Desperatly looking to snap a 2-2 tie heading into the 14th inning, the Aeros finally put their longest game of the season to bed late Thursday night via a 3-2 victory that mercifully ended some 25 minutes before midnight.
Facing Bowie reliever Kyler Newby, who was on the mound for his second inning of relief, Aeros catcher Roberto Perez singled home right fielder Ben Copeland to complete the walk-off win and secure the Aeros three-game series sweep at Canal Park.
With one out in the inning, Copeland reached on a walk and then stole second base to put himself into scoring position.
The Aeros previously had an opportunity to win the game with a runner on third base with one out in the 11th inning. But designated hitter Adam Abraham was thrown out at home plate when he finally took off after an initial hesitation while trying to score on a wild pitch.
In the meantime, the Aeros bullpen sat down 18 consecutive Baysox batters from the eighth inning through the first batter of the 14th.
It was a well-pitched game by Aeros pitching staff, save for right-hander Rob Bryson allowing the tying run in the seventh inning. Bowie third baseman Buck Britton led off with a double to right field then scored on center fielder Antoan Richardson’s sacrifice fly with the bases loaded and no out before Bryson could top-toe out of any further damage.
Before hand, Aeros starter and right-hander Brett Brach (1-2, 4.09 ERA) scattered nine hits and limited the Baysox to a run over 5 2/3 innings in the no-decision before giving way to the bullpen.
After Bryson, three more right-handers took care of the rest. Toru Murata followed with three hitless innings, 7-foot-1 Loek van Mil chipped in two more hitless frames and Jose De La Torre improved to 2-0 with the win after allowing just one hit over two scoreless innings.
The Baysox got on the board right out of the gate, stringing together three hits off Brach and capped by Robbie Widlansky’s RBI single. As Brach began to settle in, the Aeros offense began to warm up.
After third baseman Kyle Bellows reached on a throwing error by Bowie starting pitcher Zach Britton to lead off the fourth inning, first baseman Chun Chen moved him into scoring position with an infield single. Bellows came home to tie the score on Abraham’s sacrifice fly.
The host took the lead in the next inning when second baseman Davis Stoneburner sparked a two-out rally with an infield hit and scored on center fielder Tim Fedroff’s RBI double.
The score remained that way – knotted 2-2 for the next six and a half innings before Perez’s game winner.
After the team had mobbed Perez in left field (where he’d tried to run toward to escape), they quickly packed up in the locker room and head to the bus with pillows in hand for the late seven-hour drive to Binghamton, N.Y., where they begin a four-game series against the B-Mets beginning Friday at 7 p.m.
Aeros veteran right-hander and knuckleballer Steven Wright (3-2, 1.75 ERA) will make his second start since returning to the rotation following a short stay on the disabled list with a broken toe. The B-Mets have not yet named their starting rotation for the series.