Thunder strikes early, hold on to defeat Aeros 5-4
Trenton, NJ – After dropping 2 out of 3 to the New Britain Rock Cats at home during the week, the Akron Aeros were looking to gain lost ground in the Western Division playoff race in the beginning of a 6-game road trip. However, the Trenton Thunder had other plans and defeated the Aeros 5-4 on Friday night at Arm & Hammer Park in Trenton, New Jersey.
The Aeros’ record drops to 56-62, including three of their last four. They are 6.5 behind the Erie SeaWolves for second place in the Western Division.
The Aeros had a pitching change before the game began, as scheduled starter Paolo Espino was called up to Triple-A Columbus, where he pitched for the Clippers. Former Aero Cole Cook rejoined the team from the Carolina Mudcats, and pitched in a losing effort.
As they had done in both of their losses against the Rock Cats, the Aeros allowed crucial runs in the first inning. With the bases loaded, third baseman Reggie Corona hit a two-run single to center field, and he has now hit 30 RBI this season.
This was followed by an unusual play, very unfortunate for Akron, as Carmen Angelini, who was on third base, stole home to extend the Thunder’s lead to 3-0.
The Aeros quickly cut Trenton’s deficit in the top of the second as they loaded the bases with only one out and Tyler Holt scored when Matt Lawson grounded into a force out. Jose Ramirez was next up to the plate and smacked a single, driving in Jake Lowery.
Lawson and Ramirez have 17 and 34 RBI, respectively this year for Akron.
The Thunder added one more in the bottom half of the inning when Cody Grice scored on a single from Ramon Flores. At the end of the inning, Trenton was ahead 4-2.
The Aeros stayed hot on the Thunder’s heels as they scored once in each of the next two innings to tie the game. Giovanny Urshela hit an RBI single in the third to score Jesus Aguilar and Aguilar returned the favor with an RBI of his own, as he drove in Ronny Rodriguez in the fourth.
This was Aguilar’s 87th RBI of the season, which leads the Eastern League.
The game would be deadlocked until the bottom of the fifth inning as Reggie Corona scored on a single from Saxton Butler. The Aeros would threaten to score again, loading the bases in the sixth inning, but they would be unsuccessful as the Thunder secured the tight victory.
With short notice before he took the mound, Cole Cook had difficulty with Trenton early on. He allowed three runs in the first inning and five total in his five innings pitched, which would give him the loss. He is 2-2 in his time with the Aeros with an ERA of 7.17.
Shane Green fared slightly better for the Thunder, giving up four runs and eight hits in 5 1/3 innings pitched, and earned the win to improve his record to 6-3.
After all nine runs were scored off of both starters in the first 5 innings, the bullpens for both teams did very well. Shawn Armstrong pitched for two innings for Akron and allowed only one hit while striking out two, and Jeff Johnson also pitched one inning of solid relief in the eighth, retiring the side.
The Thunder are now 61-57 and control the second playoff spot in the Eastern Division, even though they trail the division-leading Binghamton Mets by a substantial margin of 12.5 games.
The Aeros look to reverse their fortunes as the series against the Trenton Thunder continues on Saturday night in New Jersey. Toru Murata is scheduled to pitch on the Akron side while the Thunder will call on Fred Lewis.
The first pitch is set for 7:05 pm.