Playoff Recap: 9/13
Trenton Leads Series 2-1; Game 4 Sunday at 6:05 p.m.
TRENTON, NJ – Austin Jackson gaveth for Trenton Saturday night, and he tooketh away from the Aeros as the Thunder claimed game three of the Eastern League Championship Series 4-1 before 4,575 fans at Waterfront Park. The Thunder now lead the best-of-five series two games to one, with game four set for Sunday at 6:05 p.m.
Jackson got Trenton on the board in the bottom of the first, hammering the first pitch he saw from Aeros starter Ryan Edell over the left field fence for a quick 1-0 advantage. The Aeros looked to have tied it up in the fourth as All-Star third baseman Wes Hodges sent a deep drive to right-center, but Jackson timed his leap perfectly and reached over the wall to bring it back and keep Trenton on top.
The Thunder tacked on two more runs in the bottom of the fourth, as a double and a pair of walks loaded the bases with one away. Kevin Russo then followed with a slow bouncer to third that Hodges went to first on, but Russo was called safe on a bang-bang play as P.J. Pilittere scored to make it 2-0. Reegie Corona followed with a sacrifice fly to deep right-center to bring home Francisco Cervelli with the second run.
Akron got on the board in the fifth with a run, but it could have been so much more. Trenton starter George Kontos walked Stephen Head and Wyatt Toregas to open the frame, and then grooved a full-count fastball to Matt Whitney. Whitney put a good swing on it and sent a booming drive out to left-center, but Jackson was there again and for the second time in two innings made a leaping catch to take away what would have been the game-tying, three-run homer. Head did move to third on the play and scored on Nathan Panther’s sac fly (which featured another great catch by Jackson, this time on the dead run on the warning track in left-center), but that was all the Aeros would get.
Bronson Sardinha singled to lead off the sixth and Brandon Pinckney walked to open the eighth, but Akron couldn’t take advantage either time. Trenton added a big insurance run in the bottom of the eighth when Pilittere doubled with one out and pinch-runner James Cooper scored on a two-out single by Edwar Gonzalez.
Anthony Claggett (1-0) earned the win out of the bullpen with 2.1 shutout innings, while Edell (1-1) allowed three runs and seven hits in 4.2 innings. Jhonny Nunez set the Aeros down in order in the ninth for his third save of the post-season. Head went 1-3 with a walk and a run scored for the Aeros offensively, while Pinckney also singled and walked in three plate appearances.
The Aeros will try to extend their season by one more day in game four of the series Sunday, sending Frank Herrmann (1-0, 1.29 ERA) to the mound against Trenton’s Jeff Marquez (0-0, 5.40 ERA). First pitch is set for 6:05 p.m., and the game broadcast begins at 5:50 p.m. on SportsRadio 1350 AM and online at www.akronaeros.com.