ERIE, PA — For the second straight day, a left-handed starting pitcher threw seven scoreless innings at Jerry Uht Park Wednesday. Only this time, it came from the game’s other contingent.
Erie SeaWolves pitcher Jared Wesson pitched seven shutout innings en route to a 2-1 victory over the Akron Aeros. It was a reversal of fortune for the Aeros, who earned a win Tuesday behind seven scoreless frames from starter T.J. McFarland.
Akron fell to 23-14 but retained sole possession of first place in the Western Division of the Eastern League.
“Ya know, you gotta give them credit,” Akron Manager Chris Tremie said. “Their starter threw the ball well. Three-pitch mix and kept the ball down and did a nice job. We just didn’t have the best at-bats today.”
Akron’s first opportunity to get on the scoreboard came early. After Davis Stoneburner flew out to start the top of the first inning, Juan Diaz and Jared Goedert hit back-to-back singles for the Aeros. However, in what would become a common theme of the day, Wesson then recorded back-to-back strikeouts on Chun Chen and Adam Abraham, respectively, to strand the runners.
“We had a couple opportunities and many other times we come through with those hits and today just wasn’t our day,” Tremie said.
While the Aeros were unable to sustain any offense in the early going, the same could be said for the SeaWolves. Pressed into starting duty because of an injury to Steven Wright, Akron starter Brett Brach pitched four scoreless innings for the Aeros before being relieved by Rob Bryson in the fifth.
After getting the first two outs in the inning, Bryson encounter some trouble after he allowed a single and then walked the next two batters. However, he got Erie designated hitter Ben Guez to fly out to left field to end the inning and keep the tie intact.
The stalemate was finally broken in the bottom of the sixth after Erie left fielder Rawley Bishop hammered a ball to deep left field off Akron reliever Preston Guilmet, which gave Erie a 1-0 advantage. The SeaWolves added a second solo home run, this time off of right-hander Brian Price, in the eighth inning when first baseman Jordan Lennertown also hit a deep shot to left field.
“Brach did a nice job. Really all the pitchers did,” Tremie said. “Ya know, we gave up two solo home runs. They really threw the ball well. Two mistakes, and those guys hit the ball well, and it ended up being the difference in the game. We played good defense. We just couldn’t get the hit when we needed it.”
Akron’s last chance for a rally came in the top of the ninth inning. After Diaz led off the inning with strikeout, Goedert lined a single to center field to give the Aeros a one-out base runner. Chen was then hit by a pitch to give Akron runners on first and second. Aeros designated hitter Adam Abraham then struck out before Thomas Neal blooped a single to left field, which allowed Geodert to score and cut Erie’s lead to 2-1.
However, Erie pitcher Michael Morrison then got Kyle Bellows to ground out to record his fourth save and silence any chance of an Aeros’ comeback.
A key to Erie’s strong performance was its pitching staff’s ability to throw strikes. Wesson threw 68 of his 94 pitches for strikes while 18 of Morrison’s 26 pitches were strikes.
“Always when a pitcher is throwing, whether it’s our pitcher, their pitcher, any pitcher, they’re trying to get ahead, and they get an advantage when they can do that. And (Wesson) did a nice job today of doing that. We just didn’t swing the bats real well,” Tremie said.
One positive for the Aeros was the performance of Jared Goedert. The left fielder continued his tear on the Eastern League as he finished 3-for-4 with a triple and two singles. With his performance, his average moved to .395.
“(He has) great at-bats. I mean, just look at his numbers, they’re phenomenal. And it’s day in and day out. It’s not like he’s streaky and hot one day and cold the next or hot one week and cold the next. He’s consistent everyday with giving good at bats and his approach is great, and he’s a good hitter,” Tremie said.
Aside from Goedert’s three hits, the Aeros mustered just two hits in the contest.