MANCHESTER, NH – Looking to avoid a third straight loss, the Aeros retaliated with a three-run seventh inning en route to a 4-1 win against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats Wednesday night. The crowd of 3,654 at Merchantsauto.com Stadium witnessed a beautiful pitching duel between Akron starter Eric Berger and New Hampshire’s Kyle Drabek through the first six frames until the Aeros struck for three unearned runs against Drabek. The win helped the Aeros jump up above .500 for the season at 33-32 while the second-place Fisher Cats dropped to 40-26 overall.
Berger continued his impressive pitching and limited the New Hampshire offense until a double to left by shortstop Manny Mayorson started the fourth inning. Two batters later, Shawn Bowman recorded the RBI with a single to left as well, giving the hosts a 1-0 lead.
The Aeros responded against Drabek shortly thereafter, as DH Jerad Head began the top of the fifth with a single to center and advanced to second on a groundout. Left fielder Tim Fedroff then scored Head to tie the score at 1-1 with a clutch base hit of his own to left.
The score remained even until the top of the seventh where Drabek allowed a single and a walk to start a quick one-out rally. Mayorson followed with an error at short on a Jordan Henry fielder’s choice, allowing catcher Miguel Perez to score as the go-ahead run. After two pitching changes and another walk, first baseman Matt McBride greeted reliever Tim Magnuson with a two-run single to left-center, providing the final margin of the night.
The Akron bullpen was tremendous as Chen-Chang Lee (4-3) earned the win with two shutout innings with one hit and a pair of strikeouts. New Hampshire’s Kyle Drabek (7-6) took the loss despite recapturing the Eastern League lead in both innings pitched and strikeouts for the season. Closer Bryce Stowell then recorded his fifth save for the visitors with four strikeouts over the final two frames. Berger was three outs shy of his third straight quality start, permitting the lone run on four hits with three K’s in five innings.
No single Aero finished with multiple hits on the night but the two-run single from McBride in the deciding seventh inning was the difference. Kipnis also walked twice and stole a base for the first time in his brief Double-A career.
The Aeros hope to improve to 5-0 in their five series in June with the rubber match Thursday night at Merchantsauto.com Stadium. First pitch will be at 7:05 p.m. and Akron will send lefty Kelvin De La Cruz (1-3, 5.35 ERA) to the mound against Ronald Uviedo (1-2, 3.06 ERA) of the Fisher Cats. Join Ken Carman for Thursday 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.