AKRON AEROS 9, ALTOONA CURVE 5
KEY STATS: With the victory, the Aeros (11-2) increased their winning streak to an Eastern-League best six games...Altoona (3-10) committed a season-high four errors, including back-to-back miscues in the fourth inning. In their first 13 games, the Curve have racked up 22 errors, including a trio of errors in a game three times already.
KEY MOMENTS: The Aeros blew the game open with seven unearned runs between the third and fourth innings and chased Curve starter Jared Hughes after just 3 2/3 innings of work.
"Jose (Constanza's) three-run double was really the separator for us tonight," Aeros manager Mike Sarbaugh said. "That was a big at-bat."
Although a large portion of the night's offense came gift-wrapped via four errors and seven walks, the Aeros continued to push the issue with five stolen bases on the night.
"Our guys showed some patience because (Hughes) was really struggling to throw strikes at times," Sarbaugh said. "We did a nice job of taking what they gave us, but at the same time, I liked our aggressiveness. I always tell the guys if you're doing something and playing hard, I'll never second guess you."
STORM'S STARS: The Josh's led the way as Aeros starting pitcher Josh Tomlin struggled with his command early, but settled in to strike out a season-high eight batters over five innings in improve to 2-1 with the win and shortstop Josh Rodriguez went 3-for-3 with three runs scored to pace the offense.
"We've had some days off and I thought (Tomlin) looked a little rusty at first," Sarbaugh said. "But he battled through a solid five innings...(Rodriguez) really stayed within his middle-of-the-field approach and out up some good at-bats."
UP NEXT: The Aeros and Curve (Pittsburgh Pirates) are slated to meet again today for a double header beginning at 6:05 p.m. at Canal Park. Aeros right-hander Steven Wright (1-0, 4.00 ERA) and Curve right-hander Mike Crotta (1-0, 1.59 ERA) are the scheduled pitchers for Game One. In the nightcap, the Aeros will go by a bullpen by committee approach, while Altoona is expected to send right-hander Yoslan Herrera (0-0, 6.00 ERA) to the mound.
"Whoever's not used the first game, we'll kind of go from there," said Sarbaugh, whose team also played a double header Wednesday in Harrisburg (after back-to-back rainouts) in which starters pitched in each game.
RADIO: WARF (1350 am).
ROSTER MOVES: Not only did the Aeros add veteran catcher Armando Camacaro to the roster during their recent road trip, on Thursday they also welcomed right-handed pitcher Josh Judy to the bullpen after right-handed reliever Scott Roehl was called up to Triple-A Columbus Tuesday.
"(Judy) is going to try and fill the void left by Roehl," Sarbaugh said. "But he had been closing (at Class-A Kinston) so we're going to try and get him built up to two innings on occasion."
NOTES: Altoona's roster features a pair of former Akron players in left-handed reliever Shawn Nottingham (0-1, 4.50 ERA) and right-handed reliever Sean Smith (0-0, 9.00 ERA). Both were originally starting pitchers with the Aeros, but faced their old team Thursday in relief roles. Smith tossed 3 1/3 innings in relief of starter Hughes, giving up two runs on three hits and three walks while striking out five. Nottingham allowed a hit in an inning of work in the eighth.