ALTOONA- Despite a late comeback bid from Altoona, the Akron Aeros were able to secure their 12th win of the season 5-4.
Altoona started their late inning rally in the eighth off of Aeros pitcher Bryce Stowell.
After Stowell got Curve shortstop Drew Maggi to ground out to first baseman Chun Chen, centerfielder Mel Rojas doubled and gave Altoona their first base runner. Left fielder Matt Curry then hit an RBI single, scoring Rojas and cutting the deficit to 5-3. With one out and one on, Stowell stalled the rally by getting Curve third baseman Adalberto Santos to ground into a double play.
The Aeros weren't able to score and Stowell was back on for the ninth. Just as it happened in the eighth, first baseman Andrew Lambo grounded out to start the inning. Second baseman Jarek Cunningham then doubled, just as Rojas did in the inning before, bringing up the potential tying run in right fielder Alex Dickerson.
Dickerson helped the Altoona cause by knocking in an RBI single and closing the gap at 5-4. With a man on and a man out, Stowell shut the door on Altoona. Striking out pinch hitter Andy Vasquez and catcher Charles Cutler, Stowell secured his second save of the season and took himself and his team off of the hook.
Altoona scored runs late, but also got two in early off of Aeros starter Mike Rayl.
Rayl had a mediocre start for Akron. In just four innings of work, Rayl allowed five hits and two runs, while walking two. He was effective when he needed to be, but in a longer outing, the numbers could have looked much worse.
As for the Akron offense, they scored their runs in bunches.
In the top of the third, Akron got things started when catcher Jake Lowery smacked a double to the gap, putting a runner in scoring position with no outs. Second baseman Jose Ramirez then walked and was followed by center fielder Tyler Holt who flew out to center, but moved Ramirez to second and Lowery to third.
First baseman Chun-Hsiu Chen was the next hitter in the box, and thanks to a catching error from Cutler, Lowery scored and Ramirez went to third, giving the Aeros their first run of the evening. Chun was then hit by a pitch, giving the Aeros men on first and third with only one out.
After another error by Cutler on a Chen base-stealing attempt, Ramirez scored and Chun moved to third. Designated hitter Quincy Latimore then hit a double and scored Chen, giving the Aeros a 3-1 lead.
A Chen two-run home run gave the Aeros a 5-2 lead in the seventh, and thanks to Stowell, that was a lead they would not relinquish.
The Aeros move to 12-14 on the season, while the Curve fell to 11-15 after the Wednesday night loss.
The series with Altoona continues tomorrow morning, with the first pitch coming at 10:30 in the morning. Aeros starter Danny Salazar will face off against Curve pitcher Jameson Taillon.