to score after third baseman Kyle Bellows and catcher Michel Hernandez each drew a walk and centerfielder Tim Fedroff grounded into an RBI force out, putting Akron on the board down 7-1.
Reliever Loek Van Mill replaced McFarland in the sixth, giving McFarland a line of five innings pitched, yielding seven earned runs on eight hits and a walk with five strikeouts.
The Aeros weren’t ready to be silenced in the seventh as they scraped two more runs. Neal led off again with a sharp single to left and advanced to third on a single by Bellows. Neal scored on a sacrifice fly off the bat of second baseman Matt Lawson. Hernandez followed with a single and Fedroff picked up his second RBI of the evening as he singled to plate Bellows, bringing Akron within four. That ended the night for Garcia, whose line posted at 6.1 innings pitched, surrendering three runs on seven hits, two walks and seven strikeouts.
Garcia was replaced with Robbie Weinhardt, who shut the Aeros down through two scoreless innings to secure the SeaWolves with a 7-3 win.
Neal continued to bump his batting average over the .300 mark as he hit 2-for-4 on the day. Neal has hit .343 through his last 10 games and .307 on the season.
Bellows also continues to maintain a hot bat as he hit 1-for-3, and has hit .389 with three home runs and 12 RBIs through his last 10 games.
Next, right-hander Brett Brach (1-1, 4.26) will get the start for Akron against Erie’s Zack Segovia (4-4, 5.36) in game two of the four-game series.
Stephanie is a crime and general assignment reporter for The Morning Journal in Lorain, Ohio. She’s an alumna of Cleveland State University with a degree in Journalism and Promotional Communication. You can follow her on Twitter @7thInningSteph.