Friday, December 13, 2013
By ERIC BARNES Special to the Press Herald
AKRON, Ohio - The Portland Sea Dogs fell to the Akron Aeros 5-1 on Wednesday night in the second game of a three-game series at Canal Park.
With the score 1-1, Akron took a two-run lead in the sixth against Portland, which had won six of its last eight games.
The Western Division-leading Aeros scored two runs each in the sixth and seventh innings, while at one point the Aeros retired 14 consecutive batters.
"Good pitching," Portland Manager Kevin Boles said. "(Aeros starter Paolo) Espina was terrific, and the different arms they showcased with (Shawn) Armstrong, (Jose) Flores and (Loek) Van Mil. Obviously they have different looks. All of them have quality stuff and their numbers speak for themselves. They pitched very well tonight."
Akron pitchers allowed four hits and struck out seven.
Two errors in the field and some questionable baserunning also contributed to the loss for the Sea Dogs, who fell to 54-63.
Portland scored in the first when Jeremy Hazelbaker doubled, then scored on a single by Bryce Brentz.
From that point it was a struggle for Portland at the plate.
Akron scored its first run in the third when Tyler Holt reached on an error by second baseman Zach Gentile. Chun Chen moved Holt to second with a single, and Chen and Holt advanced on a double steal. A soft grounder to second by Thomas Neal allowed Holt to score.
The game remained tied until the sixth, when Roberto Perez singled home Nick Weglarz to give Akron the lead.
Akron scored again when, after first baseman Travis Shaw of Portland forced out Ryan Rohlinger at home, catcher Christian Vazquez tried for the double play with the force at first and threw the ball into right field. That allowed Perez to score.
The Dogs had a chance in the seventh. Shaw walked and Peter Hissey singled to give Portland a chance with one out. But Shaw tagged up at second on a fly ball and hesitated just long enough for Holt to throw to second for a double play.
Despite the loss, the Sea Dogs have the opportunity to win the series Thursday night.
"Tomorrow's another day," Boles said. "I thought we pitched pretty well tonight. (Chris) Balcom-Miller had some tough luck; a few balls that got through. But I thought (Drake) Britton pitched really well. We didn't take care of the baseball. I thought we could have done a better job of taking care of the baseball behind him."
Britton pitched 5 1/3 innings for the loss. He allowed seven hits, struck out three and walked three.