Beau Mills hit a two-run homer, Matt McBride a solo shot, and the Akron Aeros totaled 13 hits in a 7-2 win at Connecticut in Game 1 of the Eastern League Finals. Akron, in the best-of-five finals for the fifth straight year, is seeking its first title since 2005. The Aeros won the Southern Division by 14 games in the regular season and had a three-game sweep in the first round of the playoffs.
Mills connected for his second homer of the post-season in the fourth inning, giving Akron a 5-0 lead. McBride hit his first of the playoffs in the eighth.
Josh Tomlin, whose 14 wins during the regular season led the Eastern League, improved to 2-0 in post-season play. The right-hander allowed two runs and five hits over seven innings. He struck out seven without issuing a walk.
Steven Wright worked a hitless eighth inning and Neil Wagner pitched the ninth to complete the combined six-hitter.
John Drennen went 3-for-5 with a double and RBI, Mills was 2-for-5 with a double, McBride 3-for-4 with two runs, and Lonnie Chisenhall 2-for-5 with a run to lead Akron's offense.
Chisenhall doubled and eventually scored on a sacrifice fly by Jose Constanza to put Akron ahead, 1-0 in the second inning.
McBride singled with two outs in the third and took second on a single by Chisenhall. Carlos Rivero singled in McBride and Drennen singled home Chisenhall to make it 3-0.
League MVP Carlos Santana stroked a one-out single and scored on Mills' homer to right field for a 5-0 lead in the fourth.
The Aeros scored on an error in the seventh to go ahead, 6-1 and after the Defenders scored once in the bottom half, McBride lined his homer to left in the top of the eighth.
The Aeros lost to Trenton in the finals in 2007 and 2008 and fell to Portland in 2006 after winning the championship in 2005.