The Altoona Curve took a 2-1 lead in the best of five Eastern League Championship Series on Friday night after shutting out the Trenton Thunder 5-0. Justin Wilson led the way, pitching an outstanding seven shutout innings, allowing just one walk, five hits, and three strikeouts.
Wilson had run in to control issues at the end of the season. In his final two starts of the year, plus his first playoff start, Wilson combined to walk 15 batters in 16 innings. However, Wilson only allowed three runs, thanks to just nine hits allowed and 16 strikeouts over that same time span. Tonight the control issues seemed to be in check, and Wilson cruised through seven innings.
Wilson allowed a one out double in the first inning, but got two straight outs to escape the inning. The double, given up to Justin Snyder, was the first of only two instances when Wilson allowed a runner to reach scoring position. Wilson didn’t allow a single runner to reach third base in his seven innings.
Andrew Lambo gave Altoona a 1-0 lead in the third inning with a solo homer. It was the second homer of the post-season for Lambo, who also homered in the clinching game of the first round of the Eastern League playoffs. Altoona got three more runs in the fifth inning. After two outs, Jim Negrych walked. Jose de los Santos battled to reach on an infield single, putting runners at first and third. An Anthony Norman single brought in Negrych for Altoona’s second run. After Chase d’Arnaud was hit with a pitch, Josh Harrison hit a single, bringing in the final two runs of the inning, and putting Altoona up 4-0.
Norman came through in the seventh inning with a solo homer, his first of the post-season. Wilson got help from the bullpen as Michael Dubee and Daniel Moskos closed things out. After a perfect inning in the eighth, Dubee allowed two singles to lead off the ninth. Dubee struck out Marcos Vechionacci, but followed with a wild pitch to move the runners in to scoring position, and a walk to load the bases. Daniel Moskos came on to get out of the jam, and got two straight swinging strikeouts for his fourth save of the post-season.
Altoona now has a 2-1 lead, and will try to close out the series and win the first Eastern League championship in franchise history tomorrow. Tony Watson will take the mound for Altoona, going up against Manny Banuelos. Watson closed out the first round of the Eastern League playoffs last week, allowing two runs in 6.2 innings, with two walks, four hits, and four strikeouts.
Also Check Out: Cory Giger’s Recap of Tonight’s Game at the Altoona Mirror