Baby Bombers Playoff Blog: Sept. 11

Trenton drops Game 1 of ELCS to Akron
09/11/2012 9:42 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro
The Trenton Thunder head into Game 2 of the Eastern League Championship Series in the same position they found themselves in prior to Game 2 of their first-round series: in an 0-1 hole.

Behind seven shutout innings by starter Paolo Espino, the Akron Aeros defeated Trenton 3-0 at Canal Park in Akron Tuesday night to take Game 1 of the ELCS and end the Thunder’s three-game winning streak.

For the second straight series opener, Trenton was unable to muster much offense behind Eastern League wins leader Brett Marshall (0-2), who allowed three runs on six hits over six innings and was done in by his own wildness. Espino was wild himself, allowing four walks and hitting one batter in his seven innings, but he allowed just two hits to the Thunder and was able to escape the only jam he found himself in.

That lone chance for Trenton came in the fourth inning, when David Adams led off with a walk and Zoilo Almonte grounded into a fielder’s choice that forced Adams at second. Espino then hit Addison Maruszak with a pitch and walked J.R. Murphy to load the bases, but he recovered to strike out Tyler Austin and then got Kevin Mahoney to pop out to end the inning.

Akron then struck in the bottom of the frame, putting the first two runners on when Marshall allowed back-to-back singles to Tyler Holt and Chun-Hsiu Chen. A pair of wild pitches in between a Jesus Aguilar strikeout allowed Holt to score and Chen to move to third, and a sacrifice fly by Matt Lawson made it 2-0 Akron.

The Aeros got an insurance run off Marshall in the sixth thanks to back-to-back extra base hits by Holt and Chen, and then loaded the bases in the eighth against David Aarsdma before the rehabbing Major Leaguer struck out Chen and got Aguilar to ground into a 6-4-3 double play to escape the inning.

Trenton, meanwhile, got next to nothing after their one big flurry, with David Adams’ sixth-inning single and a ninth-inning base hit by Maruszak the only offense they could manage off Espino, Shawn Armstrong, and Preston Guilmet (S, 3) in the final five frames.

Game 2 will be Wednesday night, with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m., and as the series shifts back to New Jersey for Games 3-5, it will be Akron’s final home game of 2012. Trenton’s starter will be lefty Shaeffer Hall, who was 9-10 with a 3.67 ERA during the regular season and pitched 5.2 innings of shutout ball in Game 2 of the Thunder’s first-round series against Reading, and Akron will counter with righty Danny Salazar, who was 4-0 with a 1.85 ERA in six regular-season starts for the Aeros and took a No-Decision in Game 3 of their first-round series against Bowie.

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