MANCHESTER, NH – The host New Hampshire Fisher Cats led early Tuesday night and recaptured the lead late for a 6-3 victory over the Aeros. Catcher Brian Jeroloman broke a 2-2 tie in the bottom of the sixth with an RBI single in front of the 6,371 fans at Merchantsauto.com Stadium and third baseman Shawn Bowman followed an inning later with a two-run homer to left. After winning a franchise-record 12 consecutive games, Akron (32-32) has now lost two straight while New Hampshire (40-25) remains a half game behind first place in the Eastern Division.
The Cats got on the scoreboard in the very first inning against Aeros starter Scott Barnes, who shutout the team last Wednesday at Canal Park. Darin Mastroianni and Manny Mayorson began the game with a walk and a single and DH Eric Thames followed with a run-scoring single to right-center. That would be the only offense until the fifth inning as Barnes and New Hampshire starter B.J. LaMura controlled any potential damage.
Akron DH Jerad Head then tied the game with a solo homer on just the second pitch of the fifth inning against LaMura. The 1-1 score would not remain for long as the Fisher Cats responded quickly on a Mastroianni RBI single to score Danny Perales.
Reliever Adrian Martin replaced LaMura to begin the sixth, but faced the exact same result as he permitted a first-pitch homer to second baseman Jason Kipnis. That would finally wake up the New Hampshire offense, as three straight singles against Barnes loaded the bases for the clutch two-run base hit from Jeroloman to extend the lead to 4-2.
The Aeros threatened again in the seventh inning as the team loaded the bases with just one out in the frame. Newcomer Jordan Henry then grounded out to second, scoring Head while Kipnis struck out to end the rally. The hosts ended any potential drama by responding in the bottom half of that inning thanks to the two-run homer by Bowman against Akron reliever Bryan Price.
Barnes (2-6) took the loss for the Aeros in permitting the first four runs of the contest in 5.2 innings pitched. Martin (2-1) officially blew a save by allowing the tying run in the sixth, but eventually earned the win thanks to the Fisher Cats offensive comeback. Closer Danny Farquhar then earned his league-leading 15th save with a shutout one-hit ninth.
Catcher Damaso Espino recorded three singles on the night and the home runs were the second and first for Head and Kipnis in Double-A this season, respectively. Shortstop Carlos Rivero also finished with two hits and third baseman Lonnie Chisenhall’s eight-game hitting streak ended as he finished 0-for-4.
This three-game series continues Wednesday night at Merchantsauto.com Stadium where the Aeros look to jump back above .500 for the season. Left-hander Eric Berger (3-4, 5.65 ERA) makes the start for Akron against highly touted New Hampshire pitching prospect Kyle Drabek (7-5, 3.24 ERA). Join Ken Carman for Wednesday night’s game broadcast, beginning at 6:50 p.m. on Fox Sports 1350 AM and at www.akronaeros.com. For more information, please call the Aeros at (330) 253-5151.