Because Saturday’s game against Altoona was rained out, the Aeros were supposed to play back-to-back seven-inning games Sunday.

They ended up playing 20 innings and six hours of baseball. They also ended up winning in walk-off fashion—twice—by scores of 4-3 and 3-2.

The Aeros (14-6) almost filled their 14-inning quota for the day in the first game alone after each side manufactured runs through sacrifice flies and bunts to drag on a 13-inning affair.

With Ryan Rohlinger on second base (he walked and advanced to second on Thomas Neal’s sacrifice bunt) in the bottom of the 13th, catcher Michel Hernandez singled to right. Rohlinger was waved home by manager Chris Tremie, slid around catcher Tony Sanchez and beat the throw in a bang-bang play at the plate.

An inning before that, Altoona (8-13) and Akron each advanced a runner into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt and hit the runner home (Jared Geodert drove in Tim Fedroff for the Aeros). By then, both teams looked tired and were doing anything possible to muster a run. Between a lack of quality hits and a growing disparity of arms in each bullpen, it’s a good thing the game ended when it did.

Those that took the mound in the first game were all exceptional—starter Eric Berger (4? innings pitched), Kyle Landis (3?), Matt Langwell (3) and finally Preston Guilmet (2) combined to allow one earned run on six hits over 13 innings, striking out 10.

Already having used four pitchers for multiple innings each in the first game, the Aeros quickly called up right-handed pitcher Mason Radeke from Lake County to make the roughly 45-minute drive to Akron as a precaution. He made it in time for the first pitch of the second game.

He wasn’t needed. The entire bullpen wasn’t needed.

T.J. McFarland (4-1, 2.22 ERA) threw all seven innings in another solid outing, allowing two earned runs on seven hits in a shortened complete game.

McFarland did his manager a service by not making him reach into an already thin bullpen.

“I talked with [pitching coach Tony Arnold] during the first game because at that point, you really kinda take it inning by inning and use your bullpen as effectively as you can,” Tremie said. “For those guys to combine to pitch so well and then T.J. to last seven innings, that’s huge.”

It was close — extra innings almost came around again.

McFarland entered the top of the seventh with a 2-1 lead, but allowed three hits and the tying run to cross the plate. With the game tied, Altoona had runners on first and second. McFarland relied on his sinker and got a groundball double-play and another groundout to end the inning.

In the bottom of the seventh, a couple of walks and a Goedert single loaded the bases with one out. Chun Chen grounded out to bring up Kyle Bellows.

With extra innings again staring each manager in the face, pitcher Duke Welker threw his 2-2 offering by Bellows’ head and to the backstop. Rohlinger, as he had 2½ hours earlier, crossed the plate as the game-winning run — although this time he was able to do so standing.

Afterward, Rohlinger—like most in the clubhouse—was more tired than excited.

“It was a long couple of games and I think everyone’s tired, ready to get out of here,” Rohlinger said. “I can’t remember any double-headers where I ever scored two game-winning runs. I’m excited, because it means I did something. It feels nice to get my uniform dirty.”

Ryan Lewis can be reached at rlewis@thebeaconjournal.com. Read the high school blog atwww.ohio.com/preps. Follow him on Twitter at http://twitter.com/RyanLewisABJ and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/sports.abj.