Akron sent 10 batters to the plate and scored five times during a fourth-inning rally Wednesday night, mustering all the offense needed to beat the Portland SeaDogs, 5-3, at Hadlock Field.
Trailing 1-0, the first six Aeros batters in the top of the fourth inning collected singles off Portland's Mike MacDonald (1-2). Adam Abraham had the key blow, a two-run, bases-loaded single to center field to make it 2-1. Nick Weglarz added an RBI single, and Ryan Rohlinger and Justin Toole added RBI groundouts to finish off the frame with a 5-1 Aeros lead.
Other than the fourth inning outburst, the Aeros only had one hit in the other eight innings combined.
Portland (49-62) scored a run in the fifth off Aeros starter Paolo Espino to make it 5-2. It stayed that way till the ninth when Akron closer Preston Guilmet entered the game.
The Sea Dogs immediately registered three hits and a run to make it 5-3, and had runners on first and second with one out. With Kolbrin Vitek batting, Guilmet induced a 6-4-3 double play to short-circuit the comeback attempt and seal the win. It was Guilmet's 19th save of the year, tops in the Eastern League.
Espino (6-2) worked the first six innings and struck out a career-high 11 batters. He scattered four hits and two runs, while walking only two. Espino's 11 strikeouts are the most by an Aeros pitcher this year. It was his sixth straight winning decision. Espino has not suffered a loss since June 2nd, a string of 11 straight starts.
Rob Bryson chipped in two scoreless innings in the seventh and eighth, striking out two more Sea Dogs hitters.
The Aeros (66-44) snapped a two-game losing streak, and evened the series at a game apiece. Thomas Neal collected two hits for the Aeros, raising his average to .314.
The game started 16 minutes late due to an early rain shower. Once play began, no other delays took place.
The Aeros and Sea Dogs will play the rubber game of the series on Thursday afternoon at 12:00. LHP T.J. House (6-2, 3.65) will go for Akron, while the Sea Dogs will counter with LHP Drake Britton (2-3, 4.75).