Rodriguez was plagued by the long ball from the start. A leadoff home run by Will Benson gave Akron the lead before Erie had the chance to bat, and two more homers by Steven Kwan and Richie Palacios in the third inning made for four runs from Akron.
Erie was able to rely on Rodriguez to reach the fifth inning, but went to the bullpen during the sixth inning. Chavez Fernander and Cale Coshow combined to keep Akron scoreless until the ninth inning. When Erie had cut the Akron lead to just one run, Akron responded by plating a run against Coshow in the ninth when Steven Kwan doubled.
Joe Navilhon finished the game for Erie on the mound, striking out a pair in the ninth inning to strand two runners.
Situational hitting was an issue for the Erie offense. They got the leadoff batter on base in four consecutive innings starting in the second, but could only score one run early. Kerry Carpenter doubled in the fourth inning for the early run. Akron starter Cody Morris only lasted 3.2 innings, but three relievers combined to keep Erie from scoring again until the eighth inning.
Lester doubled in a pair of runs in the eighth inning to provide a spark to the Erie offense, cutting the deficit to just one run. In the ninth, Erie drew two leadoff walks to place the tying run on first base, but went down in order to follow and end the game.
Erie continues their series with Akron on Wednesday at UPMC Park. It will be another Bark at the Park for four-legged friends, as fans can bring well-behaved, leashed dogs to the game. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.