The Aeros mounted a valiant comeback yet again but once again were turned back, losing 7-5 to visiting Richmond Tuesday night at Canal Park.
The loss dropped the slumping Aeros (49-35) to 2-6 on the home stand as they dropped three-of-four games to Erie and Richmond over that span.
Once again the Flying Squirrels (40-44) struck first with a run in the first inning on three hits against Aeros starter and RHP Brett Brach, who gave up a lead off double to CF Gary Brown. Browns then promptly scored on LF Nick Lyle’s single to right field.
Briefly the Aeros pulled even in bottom of frame with a run without the aid of a hit when CF and lead off man Jordan Henry walked, took second and third bases on groundouts then scored on a wild pitch by Richmond starter and LHP Chris Gloor.
The Flying Squirrels got right back to Brach in the next inning, posting another run on Brown’s run-scoring fielder’s choice. But Aeros RF Thomas Neal made a diving catch in shallow right to halt Richmond's rally, leaving the host facing a manageable 2-1 deficit.
But Brach continued to struggle through a lengthy third inning in which the Flying Squirrels pushed the gap to six runs thanks to a pair of home runs - RF Juan Perez's lead off homer and a two-run shot by C Johnny Monell (his second homer in as many days).
The Aeros trimmed the deficit to 7-2 in the sixth inning when 1B Chun Chen scored on a double play ball.
Aeros reliever and RHP Kyle Landis found himself in a jam in the eighth inning with two men on and two outs when Henry made a diving, tumbling catch in the alley to save two runs and end the inning.
Sparked by the standout defensive play, the Aeros got back to chipping away at the deficit in the bottom of the inning, scoring three runs highlighted by DH Nick Weglarz’s two-run home run.
Neal walked to lead off ninth and give the host a shot at tying the game, but Richmond reliever and RHP Edwin Quirarte went on to retire the heart of the Aeros order to end the game and notch the save.
* SIDELINED - Monday night's 9-5 loss was a costly one for the Aeros. Not only was their lead in the Eastern League Western Division as trimmed to 6.5 games thanks to wins by both Harrisburg and Bowie, but the team also lost two players to injury. 3B Kyle Bellows tweaked a wrist injury and reliever and RHP Bryce Stowell suffered a strained left oblique, both landing on the Disabled List for the second time this season.
* UP NEXT - After wrapping up an eight-game home stand the Aeros hit the road for a six-game road trip beginning tonight at Erie at 7:05 p.m., followed by two days off for the Eastern League All-Star break July 10th-11th. They return to Canal Park July 12th for a seven-game home series. Tonight, Akron RHP Paolo Espino (2-2, 3.51 ERA) is slated to face Erie RHP Cesar Carillo (0-0, 2.25 ERA) on the mound.