Marauders Start With A Rampage; Crotta Shines For Curve

Bradenton pitchers did not have much trouble dealing with the Miracle batters. �Starter Bryan Morris pitched 4.2 innings and allowed 2 unearned runs on 7 hits, no walks, with 5 strikeouts. �Those runs came in the 2nd inning, when two singles and a throwing error by SS Greg Picart loaded the bases. �Morris got the next batter to ground into a double play, but one run scored. �An RBI double brought in �the second run, but the error made both runs unearned. �Morris gave up a double to lead off teh 5th inning, then struck out the next two batters. �Mike Colla came on in relief, and gave up a single, but Quincy Latimore’s throw in from left field to C Tony Sanchez nailed the runner at the plate. �Joel Hanrahan, with the Marauders on a rehab assignment, pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the 6th, including two strikeouts. �Brian Leach earned the win with 3 innings of work, in which he gave up one home run and a walk and hit a batter.

Altoona Curve 5, �Harrisburg Senators 1 (box)

The Curve also began their 2010 season with a win. �A 4-run 5th inning combined with strong pitching put the Senators away. �1B Matt Hague and CF Gorkys Hernandez both walked to start the 5th. �SS Chase d’Arnaud ripped a ball into right field, scoring Hague easily. �When d’Arnaud rounded first and headed for second, it drew the throw in from the outfield. �D’Arnaud was safe at second with a double, and�Hernandez was able to score on the throw. �3B Jordy Mercer singled, moving d’Arnaud to third base. � RF Miles Durham brought in d’Arnaud with a sacrifice fly, and C Hector Gimenez plated Mercer with an RBI double.

Harrisburg had scored first, with one run in the top of the 2nd. �Starter Mike Crotta walked the first batter of the inning, and that runner stole second, moved to third on a ground out, and scored on an RBI single from former Curve and Indy Indian (2009) Pedro Lopez. �The Curve tied it up in the bottom of the 4th, on three singles by Mercer, Durham, and LF Alex Presley (RBI).

Crotta pitched 6 innings, and that RBI single by Pedro Lopez was the only hit he gave up. �After the 2nd inning, he retired the next 12 batters he faced in order, and only had a few 3-ball counts. � He also walked one batter and struck out 4, on his way to his first win of the season. �Relievers Michael Dubee, Ronald Uviedo, and Danny Moskos each pitched one scoreless inning. Moskos made it interesting in the 9th, by walking the first two batters. �After a strikeout, he gave up a single on a ball that came back to the mound, but then got another strikeout followed by a fly out to end the game.

On Sunday, the Curve’s game against Harrisburg is scheduled to feature top pitching prospect Stephen Strasburg. �Strasburg’s pro debut in the 2 pm game is going to be (in part) broadcast on ESPNews. �The plan is to only show the half innings when Strasburg is on the mound, using the Curve’s in-house audio and video, plus an ESPN camera dedicated to Strasburg. �It means we should get to see some of the Curve players at the plate (if they show anything besides Strasburg).

Savannah Sand Gnats 9, �West Virginia Power 3 (box)

The Power opened the 2010 season on a sour note when they couldn’t keep up with the Sand Gnats in Savannah. �The Power struck first, as lead-off man SS Benji Gonzalez singled and went to second base on a fielding error. �1B Aaron Baker brought him home with an RBI single. �Savannah tied the score in the bottom of the inning on a triple and a single, and went on to score 2 more runs in the 3rd on a single and two doubles.

Two doubles by the Power, a ground-rule double by C Ramon Cabrera and another by Baker, plus a walk to CF Evan Chambers tied the score again in the top of the 5th. �But in the bottom of the inning, starter Hunter Strickland got into trouble again with back-to-back singles. �Jeffrey Inman came on in relief, but a wild pitch brought in the go-ahead run and a passed ball and a single added another, giving Savannah a 5-3 lead. �Phillip Irwin also had trouble in the 6th, when a hit batter, a wild pitch, a walk, and a throwing error by Cabrera on a steal attempt brought in two unearned runs. �Gabriel Alvarado pitched the last two innings for the Power, and he also allowed two runs, on a double and three singles in the 8th inning.

Baker and Cabrera each had a double and a single for the Power. �2B Jarek Cunningham got back to real game action after having missed all of the 2009 season with a knee injury. �He had a single in the 7th inning. �LF Rogelios Noris, who was the hometown hero in the Mexican Pacific winter league, also had a single in the 2nd inning.

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Nancy Zinni

Nancy grew up in Rochester, NY, where her father indoctrinated her to the love of baseball as a small child. He taught her to keep score at the age of 5, and she hasn't stopped since. She now lives in the Indianapolis area with her husband and two sons. Nancy has followed the Indians on both the Most Valuable Network and the Bloguin group, before joining Pirates Prospects in 2011. She provides daily game recaps from Indianapolis, plus player analysis from the guys she sees live at the games.

Updated win projection: 76.5

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