Akron first baseman Jesus Aguilar drove in the go-ahead run with a single to right field in the top of the ninth inning Thursday, setting the stage for Akron's 5-4 win over the Reading Fightin' Phils at First Energy Stadium.
It was definitely Aguilar's night in the series opener against the Phils (13-19). He finished 4-5, with a home run and three RBI. It was his first four-hit game of the year, and raised his RBI total to 30, which tops the Eastern League.
The Aeros (17-17) trailed 4-3 entering the ninth inning, but quickly mounted a threat against Reading closer Kyle Simon (0-1). Giovanny Urshela and Tyler Holt led off with singles and moved up on a sacrifice bunt by Justin Toole. After an intentional walk to Chun Chen to load the bases, Simon tossed a wild pitch to score Urshela to tie the game. Aguilar then laced a solid single to right to chase home Holt for a 5-4 lead.
Akron righthander Jose Flores retired the Phils in order in the bottom of the ninth for his fourth save. He also saved Wednesday's game against Erie, and has converted all four of his save chances on the season.
It was the first ninth inning comeback for the Aeros this season. Prior to Thursday, Akron was 0-15 when trailing after eight innings.
The Aeros trailed 4-2 going to the eighth, but a double by Chen and an RBI single by Quincy Latimore made it a one-run game.
The comeback made a winner of righthander Trey Haley, who tossed two impressive innings of relief. Haley (1-0) fanned the first five batters he faced in the seventh and eighth innings. He walked one and did not give up a hit.
Paolo Espino started for the Aeros and pitched well during his six innings in the game. He allowed just six hits, but two of those were two-run homers. Cameron Rupp's blast to center in the second made it 2-1, and Derek Mitchell's drive to left in the fourth made it 4-2. Other than those two mistake pitches, Espino was sharp. He walked two and struck out a season-high eight batters.
Aguilar gave the Aeros a 1-0 lead in the first with an RBI single off reading starter Jesse Biddle. He then launched a solo homer off Biddle with one out in the top of the fourth. It was Aguilar's third of the season.
The Aeros have now won six of their last eight road games, and are back at the .500-mark. Erie defeated Bowie Thursday night, leaving the Aeros four games out in the EL West.
The Aeros and Fightin' Phils will play game two of the series on Friday night at 7:05. RHP Jordan Cooper (1-0, 1.13) will start for Akron, while RHP Seth Rosin (1-3, 3.24) will make the start for Reading.