Early Offense Propels Curve to Series Win in Trenton
TRENTON, N.J. - The Altoona Curve pulled away with seven runs over the fourth and fifth innings and held off a late charge by the Trenton Thunder for a 9-7 win on Thursday night at ARM & HAMMER Park.
The Curve (61-51) won two of three games in the road series against the Thunder (64-51), closing back within three runs of first-place Akron in the Western Division standings.
Trailing 2-1 in the top of the fourth, Logan Hill drove a two-run homer to give the Curve the lead against Trenton starter Trevor Stephan (Loss, 2-8). Later in the inning, Ke'Bryan Hayes drove in a run with a double to extend the lead to 4-2.
In the fifth, Bryan Reynolds scored on a wild pitch by Thunder reliever Phillip Diehl, and Hill followed with a two-run double. Cole Tucker capped the four-run inning with a sacrifice fly as the Curve opened an 8-2 lead.
Curve starter Eduardo Vera (Win, 6-3) allowed two runs over his six innings with no walks and five strikeouts. Bret Helton followed with two scoreless relief innings.
In the top of the ninth inning, Tucker extended the lead to 9-2 with an RBI single.
Trenton closed the gap in the bottom of the ninth inning. Reliever Sean Keselica walked the first three batters he faced to load the bases before Ricky Surum brought in a run with a sacrifice fly. Bruce Caldwell brought in a run with a single and Mandy Alvarez worked a bases-loaded walk to bring the Thunder within four runs.
With the potential tying run at the plate, Matt Eckelman (Save, 6) entered and struck out Trey Amburgey for the second out, but Rashad Crawford single in two runs to close the score to 9-7.
Eckelman worked a game-ending pop out from Wendell Rijo, stranding runners on second and third to end the game.
Trenton opened the scoring in the first inning with a two-out double by Amburgey.
The Curve tied the score at 1-1 in the top of the third inning with a run-scoring groundout by Hayes, but Trenton moved back in front, 2-1, on a double by Wagner.
In the loss, Stephen allowed a career-high seven runs over four innings.
Hill finished the game 2-for-5 with a homer, a double and a season-high four RBIs. Reynolds and Tucker each had three hits.
The Curve won their first regular-season series in Trenton since 2014 and remained three games ahead of Harrisburg for the division's wild card spot.
The Curve return home on Friday to open a series against the Erie SeaWolves. Right-hander James Marvel is scheduled to start for Altoona in his Double-A debut. First pitch is scheduled for 7 p.m. at Peoples Natural Gas Field.
Friday night's game will be followed with a spectacular fireworks show. The first 500 fans will take home a Curve Tote Bag, presented by Home Helpers. The ballpark gates open at 6 p.m. For tickets or more information, visit AltoonaCurve.com, call 877.99.CURVE or stop by the PNG Field box office.
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