AKRON, Ohio – The Portland Sea Dogs failed to hold a three-run lead as the Akron Aeros rallied for a 4-3 victory Friday night in the opener of a three-game Eastern League series before 5,970 at Canal Park.

Aeros catcher Damaso Espino singled to right field to score Jerad Head in the eighth inning and break a 3-3 tie. Head started the rally with a one-out single.

The victory was the 11th in a row for the Aeros and ended the Sea Dogs’ three-game winning streak.

Portland was in control until a disputed call in the sixth inning led to the ejection of Sea Dogs starters Anthony Rizzo and Che-Hsuan Lin.

Rizzo hit a drive high off the wall in center field and pulled into second base, but he and the Sea Dogs’ coaches argued the ball hit above the yellow line on a higher wall placed directly behind the home-run fence and should have been ruled a home run.

“I knew I hit it pretty good and ran as hard as I could out of the batter’s box,” Rizzo said. “I heard a loud noise from the outfield. I heard the ball hit some metal or aluminum. It did not hit a padded wall.”


Rizzo was ejected moments later after Akron pulled starter Kelvin De La Cruz and brought in right-hander Bryan Price.

“I asked the umpire to get some help from another umpire, but he did not,” Rizzo said. “This is the first game I have been ejected from. I don’t lose my temper.

“The position players for the other team were laughing and basically giving me that look like, ‘you just got robbed, man.’“

Lin was tossed before the start of the bottom of the sixth after he bounced a ball off the higher wall in an attempt to show the umpires the difference in the sound of a ball hitting each wall.

Patience at the plate paid off in the first inning for the Sea Dogs, who scored three runs with just one hit. De La Cruz struggled with his control and walked three, and the Sea Dogs benefited from an error that made all three runs unearned.

Nate Spears walked, Lin reached on an error and Ray Chang walked to load the bases. Luis Exposito walked to force in Spears, Yamaico Navarro scored Lin with a sacrifice fly and Chih-Hsien Chiang drove in Chang with a single to make the score 3-0.


Sea Dogs starter Casey Kelly worked five innings and allowed five hits and one earned run. He struck out five and walked one.

“It is just one of those games,” said Kelly. “We will try and forget about it and move onto the next day.”

The Aeros tied the game in the seventh inning with three consecutive hits. Adam Davis and Espino led off with singles and Tim Fedroff scored Davis with a double to right field.

Tommy Hottovy took the loss, allowing seven hits and three earned runs in 21/3 innings.


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