The Akron Aeros scored one run in the bottom of the seventh and eighth innings and put runners on first and second in the ninth with two outs, but couldn't overcome a Richmond three-run sixth inning as they lost game one of a four-game series against the Flying Squirrels 4-3 Thursday at Canal Park.
With an Akron loss and a Bowie loss, the Aeros (66-65) remain five and half games back of the Western Division Wild Card spot. Akron is now eight games back of first place Harrisburg with 11 games left to play.
Right-handed pitcher Brett Brach suffered the loss for Akron pitching 5.1 innings, allowing four runs (two earned) on seven hits, walking three and striking out four.
Left-handed pitcher Chuck Lofgren recorded the win against his former team tossing five innings, giving up one earned run on three hits, walking four and striking out four. Right-hander Heath Hembree got the last four outs to earn the save for the Flying Squirrels.
The game was scoreless until the top of the fourth inning when Francisco Peguero scored on a Wes Hodges sacrifice fly to give Richmond a 1-0 lead.
The Aeros answered in the bottom of the frame when Donnie Webb grounded into a force out that scored Kyle Bellows to tie the game 1-1.
In the top of the sixth inning, the Flying Squirrels (70-61) retook the lead. Francisco Peguero reached on a bunt single to open the frame. Following a strike out, Roger Kieschnick reached when Karexon Sanchez committed a throwing error trying to cut down the lead runner. Following a walk to load the bases, Johnny Monell doubled home Peguero and Kieschnick to give Richmond a 3-1 lead. They added a run on a Juan Perez RBI sacrifice fly to make it 4-1.
Akron scored a run in the bottom of the seventh inning on a Ben Copeland RBI ground out and one in the eighth on a Karexon Sanchez RBI single, but drew no closer as Richmond took the opener.
The Aeros and Flying Squirrels will continue their four-game series on Friday. Akron will give the ball to right-handed pitcher Steve Wright, who is 1-3 with a 5.40 ERA in 2011. He will face left-handed pitcher Eric Surkamp, who is 10-4 with a 2.02 ERA this season. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m.