Game Notes & Quotes – 6/25

Senators 4, Aeros 1

Behind a composed and dominant Nate Karns, the Senators topped the Akron Aeros 4-1 in the middle game of their three-game set. Offensively, Jose Lozada’s second inning double, Ricky Hague’s moon blast onto the team store roof, and Sandy Leon’s insurance double paced the Senators.

* Karns was easily the star of the game as he kept the ball down for most of the night (eight ground balls and three double plays) and elevated the ball when he needed swings and misses. “I can’t say enough. Tonight was a quality outing for Nate,” manager Matt LeCroy said, “I think he’s starting to make some adjustments that when he gets another chance to go to the big leagues will make him a lot better than what he was.” Pitching coach Paul Menhart attributed his success to adjustments he’s made in recent bullpen sessions, “He singlehandedly tonight admitted that he made an honest effort to slow the game down, to slow his body down, to slow his effort down and to allow it to explode at the end. That’s the bottom line for him…He’s had sidelines this week that have been immaculate in that regard. Meaning he went out after it the correct way. He’s trusting that he doesn’t need to overthrow and he’s trying to gain feel. Feel that he dearly yearns for of last year. He wants to get that feeling back.”

* Prior to the game, Taylor Hill was officially called up after the right hander went 6-2 with a 2.99 ERA at High-A Potomac. “This is a promotion for this kid and he earned it,” pitching coach Paul Menhart said, “Hopefully he doesn’t change anything he did down there.” Hill gets the start tomorrow and the rest of the rotation just gets pushed back a day.

* Ricky Hague absolutely crushed a ball that answered the Aeros right back after they had tied the game. LeCroy pointed to the homer as the turning point of the game, “The momentum shifted to their advantage and then we got it right back. I think that was the big blow that allowed us to press on and end up finishing that ballgame.”

* Aaron Barrett worked a clean ninth inning to pick up his 15th save on the season which ties him for second-best in the Eastern League. The scoreless frame also pushed his ERA on the year under two to 1.97.

* The victory moved the Senators to .500 (20-20) at home.

* The final game of the series is tomorrow at noon and the Senators are looking to change their fortunes in early starts as they stand 1-5 in the morning day games. LeCroy sees it all as part of the development process, “The biggest thing for me is that they’re ready for the first pitch mentally. I think a lot of times for the morning games these kids don’t know yet what it takes to actually get mentally ready along with physically ready.”

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