CURVE, Pa. - The top three hitters in the Akron Aeros lineup went 7-for-12 with three runs driven in, Aeros pitchers combined to strike out 12 Curve batters, and Akron opened a three-game series with a 5-1 win over the Altoona Curve Monday night at Peoples Natural Gas Field.
Soto efficiently silenced Altoona's bats over his five innings of work, facing just one over the minimum through three and allowing only one run in the third inning. The left-hander struck out the side in the second inning and issued just two free passes on his night, even coming back for two innings of work after a 32-minute rain delay hit after the leadoff man walked against Soto in the fourth.
Curve starter Aaron Pribanic wasn't quite so fortunate in his season debut. The right-hander walked a career-high six over three and one-third innings though did an admirable job limiting damage. Pribanic allowed three runs, just one earned, on four hits over his evening, striking out four but failing to make it out of the fourth.
Akron got onto the board with a three-run second aided by three hits, two singles, an error, and a wild pitch. Tim Fedroff and Juan Diaz each batted in runs, and the Aeros led 3-0 after the frame.
Altoona was unable to muster much of any offense against Soto, scratching their lone run in the fourth inning. After Brock Holt's leadoff walk and the rain delay, Holt swiped second and came home on a two-out RBI single by Andrew Lambo to cut Akron's advantage to 3-1 at the time.
Following Pribanic's departure, Matt McSwain held the line through the sixth, but the Aeros got on reliever Vic Black for two more runs in the seventh, again aided by a wild pitch and two errors in the inning.
Behind Soto, Jose De La Torre and Bryan Price combined to allow just one hit, strike out six, and walk just one man in four innings of work.