After losing three out of four games to Erie and four out of their last five overall, the Aeros got back on the winning track Saturday with a 6-4 victory over visiting Richmond in the first of game of this four-game series that wraps up the current home stand.
The Aeros (49-32) did it against the league’s top pitcher in Richmond ace and RHP Chris Heston, who entered the game with a 6-3 record and league-best 1.68 ERA.
The Aeros got on the board first with two runs in the second inning, sparked by 3B Kyle Bellows’ RBI-single that scored LF Jeremie Tice (who’d doubled ahead of him). Bellows then scored on a throwing error by Heston to give Aeros 2-0 lead.
In his next at-bat, Tice pushed the Aeros lead to 3-0 in the third inning after driving in 1B Chun Chen (who lead off the frame with a walk and advanced to second on a wild pitch).
But the Flying Squirrels (37-44) made up for lost ground in the top of the fourth inning, sending eight batters to the plate that produced four runs on five hits against Aeros starter and LHP T.J. House, taking a 4-3 lead.
But Aeros RF Thomas Neal tied score in the fifth inning with an RBI-double that chased Heston from the game.
The game stayed knotted up 4-4 until the bottom of the eighth inning when SS Juan Diaz smacked an RBI-double off reliever and RHP Edwin Quirate that scored C Roberto Perez to break the tie and give the Aeros a 5-4 lead. Chen followed with his third hit of night, a single that scored Diaz and added a key insurance run.
Aeros closer Preston Guilmet sat the Flying Squirrels down in order in the ninth inning to end the game, notching his 10th save.
The Aeros host the Flying Squirrels for the second game of this four-game series at 1:05 p.m. today at Canal Park. Akron LHP Giovanni Soto (5-4, 4.00 ERA) is slated to face Richmond LHP Michael Kickham (5-6, 3.04 ERA) on the mound.