After the Aeros rallied from behind Monday to tie the game at 5-5 in the eighth inning to force extra innings, the visiting Flying Squirrels batted around in the 11th inning to make the outcome a no doubter in a 9-5 victory.
The Aeros (49-34) attempted a second comeback in the bottom of the inning by loading the bases and had the tying run at the plate in LF Nick Weglarz, but he was thrown out at first to end the threat and the game.
Richmond (39-44) opened the scoring at Canal Park with a run in the first inning against Aeros starter and RHP Steven Wright, aided by an Aeros error.
The Flying Squirrels then used a bloop double by 1B Mark Minicozzi and another error by the Aeros infield to push their lead to four unanswered with a three-run third inning, sparked by three hits off Wright.
From the start it didn’t appear Wright’s patented knuckle ball wasn't fooling anyone, and a lead off home run in the fourth by Richmond DH Johnny Monell proved it, pushing the Flying Squirrels lead to 5-0. For the record, Monell entered the game batting a robust 206.
But the veteran Wright managed to tiptoe out of bases-loaded jam in the sixth inning – which included a single and two walks - by striking out the side en route to six K’s on the night.
The Aeros offense halted the shutout bid with its first run in the sixth when 2B Matt Lawson led off with a double and scored on Weglarz's sacrifice fly, pulling to within 5-1.
With the offense coming awake, Wright's night was done after giving up five runs (four earned) on seven hits and three walks in six innings.
With the bullpen able to hold the Flying Squirrels pat, the Aeros began to climb back into the game and pulled to within three runs on SS Davis Stoneburner's double that scored 3B Kyle Bellows in the seventh inning.
The opposite was true for the Squirrels bullpen, which allowed the Aeros to rally late and tie the game with three runs in the eighth inning, sending the game into extra innings.
Singles by Weglarz, DH Adam Abraham and SS Juan Diaz sandwiched around a walk by RF Jeremie Tice sparked the late rally that tied the game tied 5-5.
Aeros reliever and RHP Rob Bryson was dominating in relief with three hitless innings in which he struck out six of the nine Richmond batters he faced.
But the bullpen’s domination ended in the deciding 11th inning when RHP Bryce Stowell was summoned to the mound. A base hit and walk followed by an intentional walk to set up a double play backfired, allowing the Squirrels to bat around and score four runs.
The back-breaker came on Richmond LF Nick Liles’ two-run single up the middle. A batter later, Stowell grabbed his left side in pain after a pitch. After being checked by the team trainer, he left game.
Stowell, who missed time earlier this season with an elbow strain, gave way to RHP Bryan Price. Price allowed two more runs before the inning finally came to an end on ironically – a double-play ball.
The Aeros wrap up this eight-game home stand with the fourth and final game of this series, hosting Richmond Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. at Canal Park. Akron RHP Brett Brach (3-3, 3.49 ERA) is slated to face Richmond LHP Chris Gloor (1-1, 2.65 ERA) on the mound.