Mills Does it All as Aeros Sweep R-Phils
Mills went right to work in the top of the first off surprise Phillies starter Clay Condrey, down from Philadelphia on a Major League rehab assignment. Condrey retired the first two hitters of the game, but Carlos Santana extended the inning with a base hit and Mills followed with a two-run homer to right-center to put the Aeros in front. Mills then made sure the lead would stand up in the bottom of the inning, as Akron starter Eric Berger allowed two singles within the first three hitters. Cleanup hitter Kevin Mahar then shot a line drive down the right field line, but Mills dove to his left to snare it before scrambling to the bag to double off Michael Taylor and end the inning.
Scheduled starter Mike Cisco took over for Reading in the second and retired the side in order, but surrendered two runs in the top of the third. Jose Constanza singled with one down and scored all the way from first on an RBI double by Josh Rodriguez, and Mills then made it 4-0 with an RBI two-bagger down the left field line.
Akron exploded for three runs in the top of the fourth as Lonnie Chisenhall scored on an error, Jerad Head drove in his eighth run of the series with a double to plate Carlos Rivero, and John Drennen scored on a wild pitch to put the Aeros ahead 7-0.
Reading got two runs back in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI groundout by Mahar and an RBI single from Neil Sellers, and then threatened in the seventh only to strand runners at second and third.
The Aeros officially put the game out of reach in the eighth, as Drennen and Head opened the inning with base hits. Constanza advanced both runners with a sacrifice bunt, and Rodriguez followed with a two-run single to make it 9-2. The Phillies added their final run in the bottom of the eighth on an RBI groundout by Michael Taylor, and Erik Stiller worked a perfect bottom of the ninth to end it, with Drennen putting away pinch-hitter Steve Susdorf’s fly ball to right for the final out.
Eric Berger (1-0) earned the win for Akron with five solid innings, allowing just two runs (one earned) on four hits. He did not walk a batter, and set a personal-high at the Double-A level with eight strikeouts. Condrey (0-1) took the loss for Reading, as the Aeros led for the final 23 innings of this series. Mills paced the offense in finishing 2-4 with a double, a homer, and three RBI while also reaching base four times overall. Drennen went 3-5 and scored twice, Rodriguez had a pair of hits and three RBI, while Chisenhall and Head also finished with two hits. Eight Aeros scored a run in the game, and Akron outscored the Phillies 24-9 in the series and outhit them 38-21.
The Aeros will now await the winner of the Northern Division Championship Series between Connecticut and New Britain. Game four in that best-of-five series is set for 6:35 p.m. Sunday night at New Britain, and Connecticut leads the series 2-1.The Eastern League Championship Series is tentatively scheduled to begin Tuesday evening at the Northern Division winner.
Scrappers to Play Staten Island in Championship
The Staten Island Yankees defeated the Lowell Spinners Saturday evening to win their semi-final playoff series two games to one. Game one of the New York Penn League Championship Series will be played in Staten Island Monday at 7pm and game two will be played at Eastwood Field Tuesday at 7:05pm. The Scrappers also could host game three Wednesday at 7:05pm if necessary.