Altoona Curve

Final 2023 Altoona Curve Game Notes

October 19, 2023 - Eastern League (EL)
Altoona Curve News Release

CELEBRATING 25 YEARS IN CURVE, PA: In the 25th year of baseball in Altoona, the Curve finished with a 67-68 record. It was the second time in three seasons following the cancelled 2020 campaign that the Curve finished their season exactly one game under .500. Peoples Natural Gas Field hosted 308,003 fans, an average of 4,597, in 67 openings. It was the highest attendance mark for the Curve since the 2019 season and it was the 12th time in 24 seasons of play that more than 300,000 fans came through the gates at PNG Field. The Curve stand at 1,699 wins in franchise history, setting up the potential 1,700th win on Opening Day in 2024.

OUR NEW LEADERS: Diamond Baseball Holdings (DBH) announced its intent to acquire the Curve from long-time owners Joan and Bob Lozinak on Wednesday, June 28. Mr. Bob and Ms. Joan brought the team to Altoona in 1999 and oversaw operations of the franchise for 18 of its 25 years of existance.

A HISTORIC NIGHT IN CURVE, PA: With RHP Paul Skenes making his Double-A debut on Saturday, August 26, the Curve welcomed the largest crowd in franchise history with 10,164 fans at Peoples Natural Gas Field. The attendance total surpassed the Pirates-Curve Exhibition game on March 30, 2013 (10,116) and is the largest crowd in the Eastern League since July 27, 2013 when the Portland Sea Dogs hosted the Harrisburg Senators in front of 16,674 fans at Fenway Park. It was the fourth time since 2005 that an Eastern League club has announced over 10,000 fans in a game at an Eastern League Park. Altoona won a wild back-and-forth affair with the RubberDucks after Skenes didn't make it out of the first inning. Matt Gorski picked up three hits, including a game-tying double in the ninth inning, Joe Perez reached in all five of his plate appearances (including hitting his 6th home run in 13 games with Altoona) and Carter Bins sent the record crowd home happy with a walk-off infield single that ricocheted off the pitcher with the bases loaded and two out in the ninth inning.

THE RECORDS THAT FELL: Altoona set their franchise record in several categories in 2023 including: Lowest Team Batting Average (.236), Fewest Triples (19), Most Stolen Bases (163), Fewest Saves (26), Most Hit by Pitch (Pitching, 88). 2023 was the second straight season that Altoona set their franchise record in stolen bases after picking up 162 swipes in 2022. On an individual basis, RHP Aaron Shortridge made 27 starts, tied for the most in a season with nine other pitchers. He also became the 5th Curve pitching in franchise history to win 5 games in a calendar month when he turned in a 1.91 ERA in the month of August. INF Tsung-Che Cheng matched the franchise record on July 5 against Erie with 4 Stolen Bases in a game, while Dylan Shockley matched the franchise record with four runners caught stealing on May 12 against Akron.

Additionally, the 2023 season also saw the Largest Margin of Victory and Largest Shutout Victory in franchise history on May 25 against Hartford with a 16-0 win. As well, the Curve allowed a home run in a record 13 straight games from June 7-21. On an unseasonably warm April 12 at Erie, the Curve matched the record for Most Home Runs in a Game with 6 home runs when Lolo Sanchez, Mason Martin 2x, Henry Davis, Matt Fraizer and Andres Alvarez each homered. Mason Martin, Henry Davis (2x), Liover Peguero (2x), Andres Alvarez, Matt Gorski and Tsung-Che Cheng each hit two home runs in a game this year, matching the franchise record.

THE BEST OF 2023: Altoona named INF Liover Peguero the team's Most Valuable Player for the 2023 season, one that finished in Pittsburgh for Peguero. RHP Jared Jones was named the team's Pitcher of the Year after allowing two runs or fewer in ten straight starts to begin the campaign. LHP Nick Dombkowski and RHP Cameron Junker were named co-Firemen of the Year as the most valuable members of the team's relief corps and INF Claudio Finol took home the team's Unsung Hero Award.

AMONG THE LEAGUE LEADERS: Altoona had several players finish the season ranked in the top-10 in the Eastern League in hitting and pitching categories. OF Matt Fraizer ranked 6th in the league in hits (110) and 6th in runs (67), while OF Connor Scott finished the year T-4th in triples (4). On the mound, RHP Aaron Shortridge ranked 1st in the league in wins (11), T-1st in games started (27), T-1st in complete games (2), and 2nd in innings pitched (138.1). RHP Sean Sullivan ranked 6th in the league in ERA (3.88), 6th in WHIP (1.27) and 8th in the league in batting average against (.245). RHP Cameron Junker finished the year 2nd in appearances (45).

STRIKEOUTS ARE ALL THE RAGE: Altoona was one of the league's most-difficult teams to strike out during the 2023 season, punching out 1,103 times, the fewest among Double-A teams and 8th-fewest in minor league baseball. Altoona's was the last Double-A team to reach 1000 strikeouts this season.

YOUNG BUCS ON THE BUMP: RHP Bubba Chander and Anthony Solometo are 2 of the 14 pitchers to reach Double-A at age 20-or-younger. The Pirates and Arizona Diamondbacks (Hansel Rincon and Yu-Min Lin) are the only teams to have 2 pitchers age 20-or-younger to reach Double-A.

LHP Anthony Solometo was the youngest pitcher to reach the Eastern League this season, doing so at 20 years, 6 months and 15 days when he made his debut on June 17 at Somerset. Solometo was the 13th player in franchise history to suit up for the Curve under the age of 21 and slots in as the 5th-youngest player in the team's history between C Ryan Doumit, who was 20 years, 4 months, 0 days old when he debuted on August 3, 2001, and LHP Sean Burnett, who was 20 years, 6 months, 18 days old when he debuted on April 4, 2003. Solometo threw the third-most innings by a pitcher age-20 or younger at the Double-A level this season (50.1) and walked just 6.5% of batters he's faced.

RHP Bubba Chandler electrified in his Double-A debut on Friday, September 9 against Harrisburg. Chander retired 13 straight batters to begin his Curve career allowing just a bloop single in 5.0 innings. Chandler struck out 8 on 69 pitches, 51 strikes. In his last 9 starts between Greensboro and Altoona he went 7-1 with a 1.66 ERA (9 ER / 48.2 IP), with just 27 hits, 13 walks and 51 strikeouts. Chandler became the 14th player in franchise history to suit up for the Curve under the age of 21.

THE TRACKS TO PITTSBURGH RIDE THROUGH ALTOONA: 15 alumni went on to make their major league debut during the 2023 season, the most in a single season in franchise history. C/OF Blake Sabol (SFG, 3/30), INF Drew Maggi (PIT, 4/26), RHP Cody Bolton (PIT, 4/29), LHP Joe Jacques (BOS, 6/12), RHP Osvaldo Bido (PIT, 6/14), RHP Carmen Mlodzinski (PIT, 6/16), C/OF Henry Davis (PIT, 6/19), INF Connor Kaiser (COL, 6/19), INF Nick Gonzales (PIT, 6/23), INF Jared Triolo (PIT, 6/28), RHP Quinn Priester (PIT, 7/17), C Endy Rodriguez (PIT, 7/17), RHP Colin Selby (PIT, 8/9), RHP Hunter Stratton (PIT, 9/5), and RHP Kyle Nicolas (PIT, 9/19) now stand among the 212 alumni in franchise history to reach MLB. Additionally, the Pirates sent out six starting lineups with 10 Curve alums this season: 8/19, 8/29, 9/20, 9/26, 9/29, and 9/30. Entering the season, there had only been one Pirates starting lineup composed of all Altoona Curve alums (9/12/2018), but this season saw 36 games with at least nine alums in the starting lineup for the Pirates.

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