Akron RubberDucks

Rock Cats Outlast Aeros for 9-6 Win

August 7, 2009 - Eastern League (EL1)
Akron RubberDucks News Release

AKRON, OH - It was an unwelcoming entrance to Double-A for Eric Berger, as the New Britain Rock Cats rocked the new Aeros left-hander for 13 of their 16 hits en route to a 9-6 victory before 6,761 fans at Canal Park Friday night. Akron (70-43) lost for just the second time in 11 games despite getting the potential tying run to the plate in the bottom of the ninth, while the Rock Cats improved to 55-57.

New Britain got to Berger for a run in the first on a two-out RBI double by Luke Hughes, and added three more in the second. Toby Gardenhire and Brian Dinkleman opened the frame with singles, and Steve Singleton scored them both with a two-run triple. Brandon Roberts then followed with an RBI base hit of his own, giving New Britain a 4-0 lead.

The Aeros answered with a run in the bottom of the third but would have argued that they should have scored twice. Carlos Santana was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to make it 4-1, and Beau Mills followed with a fly ball to shallow center field. Akron manager Mike Sarbaugh elected to send speedster Jose Constanza from third base and try to score, and while it looked like Constanza made it in safely umpire Scott Mahoney ruled that he missed home plate and ruled Constanza out, ending the inning on a bizarre double play and leading to Sarbaugh's ejection.

The Rock Cats got the run back in the top of the fourth to make it 5-1, but Akron rallied with two runs in the bottom half of the inning. Jerad Head reached on an error to start the inning, Jared Goedert doubled him to third two batters later, and Cristo Arnal brought the Aeros to within 5-3 with a two-run single back up the middle.

Four runs in the sixth gave New Britain an insurmountable lead however, as a triple and two singles made it 6-3 before Berger departed with runners at first and second and two away. Carlton Smith then came on in relief and wild pitched the runners to second and third before Carlos Rivero bobbled Hughes' grounder for an error to score a run and extend the inning. The Rock Cats took advantage of the miscues with back-to-back RBI singles from Erik Lis and Gardenhire to push the margin to 9-3.

Akron made things interesting in the bottom of the seventh, as Cats reliever Carlos Gutierrez allowed two walks and a single to load the bases with no one out. Mills then laced a two-run double to left-center to make it 9-5, but Gutierrez got Head on a shallow fly to center for the key first out. Rivero cut it to three runs with an RBI groundout, but Goedert struck out as the potential tying run to end the inning. Akron mounted one final charge in the ninth as Mills doubled with one out and Head followed with a bloop single, but Rivero flied out and pinch-hitter Nick Weglarz struck out looking to end the contest.

Mullins improved to 8-10 with the victory, earning a quality start while holding Akron to six hits and three runs (one earned) in six innings. Berger (0-1) took the loss in his debut in allowing eight runs (five earned) and 13 hits, the most permitted by an Aeros pitcher this season. Anthony Slama earned his 24th save by getting the final five outs, tying injured Akron closer Vinnie Pestano for the league lead. Mills finished 3-5 with two RBI for his team-leading 34th multi-hit game, but Santana's 14-game hit streak was snapped.

This three-game weekend set continues Saturday night at 7:05 p.m. at Canal Park for Aeros hacky-sack giveaway night, sponsored by the Akron-Canton Airport. All-Star Jeanmar Gomez (9-3, 3.27 ERA) looks to become the third pitcher in the Eastern League with 10 wins against New Britain's Deolis Guerra (4-1, 4.80 ERA). The game broadcast begins at 6:50 p.m. on SportsRadio 1350 AM and online at For more information, please call the Aeros at (330) 253-5151.

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