The Aeros strung together one big inning to take down Trenton 6-1 on opening day in front of a crowd of 6,847 Thursday night at Canal Park.
Akron (4-2) put together a four-run second inning on the strength of a three-run home run by their third baseman, which isn’t unlike what their Cleveland counterparts did a week ago against Toronto in the Indians’ opener.
After Nick Weglarz and Ryan Rohlinger each reached base with singles to the left side, Kyle Bellows belted a three-run bomb to left field.
Trenton (3-4) left fielder Dan Brewer didn’t really give an effort to chase it down, only moving a few steps before watching it fly out. Bellows also singled and walked twice.
It was Weglarz’s first hit after starting the season 0-for-14 with eight strikeouts.
Center fielder Tim Fedroff continued his hot start to 2012 (he entered the game with a .533 average), going 1-for-3 with an RBI, a stolen base and two runs scored. He’s now hit safely in all five games in which he’s played.
Fedroff also made a nice running catch of a fly ball to deep center in the top of the fifth to save a run and preserve McFarland’s shutout.
After Bellows’ home run, Fedroff singled and Juan Diaz stretched Akron’s lead to 4-0 a couple pitches later with a hard-hit liner up the middle that nearly plunked Trenton starting pitcher Brett Marshall. Diaz had two hits.
Bellows singled and stole second base in the bottom of the fourth, and scored the Aeros’ fifth run on Fedroff’s shot to center, which was scored a fielder’s choice after Trenton outfielder Melky Mesa trapped the ball and then threw out catcher Roberto Perez at second base.
Perez had singled with Bellows at second, but the ball was knocked down by shortstop Walter Ibarra, forcing Bellows to stay put.
The Aeros’ pitching also continued its torrid start.
As a team, Akron has allowed only 10 runs over the first five games, the fewest in the opening five games since 2007.
Starting pitcher T.J. McFarland improved to 2-0 and was never really in a jam, only allowing one runner to reach scoring position. McFarland struck out seven and allowed four runners over six innings.
The bullpen, off to an equally impressive start (27 strikeouts to seven hits allowed in 21⅓ innings pitched entering Thursday night’s game), again pitched well to complement another strong outing from an Akron starter.
Bryce Stowell cruised through the seventh inning with two strikeouts and a groundout in 12 pitches. Matt Langwell gave up the lone Trenton run on third baseman Ronnier Mustelier’s two-out single. Preston Guilmet came on in the ninth, gave up a walk and a single but got out of the inning without any damage.
It’s only his fourth game at a new position, but Chun Chen couldn’t hide his inexperience at first base Thursday night. Chen fielded a couple of popups early but didn’t look particularly comfortable and made a late adjustment for each catch.
Then in the top of the fifth, Chen was a little too aggressive on a grounder in the hole and went after the ball instead of covering first. McFarland was late getting over to the bag and Trenton’s Kevin Mahoney beat the throw for a hit.
He didn’t fare much better at the plate, either. Chen went 1-for-5 with three strikeouts and stranded seven runners, four in scoring position. Chen struck out with the bases loaded in the fourth and with runners on second and third in the sixth.
The Aeros will start knuckleballer Steven Wright (1-0, 1.80 ERA) against Trenton’s Cory Arisbo (0-0, 2.25 ERA) tonight.
Ryan Lewis can be reached at email@example.com. 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.