? Drama Unfolds… Ray Chang delivered a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the 10th inning Friday night to give the Portland Sea Dogs the 8-7 victory over the Aeros in the opener of their three-game series at Hadlock Field. Akron struck early for two runs in the first and the Sea Dogs then responded to take a short-lived 4-2 lead in the third. Second baseman Jason Kipnis smashed a two-run homer in the fourth to give the Aeros a 5-4 advantage but Portland scored in each of their next three attempts. In the eighth inning, a double by Akron left fielder Tim Fedroff and a throwing error scored Jerad Head and Fedroff later scored on a groundout to tie the score. Chang then plated Che-Hsuan Lin with two outs in the tenth against Aeros reliever Omar Aguilar (1-2), who took the loss while Portland’s Bryce Cox (1-4) earned the win by battling back after the rough eighth inning.
? I’m All Wright… The only Aero pitcher to have much success Friday night was right-handed reliever Steven Wright. The Akron veteran retired all six batters he faced during the seventh and eighth innings along with a pair of strikeouts. It was Wright’s most dominant relief appearance of the season as the 25-year-old California native now has a 5.23 ERA with the Aeros in 2010. He also now has a 14-3 record and a 3.50 ERA in 65 combined outings (20 starts) over the past three seasons in Double-A.
? Tar Heel Tim… Fedroff has been heating up over the past few contests as the University of North Carolina product recorded his team-leading 18th multi-hit game of the season with a pair of doubles Friday night. He now has a modest four-game hitting streak after collecting a rough .186 (24-129) batting average over his previous 34 contests. The 23-year-old recently moved down to the bottom of the batting order and shifted defensively over to left field with the recent arrival of center fielder Jordan Henry.
? Father of the Bride… Overshadowed by the offensive showdown the past two nights, first baseman Matt McBride continues to perform well on the road. A third inning single helped him extend his amazing road on-base streak to 28 straight games. This includes all of his outings away from Canal Park during the 2010 season and remains the longest in Double-A baseball.
? Walk of Life… Friday’s contest was a second straight game where Akron pitchers struggled to find the strike zone consistently. After walking an average of just 3.3 batters over a stretch of 41 games before Thursday night, the Aeros have now permitted a total of 19 walks in the past two losses. The team is now second-to-last in the Eastern League with 264 walks allowed this year.
? Saturday Night Fever… Akron’s Alex White and Portland’s Stephen Fife, the starters for tonight’s game, engaged in a beautiful pitcher’s duel last week at Canal Park. Portland won 3-0 last Sunday as Fife brought a no-hitter into the sixth inning and earned the win with his six shutout frames. White took the loss but surrendered just one run in five innings with six strikeouts.
AEROS STAT OF THE NIGHT:
Portland’s Stephen Fife will be the ninth consecutive opposing right-handed starter against the Akron Aeros. The streak is expected to continue up to at least 13 games.