Cedric Hunter did his fair share of damage but couldn’t get much support from the other eight spots in the lineup, and the Aeros lost to the Trenton Thunder 5-3 at Canal Park on Wednesday night.
Hunter, the designated hitter, first turned on a 93-mph fastball and drove it to the top of the bleachers in right field for a solo home run, giving the Aeros a 1-0 lead in the first inning. In the bottom of the third, Hunter drove in two more runs with a double down the right-field line that scored Jose Ramirez and Ronny Rodriguez, who came all the way around from first.
Hunter finished the game 2-for-4 and potentially had a chance to tie the game later on. Behind 5-3 and with a runner on first, he hit it hard but right at Thunder right fielder Tyler Austin, ending the seventh inning. It was an out but the third hard-hit ball off his bat in the game.
After starting the season at Triple-A Columbus and struggling a bit (.250 batting average, two home runs in 32 games), Hunter was sent down to the Aeros but then hurt his left shoulder after he crashed into a wall. Coming back from that injury, he’s currently hitting .327 with four home runs and 11 RBI in 14 games. Pulling a home run to right field was a nice sign that he’s returning to form.
“It’s good to see him swing that way,” Aeros manager Edwin Rodriguez said. “We all know he can play defense and he can run. The concern with him is to get his timing back, and it seems like he has his timing back.”
The Aeros’ offense outside of Hunter put up 11 hits and had three great scoring chances but couldn’t make any of them count. After Giovanny Urshela doubled in the third, catcher Jake Lowery singled to left field with two outs. Urshela didn’t get the best jump and was thrown out at the plate. In the sixth, Jesus Aguilar reached on an error and Urshela singled to left, putting two runners on with one out, but Quincy Latimore and Lowery each struck out swinging to end the inning.
An even better opportunity arose in the eighth. Aguilar and Carlos Moncrief each singled to open the inning but the rally was halted when Urshela lined one to Thunder shortstop Carmen Angelini. Aguilar took off on the low line drive, which was caught, and was doubled off first. Latimore then struck out looking, his fourth time going down on strikes in the game. Rodriguez wasn’t pleased with the two base-running miscues.
“You need to learn how to run the bases,” Rodriguez said. “Eighty percent of the time, you’re going to win or lose on the base paths.”
Aeros starting pitcher Brett Brach lasted 5⅓ innings, allowing four earned runs on seven hits and striking out three. He took the loss after the wheels came off in the fourth inning.
A leadoff double and a hit batsman put runners on first and second but Brach retired the next two hitters. Reegie Corona doubled to drive in a run and Jose Pirela hit a three-run homer on an 0-2 count, giving the Thunder a 4-3 lead.
Brach had won three consecutive starts but falls to 4-3 this season. It was his first loss since April 29 against the Altoona Curve.
Rodriguez and Ramirez each went 3-for-5 with a run scored.
Ryan Lewis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read the Aeros blog at http://www.ohio.com/aeros. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/RyanLewisABJ and on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/sports.abj.