After wins for everyone on Saturday, it’s losses for everyone on Sunday:
Erie SeaWolves 2, Altoona Curve 1
It took 13 innings to finish this pitching duel, when the Curve could not respond to a run scored by the SeaWolves in the top of the inning.
The Curve had put a runner on base in three of the first four innings: a double by SS Jordy Mercer in the 2nd, a single by 2B Brock Holt in the 3rd, and a single by LF Quincy Latimore in the 4th. The Curve scored first, with a run in the bottom of the 5th. C Eric Fryer led off with a single, and he scored on 1B Miles Durham’s double to center field.
Starter Aaron Pribanic mowed down the SeaWolves with 6 scoreless innings. He struck out 4 batters and did not walk any, and had to work around only 2 hits, plus a batter reaching base on a throwing error. After a single in the 2nd, Pribanic retired 13 consecutive Erie batters. He gave up another single to begin the 7th inning, then was relieved by Matt McSwain. Pribanic had thrown 79 pitches, with 53 strikes.
McSwain gave up a double, but got out of the 7th inning without a run scoring. RF Brad Chalk helped out with a timely double play, when he made the catch on a fly ball, then threw out a base runner at third. Tim Alderson took the mound to begin the 8th inning, and he retired the side in order. But in the 9th, Alderson gave up a run on a single, a throwing error by 3B Jeremy Farrell on a bunt play, and an RBI double.
The Curve had only one base runner in the 6th – 8th innings, when Holt was hit by a pitch in the 8th. DH Tony Sanchez singled in the bottom of the 9th, but got no further, and the game moved into extra innings.
Alderson pitched a scoreless top of the 10th, and the Curve went down in order in the bottom of the inning. Michael Dubee took over for Alderson in the top of the 11th. Dubee pitched 2 scoreless innings, allowing only a single in the 12th. The Curve went down in order again in the bottom of the 11th, but threatened in the 12th. Farrell was hit by a pitch to begin the inning, then Fryer walked. A double play ended the inning without a run scoring.
Chris Leroux came on to pitch the top of the 13th, which began with a triple lined into right field. Chalk threw the ball in to the cut-off man Durham, whose relay throw went wild for an error, letting the runner score the go-ahead run. Leroux retired the next three batters, and the Curve had one more chance.
Pinch-hitter Jose Hernandez led off the bottom of the 13th with a line drive double into left field. Holt put down a sacrifice bunt to move Hernandez to third base. CF Starling Marte popped out to first base, and Latimore was hit by a pitch, and advanced to second on defensive indifference. But a strikeout by Mercer ended the game with the two runners in scoring position, and Erie had the win.
Tuesday night’s action in the Pirates’ lower minor leagues:
West Virginia Power 5, Charleston RiverDogs 1
Colton Cain took his second win of the season, allowing 3 hits and one run over 5 innings, with one walk and 3 strikeouts. Cain had some trouble in the 1st inning, when a lead-off single, a sacrifice bunt, and an RBI single drove in a run for Charleston. After a walk, Cain got the next batter to fly out to center, where a nice throw from CF Mel Rojas to 3B Eric Avila ended the inning. Cain retired the next 10 batters in order, then gave up a double in the 5th inning. He struck out two batters to end his evening’s work.
The Power batters gave Cain all the run support he needed in the top of the 2nd. With one out, DH Jairo Marquez lined a double into right field, then went to third base when C Elias Diaz reached base on a fielding error. Diaz stole second base, then LF Rogelios Noris singled into right field, plating Marquez. Noris advanced to second base on the throw in from the outfield, which put him into position to score behind Diaz on Avila’s 2-RBI single. The Power added a run in the 3rd for a 4-1 lead. RF Dan Grovatt singled, then 1B Justin Howard’s double advanced Grovatt to third. Rojas picked up the RBI with a ground out, scoring Grovatt.
Kevin Decker relieved Cain to begin the 6th inning. He pitched 3 perfect innings, including 3 strikeouts. Brooks Pounders took the 9th inning and allowed only a single in his scoreless inning.
Charleston committed errors in both the 4th and the 5th innings, but the Power were not able to take advantage of those errors to score. The Power scored one more run in the 9th, when Marquez bed off with a single, and was bunted to second by Diaz. Noris’ ground out moved Diaz to third, and he scored on a wild pitch.
Bradenton Marauders 6, Charlotte Stone Crabs 2
Three 2-run innings gave the Marauders enough fire power to get past the Stone Crabs and salvage the last game of this 3-game series. Starter Kyle McPherson earned his second win of the season, allowing 2 runs on 4 hits, no walks, in 7 innings of work. The 7 innings matched his two previous longest starts this season. Both of the Stone Crabs’ runs came early in the game. In the bottom of the 1st, a lead-off triple and an RBI ground out put the first run on the board. A solo home run brought in the second run in the 2nd inning. McPherson also gave up a double in the 1st, and a single in the 5th, and he hit one batter in the 3rd inning. He finished strong by retiring the last 7 batters he faced, four of them on strikeouts.
The Marauders went into the 4th inning behind by a score of 2-0. The only batter to reach base in the first three innings was SS Benji Gonzalez, who singled with two outs in the 3rd, but was picked off second base. But the bats started booming in the 4th, beginning with a double into left field by RF Robbie Grossman and a triple by 2B Jarek Cunningham, scoring Grossman. CF Evan Chambers’ ground out single drove in Cunningham to tie the game.
3B Kelson Brown singled and Benji Gonzalez walked in the 5th inning, but a double play ended that attempt at a rally. Cunningham and Chambers opened the 6th with back-to-back singles, and a missed catch error by the Charlotte shortstop on a pick-off attempt let both runners move up a base. A fielding error by the second baseman on the next play off the bat of 1B Aaron Baker allowed both Cunningham and Chambers to score. The Marauders took a 4-2 lead. Baker added 2 more insurance runs in the 8th inning with a 2-run home run shot over the right field wall. He brought in Grossman, who had reached base on a fielding error at third base.
The Stone Crabs did not score again after the 2nd inning. Diego Moreno relieved McPherson to begin the 8th inning, and he walked one, gave up a single, and struck out two, keeping Charlotte scoreless. Ryan Beckman took the 9th, and he also pitched a scoreless inning, with one walk.
Saturday evening action with the Pirates’ lower minor league affiliates:
Richmond Flying Squirrels 5, Altoona Curve 0
Strong pitching by Richmond and one big inning for the Squirrels’ batters combined for another Curve loss. The Curve were held to just two hits — one each by 3B Jeremy Farrell and C Tony Sanchez. Five walks did not help either, as the Curve left 7 runners on base. 1B Miles Durham was the only base runner for Altoona over the first 3 innings, when he walked in the 3rd. LF Quincy Latimore walked with one out in the 4th. He was forced out at second on SS Jordy Mercer’s ground out. Mercer reached third base when Farrell slipped a single through the left side of the infield, but both runners were left stranded.
Farrell walked and Sanchez singled with one out in the 7th, but a double play ended that attempt at a rally. The Curve’s biggest threat came in the 9th inning, when with two outs, Mercer was hit by a pitch, then Farrell and Sanchez worked back-to-back walks. A pop up to the catcher in foul territory by Durham ended the game with all three still on base.
Three errors by the Curve fielders did not help out their pitchers, who gave up a combined 11 hits. Starter Aaron Thompson worked around a pair of two-out singles in the 1st, then struck out three batters around a walk in the 2nd. Then things fell apart in the 3rd. The inning began with three consecutive singles, loading the bass. The next batter grounded to short, but Mercer’s fielding fumble left everyone safe, and the lead runner scored. Thompson looked like he had a chance to get out of the inning without further damage when he got the next two batters with a fly out and a strikeout. But a bases-clearing double into left field made the score 4-0. The throw in from LF Latimore was relayed from the cutoff man Mercer to Farrell at third, who tagged out the batter at third as he tried to stretch the double into a triple.
Thompson kept the Squirrels from scoring in the 4th, despite a fielding error by CF Starling Marte and another single. A lead-off single began the 5th inning, and a throwing error by Sanchez on a steal attempt put the runner on third base. Thompson struck out two batters, then was relieved by Anthony Claggett, who ended the inning with a ground out, leaving that runner on third. Claggett pitched a scoreless 6th, but gave up a run in the 7th on a hit batter and an RBI double. Two walks after the double loaded the bases, but Claggett escaped the inning with a ground out. Chris Leroux took over for the bottom of the 8th. He also gave up a double and hit a batter, but did not allow a run. Thompson took the loss, going 4.2 innings with 4 runs (one earned) on 8 hits with 7 strikeouts.
The Curve played another mid-day game today, with the stadium full of school kids
Altoona Curve 4, Akron Aeros 3
The Curve hung on for the win, despite being out-hit 12-6 by the Aeros. Aaron Pribanic earned his third win of the season, and Noah Krol earned his 7th Save.
SS Jordy Mercer got things going for the Curve in the bottom of the 2nd inning. He beat out an infield single to third, then stole second base. A grounder by DH Tony Sanchez moved him to third base, and Mercer scored from there on a wild pitch. C Eric Fryer singled and 1B Miles Durham walked after Mercer scored, but both were left on base.
Akron took the lead in the top of the 4th. Pribanic had allowed 3 singles over the first two innings, but left those batters on base. He hit a batter with a pitch to open the 4th inning, then gave up a 2-run homer, giving the Aeros a 2-1 lead.
The Curve went down in order in both the 3rd and 4th innings, but they got to the Akron starter again in the bottom of the 5th. Fryer led off with a walk, and with one out, RF Jose Hernandez drove a triple into center field, scoring Fryer. 2B Brock Holt’s RBI ground out brought in Hernandez, and the Curve had the lead back, 3-2. They tacked on another run in the 6th. LF Quincy Latimore began the inning with a line drive into center field for a single, and when the Akron center fielder made a fielding error, Latimore moved to second base. Mercer followed with another line drive into center, putting runners on the corners. Sanchez bounced into a double play, erasing Mercer, but Latimore was able to score from third base for a 4-2 lead.
Pribanic allowed 6 hits with those 2 runs in the 4th, going a total of 5 innings. He did not walk a batter and struck out 3 Aeros’ batters. Tim Alderson came on in relief to begin the 6th, and retired the side in order. He gave up an unearned run in the 7th, when Fryer made a fielding error to put a runner on base. A force out at second traded runners at first, and an RBI double brought the run in. Michael Dubee loaded the bases on three singles in the 8th, but wiggled out of the jam with a strikeout and a ground out. Krol earned his save by getting out of another bases-loaded jam in the top of the 9th (two singles and a walk) with a timely double play.