Perez, Aeros batter Rock Cats, 6-4
AKRON -- Akron catcher Roberto Perez had three hits and four runs batted in Wednesday night, as the Aeros won 6-4 over the New Britain Rock Cats at Canal Park.
Perez had a night of firsts as it was his first three-hit game of the season and also his first multi-RBI game. He drove a two-run double to right in the second inning off Rock Cats starter Brett Jacobson (0-1, 5.74). The extra-base hit gave the Aeros a 3-2 lead.
“I’ve been working on a lot of things, but tonight I felt comfortable at the plate,” said Perez. “I wasn’t trying to do too much -- just trying to put the ball in play with runners in scoring position, and I had success.”
In the top of the third, the Rock Cats (32-25) tied the game when starter Brett Brach (1-2, 4.44) allowed a solo home run to center fielder Rene Tosoni.
Perez struck again in the fourth with another double to score left fielder Nick Weglarz for a 4-3 lead. The Aeros would keep the lead for the rest of the game.
Perez capped his best game of the season with an RBI-single in the eighth inning to make it 6-3.
“Roberto had a very good night tonight,” said Akron Aeros manager Chris Tremie. “He had four RBIs, three hits.
“He came up in big situations and got big hits -- He was really one of the biggest differences in the game.”
Brach struggled in his four and one-third innings of work. After the Aeros scored three in the bottom of the second to take a one-run lead, Brach allowed a run to tie the game. The Akron lineup picked up Brach in the bottom of the fourth when they took the lead on Perez’s second double of the night.
“If you look back at this year, we’ve done that an awful lot,” said Tremie. “We’ve done a really good job of coming back and scoring some runs to either tie it up or take the lead. It’s been good and hopefully we can continue to do that.”
Overall, Brach allowed three earned runs on seven hits and two walks. He struck out three.
“He struggled early in the game,” said Perez. “He gave us four strong innings and battled. It was a good win -- we scored a couple runs behind him.”
The win went to Aeros reliever Jose De La Torre, who came into the game in relief of Brach. De La Torre (3-0, 2.49) entered a bases-loaded situation with one out in the fifth and the Aeros leading 4-3. He got out of the jam after striking out right fielder Evan Bigley and inducing a pop-out from designated hitter Matt Rizzotti.
“He’s done a great job coming out of the pen,” said Tremie. “Tonight, coming in with the bases loaded and getting out of a jam, that was a real turning point in the game.”
De La Torre continued his dominance of late, striking out five batters in two and two-thirds innings. In his last three games, he has struck out 11 batters.
“He throws everything for strikes,” said Perez. “He pounds the zone and if he gets behind in the count he can throw any pitch.”
Rob Bryson and Preston Guilmet worked the final two innings for the Aeros. Guilmet got his seventh save in nine chances despite giving up a run on a walk and two hits.
The Aeros (35-20) have won the first two of the series and go for the sweep on Thursday at 7:05 p.m. Left-hander Logan Darnell (5-3, 4.50) is the scheduled starter for the Rock Cats, while knuckleballer Steven Wright (4-2, 1.72) will pitch for Akron.
Notes: Rob Bryson walked two batters and has walked at least one batter in ten straight appearances. … Nick Weglarz went 2-for-4 with a double and two strikeouts. … Brett Brach has pitched 5+ innings in just two of his past six starts. ... Announced attendance: 1,811.
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.