One Inning Ruins Marauders’ Morning; Taillon’s Second Start
West Virginia Power 3, Greensboro Grasshoppers 0 (Game 1)
Jameson Taillon pitched 4 scoreless innings in his second pro start, though he exited the game too early to get the decision. Taillon allowed just 2 hits — doubles in the top of the 1st and the top of the 2nd. He hit a batter with a pitch in the 4th for the only other base runner he had to worry about. Taillon struck out 6 batters, including all three outs in the 2nd.
The Power threatened in the bottom of the 2nd, when CF Mel Rojas and C Kawika Emsley-Pai hit back-to-back singles, and both advanced one base on a missed catch error. Two short ground outs left both runners stranded. DH Justin Howard doubled to begin the 4th inning, and he came around to score on two ground outs, by RF Dan Grovatt and Rojas (who picked up the RBI). The Power scored 2 more runs in the 5th inning. A single, a ground out, and a wild pitch put lead-off batter 3B Andy Vasquez on third base, and 2B Drew Maggi made it runners on the corners with a walk. Moments later, Howard’s second double of the game drove in both Vasquez and Maggi, giving the Power some insurance.
They would not really need the insurance, though. Casey Sadler relieved Taillon to begin the 5th inning. He gave up a single in the 5th, then retired the next 8 Grasshopper batters he faced, ending the game.
Power 3, Grasshoppers 2 (Game 2)
The Power made it a double header sweep in the night-cap, despite being out-hit by the Grasshoppers, 9-4. Starter Brandon Cumpton earned his first win of the season, allowing one run on 5 hits and a walk, with 5 strikeouts in 5 innings.
The Power got onto the scoreboard in the bottom of the 2nd, with a walk by RF Dan Grovatt, a single by CF Mel Rojas, and a double by LF Andy Vasquez to push in Grovatt. Grovatt walked again to lead off the 4th inning, and he scored all the way from first base on Rojas’ line drive double into left field. Rojas went to third base on the (unsuccessful) throw in to the plate. C Elias Diaz brought in Rojas with a sacrifice fly, giving the Power a 3-0 lead. Rojas singled for his third hit of the game in the 6th inning, after 1B Justin Howard had reached base on an error. Rojas and Howard were left standing on the corners when two fly outs ended the inning.
Cumpton gave up back-to-back singles to open both the 4th and 5th innings, but both times one of the runners was picked off base. Cumpton got out of the jam in the 4th, but gave up a run in the 5th when a sacrifice fly brought in the lead runner. Trent Stevenson relieved Cumpton to begin the 6th inning. He retired the side in order in that inning, then gave up four consecutive singles to begin the top of the 7th. One run scored, then with the bases loaded, Stevenson struck out the next three batters to preserve the win. Cumpton earned his first win of the season, and Stevenson earned his first save.
Altoona Curve 10, Akron Aeros 9
DH Kris Watts’ fly ball got past the Akron center fielder for a walk-off RBI double in the bottom of the 9th to give the Curve the win in this crazy game. The lead changed hands a few times, and the Curve hurt their own cause by making 4 errors.
The Aeros began the game with two runs in the top of the 1st on a single, on a single, a fielding error by 1B Miles Durham, and a double. A throwing error by 3B Jeremy Farrell in the 2nd, along with a walk and a single added a run in the 2nd. The Curve answered with a 4-run rally in the bottom of the inning. They batted around, with a double by Farrell, and singles by SS Jordy Mercer, C Tony Sanchez, Watts, Durham, RF Brad Chalk, and 2B Brock Holt, plus a sacrifice fly by LF Quincy Latimore.
The Curve made it 7-3 with 3 more runs in the 3rd. Mercer doubled into the bullpen , Farrell singled, and Sanchez doubled, bringing in Mercer. After a walk by Durham, Chalk took a fly ball into center field, where the outfielder ran in but missed the catch for a 2-RBI single and an error. That brought in both Farrell and Sanchez.
Akron got those 3 runs right back in the top of the 4th. With starter Jared Hughes still on the mound, a walk, a single, and back-to-back doubles got the Aeros closer: 7-6. That was Hughes’ last inning. Four of the 6 runs he gave up were earned, and they came on 6 hits and 2 walks, with 1 strikeout.
Mercer, who had 3 hits and a walk in the game, doubled in the bottom of the 4th, and he scored on a single by Shelby Ford, who had replaced Farrell at third base. A single and a double gave Akron a run in the 6th inning, off reliever Brian Leach. Chalk and Holt combined on an excellent throw in on that double, so that Ford could tag out the batter as he tried to make it to third base. A run had scored, but the Curve preserved their lead, 8-7.
That lead lasted only one more inning, though. In the 7th, two walks and a wild pitch began the inning and ended Leach’s night. He was relieved by Tom Boleska, who got a grounder force out, but then gave up a piar of singles, each bringing in a run. CF Starling Marte made an outstanding throw in from center field to third, so that Ford could again nail a runner at third base.
Akron held tight to that 9-8 lead going into the 9th inning. Noah Krol worked around a fielding error when Marte dropped a fly ball out of his glove, and a passed ball, but he kept the Aeros from scoring. In the bottom of the frame, with one out, Mercer walked, then moved to second on Ford’s single into right field. Sanchez also singled, and Mercer came in with the tying run. Watts followed with a booming double into center field, plating Ford for the win. Boleska did not allow any runs, but he was charged with the Blown Save. Krol earned his first win of the season.