Playoff Recap: 9/14
Miscues Doom Aeros in 5-1 Loss
Trenton Claims Second Straight Eastern League Crown
TRENTON, NJ – The Thunder scored four runs in a sixth inning where nothing went right for Akron, and those scores propelled Trenton to the Eastern League title for the second consecutive year, defeating the Aeros 5-1 in game four before 3,117 fans at Waterfront Park. Trenton also bested Akron in four games last season.
Game three hero Austin Jackson put Trenton ahead in the third with an RBI single to right, capping a run of three straight hits off Aeros starter Frank Herrmann with two away in the inning. Matt Whitney answered for Akron in the top of the sixth however, emphatically snapping an 0-18 slump with a solo home run to left to tie the game at 1-1.
The game turned in the bottom of the inning however, as the Thunder would plate four runs on only two singles. With the bases empty and one out, Chris Malec hit a bouncer up the middle that glanced off the heel of shortstop Josh Rodriguez’s glove for an error. That knocked Herrmann from the game as the Aeros called on lefty Reid Santos to face the left-handed Colin Curtis, but Curtis spoiled the strategy as he willed an 18-hop dribbler through the right side to put men at first and second.
Akron went back to the bullpen with hard-throwing Neil Wagner, but P.J. Pilittere reached for a fastball and lined it into right field for an RBI single as Malec scored to make it 2-1. Francisco Cervelli then walked on five pitches to load the bases, and Wagner’s next offering skipped past catcher Wyatt Toregas all the way to a backstop for a run-scoring wild pitch. An intentional walk reloaded the bases as Akron looked for a double play, and Wagner did indeed induce a ground ball from Kevin Russo. Rodriguez had to move to his left to field it however, and in his haste to throw to second took his eye off the ball as it bounced off the heel of his glove again, allowing Pilittere to score on the error. Reegie Corona followed with a sacrifice fly to cap the inning and, for all intents and purposes, the game.
Jeff Marquez (1-0) earned the win with six quality innings, holding Akron to just a run on five hits. Herrmann (1-1) suffered the loss, allowing two runs (one earned) and four hits in 5.1 innings. Jason Jones recorded the final nine outs for his first save. Matt LaPorta finished 1-3 with a walk and a double offensively, while Toregas walked twice.