Friday, September 08, 2006

Aeros push Curve to brink of elimination with 12-0 win

AKRON, OH   The Akron Aeros delivered an early knockout punch to the Curve in Game Two of the E.L. Southern Division Playoff Series Thursday night in Akron, scoring eleven times in the first inning en route to a 12-0 shutout victory. Altoona has dropped the first two games of the best-of-five series, allowing 24 total runs in the losses.

Josh Shortslef entered his start against the Aeros on Thursday with a 1-0 record against the Southern Division champs and no earned runs allowed in six innings. He left the game after recording just two outs and allowing eight earned runs on seven hits.

The left-hander lost for just the third time in 2006, and the early meltdown marked just the second time all season he allowed an earned run in the first inning.

Akron scored all of their first-inning runs with two outs, and used nine hits and three walks to take a strangle hold on the game in just their first at-bat. Jared Sandberg ripped a three-run homer after a walk by Brandon Pinckney and a single by Ryan Goleski to make it 4-0.

Following base hits by the next four batters, Shortslef was taken out of the game in favor of reliever Chris Hernandez. The right-hander walked the first two Aeros he faced, then surrendered a grand slam to Brian Barton to make it 11-0.

The Curve never seriously threatened in the ball game, spreading out nine hits during the contest, but placing only six runners in scoring position.

Southpaw Aaron Laffey picked up the victory, throwing six shutout innings and racking up nine strikeouts.
Javier Guzman was the only Curve player with a multi-hit game, finishing 4-for-5 with a double, the only extra base hit for Altoona. Neil Walker was one of five other Curve players with a hit, joined by Brian Bixler, Pedro Powell, Brett Roneberg, Octavio Martinez.

The Curve used a total of six pitchers, and kept the Aeros off the scoreboard after allowing the big first inning, giving up just two Akron hits in their last seven at-bats.

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