(PR) (Akron, OH) – Mikey O’Brien allowed only one hit over 6.2 shutout innings and combined with Graham Stoneburner on a three-hitter as the Trenton Thunder beat the Akron Aeros, 6-1, Friday night at Canal Park. The win, coupled with a loss by New Britain, lowered the Thunder’s (75-57) magic number for clinching a playoff berth to four and for clinching the Eastern Division to six (Reading remained 5.0 games behind in second place).
Trenton came within one strike of its second straight shutout, before a home run by Jesus Aguliar against Stoneburner gave Akron its first run in 18 innings during the series. O’Brien (5-6) snapped an 11-start winless streak as he earned a victory for the first time since June 13. He walked three and fanned five and retired the first 11 he faced before Thomas Neal’s fourth-inning double.
Luke Murton collected three of Trenton’s 12 hits, including a double in the second against Akron starter Paolo Espino (7-3) that led to the first run of the game. After David Adams’ RBI double in the fourth made the score 2-0, Murton struck again in the sixth, this time with a two-run triple to right field on an 0-2 pitch. It was only his second triple of the season.
Stoneburner threw the final 2.1 innings and allowed two hits, but did retire his older brother Davis on a ground ball to third baseman Adams in the eighth inning. It was the first time the Stoneburner brothers had ever faced each other in a game. Adams made a diving play to record the out.
The teams continue the series on Saturday night at 7:05 pm, with left-hander Shaeffer Hall (9-6, 3.46) expected to start for Trenton while Akron counters with lefty T.J. House (7-4, 3.72). Radio coverage on 91.3 FM (WTSR) and also streaming online begins at 6:50 pm.