Akron, OH - Will Roberts and the rest of the Akron Aeros clearly came out ready to play on Saturday night against the Richmond Flying Squirrels.
Roberts picked up his seventh win with a stellar effort over 7 1/3 innings, and the Aeros backed him up with seven early runs in a 7-4 victory over the Squirrels at Canal Park.
The Aeros (53-54) have won two of the first three games of the series with the wrap-up to come on Sunday afternoon at 2:05. The Aeros remained 6 ½ games behind first-place Harrisburg, who defeated Portland Saturday, but gained a half-game on second-place Erie, who was rained out at home against Bowie. The Aeros are just three games out of the second-place wild-card spot.
The game quickly swung Akron's way when the Aeros scored four runs in the second inning against Richmond starter Craig Westcott (4-10). Jake Lowery had the big hit among the Aeros five hits in the inning when he stroked a two-run single to right. Matt Lawson added a sacrifice fly, and Francisco Lindor an RBI single, as the Aeros jumped to a 4-0 lead.
They made it 7-0 with three more in the fourth. Lowery led off with a triple, and Lawson, Ronny Rodriguez, and Cedric Hunter all chipped in RBI singles.
Roberts (7-7) became the first Aeros starter to record an out in the eighth inning, as he worked a team-high 7 1/3 innings. After throwing shutout baseball with no walks and four strikeouts for the first seven innings, he gave up a hit and walk to start the eighth. He induced a fielder's choice grounder before being lifted in favor of righthander Austin Adams.
Both inherited runners scored against Adams, plus two more to make it 7-4. Javier Herrera belted a two-run double to breathe life back into the Richmond dugout.
Akron called on Jose Flores to pitch the ninth. Making his league-high 44th appearance, Flores retired the side in order, fanning the final two batters to record his 11th save in 12 chances.
Every Areos batter had at least one hit in the 11-hit attack. The Aeros also displayed airtight defense in the game, Lindor and Ridriguez each took hits away up the middle, and third baseman Giovanny Urshela made a terrific play on a slow bouncer at third in the seventh, nipping Adrew Susac at first base
The Aeros and Squirrels (49-58) will meet in the final game of the series on Sunday afternoon at 2:05. LHP Edwin Escobar (1-2, 4.32) will make the start for Richmond, while RHP Paolo Espino (2-4, 6.03) is the expected starter for Akron. The game will be broadcast live on Fox Sports 1350 AM, and online at www.sportsradio1350.com. For more information, please call the Aeros at 330-253-5151. Follow the team on Twitter @akronaeros or on Facebook at facebook.com/theakronaeros.
Sunday's Promotions: Kids Run the Show! Kids from Orbits Future Stars Kids Club will partake as PA announcer, onfield host, first pitch, honorary manager, and playball kid. Sunday will also feature a Kids Candy Drop: 5,000 pieces of candy will be distributed to the kids; the field will be divided into three sections for kids by age. It's also a Sunday Family FUNday! Activities include: Pre-game family catch on the field, Akron Children's Hospital Pre-Game Healthy Walk Around the Warning Track, Smith Dairy Postgame Kids Run the Bases, and player autographs.