Friday night business…. the State College Spikes (Short-season A level) begin their season two weeks from today. �The Gulf Coast League Pirates, who will share McKechnie Field with the Marauders, begin their season on June 21st.
While the team rosters have not been formally announced yet, there have been some player moves: �C/INF Andrew Walker and INF Anthony Norman have been moved from the Marauders to the State College roster. � LHP Eliecer Navarro has been moved onto the Marauders’ roster from the GCL Pirates’ roster. �Also, Marauders’ INF Greg Picart has been reactivated from the disabled list (hand injury).
Altoona Curve �6, �New Hampshire Fisher Cats �1 (box)
The Curve began their series in New Hampshire with a win, boosting their lead in the Eastern League Western Division to 9 games over Bowie, Harrisburg, and Richmond, who are all tied for second place.
SS Chase d’Arnaud and CF Gorkys Hernandez got the Curve off to a good start with back-to-back singles in the top of the 1st. �3B Josh Harrison grounded into a double play which erased Hernandez but moved d’Arnaud to third base, and 1B Matt Hague’s single through the hole into left field scored d’Arnaud with the first run of the game. �They added another run in the 2nd on a one-out triple by LF Alex Presley and a double by DH Shelby Ford.
The game picked up some controversy in the 4th inning, when Fisher Cats’ 3B Shawn Bowman led off with a long fly ball that seemed to fly over the left field wall… but then bounced back onto the field of play. �Home run or a bounce off the top of the fence? �The umpires ruled it a homer, and Curve manager Matt Walbeck was ejected when he argued a little too vociferously. �Walbeck got his revenge in the 5th, when CF Danny Perales hit another long fly, this one to right field, for what he thought was a game-tying home run. �But while Perales had slowed to a home-run trot, the umpires ruled that this ball had hit the wall and so was still in play. �Curve RF Miles Durham threw the ball in to the infield, catching Perales by surprise between second and third bases, where he was tagged out after a brief run-down.
After that, it was all Altoona. �The Curve loaded the bases in the 6th on walks to Hague and 2B Jordy Mercer, and a single by C Hector Gimenez. Presley’s RBI ground out brought in Hague, and Durham walked to load the bases again. �Ford greeted the New Hampshire reliever with a line drive into center field, driving in both Mercer and Gimenez to give the Curve a 5-1 lead. �After another grounder force out, Hernandez walked, loading the bases for the third time in the inning. �The third time was not a charm, though, as a fly out ended the inning.
Hernandez added an insurance run in the top of the 9th when he led off with his first home run of the season. �The Curve recorded 12 hits, including 2 each from d’Arnaud (single and double), Hernandez (single and homer), Gimenez, Presley (single and triple), and Ford (single and double).
Rudy Owens earned his 6th win for the Curve, going 6.1 innings and allowing only that solo home run plus 4 other hits and 3 walks. �He did not have more than one Fisher Cats’ base runner on base at one time until the 7th inning, when he struck out the first batter, then gave up a walk and a single. �That was the point at which he was relieved by Derek Hankins. Hankins threw a wild pitch to move the runners to second and third bases, then walked a batter to load the bases with two outs. �But he got a ground out to first to end the inning without letting any of those three runners to score. �Hankins allowed just one single over the next two innings, as he earned his first save of the season.
Saturday night in the lower minor leagues:
Altoona Curve �7, �Reading Phillies �3 (box)
Four runs in the 4th inning gave the Curve the edge and propelled starter Tim Alderson to his 4th win of the season. �Alderson pitched 6 innings and allowed just one run on 4 hits and 3 walks, while striking out 5 batters.
The Curve scored a run in the bottom of the 1st, on a lead-off walk by SS Chase d’Arnaud, singles by CF Gorkys Hernandez and 3B Josh Harrison, and a grounder by 1B Matt Hague that became a double play (no RBI for Hague). �The Phillies’ run came in the 2nd inning. �Former Indy Indian 3B Tagg Bozied began the inning with a single, and went to second on a wild pitch. �A walk and a grounder put Bozied on third base, and another single drove Bozied across the plate to tie the score.
The big 4th inning began with a single by LF Alex Presley. A passed ball put Presley on second. �After a walk by RF Miles Durham, Alderson dropped down a sacrifice bunt that went for a fielder’s choice as Presley made it to third base before the throw. �With the bases loaded, Chase d’Arnaud walked, forcing in Presley with the go-ahead run. �Gorkys Hernadez’s sacrifice fly plated Durham, and Josh Harrison’s double into right field scored both Alderson and d’Arnaud.
C Hector Gimenez blasted his third home run in three games with a 2-run shot in the 7th, following a single by Hague.
Alderson allowed 2 hits and 2 walks over the last 4 innings he pitched. �Jack Taschner, with the Curve on a rehab assignment, pitched the 7th inning. �He retired the first two batters, then gave up a single, a walk, and an RBI single for one run. �The inning ended on a pop out.
Mike Dubee pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the 8th. �Danny Moskos pitched the 9th, and allowed a run on two singles, a hit batter, and a sacrifice fly.
Josh Harrison and Alex Presley each had a double and a single for the Curve, and both Harrison and Gimenez contributed 2 RBI.
Altoona Curve �11, �Akron Aeros �1 (box)
LF Alex Presley missed hitting for the cycle on Monday night in Akron, because he lacked a single. �He probably doesn’t mind, though, because what he substituted for the missing single was his second home run of the night, as he went 4-for-5 and set a new Curve record with 8 RBI in the game. �Presley, who is having a break-out year for the Curve, is now leading the Eastern League with a .379 average (number two is hitting “only” .341) and 58 hits. �He’s second in the league in total bases with 89, and in OPS with .996.
The Curve jumped out to a big start with 4 runs in the top of the 1st. �CF Gorkys Hernandez singled, moved to second base on a balk, then scored on DH Josh Harrison’s single. �A walk to 1B Matt Hague and a single by RF Miles Durham loaded the bases. �Presley cleared the load with a triple, and the Curve were up 4-0. �Hague doubled and 3B Jordy Mercer was hit by a pitch in the 3rd inning, setting up Presley for his first homer of the game, a 3-run blast over the center field wall.
The Curve scored without Presley’s help in the 4th inning. on a single by SS Chase d’Arnaud, a double by Hernandez, and an RBI grounder by Harrison, to give the Curve an 8-0 lead. �All 8 runs were charged to Akron starter Scott Barnes — nice revenge after Barnes pitched 5.1 no-hit innings against the Curve last week, on his way to being named the Eastern League’s pitcher of the week.
Presley homered again in the 5th inning, driving in Durham, who had singled again. �After the homer, C Kris Watts singled, d’Arnaud walked, and a fielding error on a ball off the bat of Hernandez let Watts score the Curve’s 11th run.
Not to be lost in the offensive outpouring was some excellent pitching by Curve starter Tim Alderson. Alderson won his 3rd game of the season with 7 shut-out innings. �He scattered 4 hits, no walks, and one hit batter over those 7 innings. �There was only one inning, the 5th, when Alderson had to deal with 2 runners on base at once (after 2 singles), and he got out of that inning with a double play.
Diego Moreno made his AA debut with the Curve in the 8th. �He gave up a lead-off single, then got a fly out, and struck out the next two batters to end the inning. �Corey Hamman pitched the 9th for the Curve. �He gave up a double, a single, and an RBI ground out for the only Akron run of the game.
One early game in the rest of the Pirates’ minor league organization on Wednesday, and two later games:
Dunedin Blue Jays �2, �Bradenton Marauders �1 (box)
The Blue Jays broke a tie that had lasted 5 innings with a run in the bottom of the 9th to take the win over the Marauders on Wednesday afternoon. �Both teams scored a run in the 4th inning. �C Eric Fryer supplied the Marauders with their run on a solo homer in the top of the 4th. �In the bottom of the inning, starter Brian Leach got two outs, then gave up a run on a walk and two singles.
Dunedin starter Joel Carreno held the Marauders in check for 5 of his 6 innings, while striking out 9 batters and allowing 9 hits. �The Marauders got a runner as far as third base in the 5th, when SS Walker Gourley, making his 2010 debut, led off with a single. �2B James Skelton also singled, moving Gourley to third base. �But a strikeout and a double play ended the inning without a run scoring. �The Marauders put at least one runner on base in 5 other innings, but never got a runner as far as third base.
Brian Leach also went 6 innings, scattering 3 hits and 3 walks, with 4 strikeouts. �He worked around a single base runner in 3 other innings besides the 4th. �Tom Boleska took over for Leach in the 7th. �He gave up a single and hit a batter in the 7th, and gave up a single to Dunedin DH Travis d’Arnaud in the 8th, but did not let those runners score.
Boleska got into trouble in the bottom of the 9th. �With one out, he gave up a double, then intentionally walked the next batter. �He suffered the loss when an RBI single plated the winning run. �Eric Fryer posted two singles for the Marauders besides his homer. �1B Calvin Anderson singled twice, and CF Austin McClune also singled. �Tony Sanchez had a pinch-hit appearances but struck out.
Bradenton Marauders 1, �Fort Myers Miracle �0 (box)
The Marauders were out-hit 4 -2, but they needed only one hit to score the only run of the game and beat the Miracle on Friday night. �Bradenton starter Brian Leach pitched 4 innings and worked around at least one base runner in three of them — a walk in the 1st, two singles in the 2nd, and one more single in the 3rd. �All four runners were left stranded. �After retiring the side in order in the 4th, Leach was relieved by Casey Erickson to begin the 5th. �Erickson pitched 3 innings and allowed only one single in the 6th, then had C Tony Sanchez throw that runner out trying to steal second base. �Diego Moreno pitched a 1-2-3 inning in the 8th, and Noah Krol bounced back from his tough appearance last night to retire the side in order in the 9th, earning his 8th save.
At the same time, Miracle starter Bruce Pugh was busy mowing down the Marauders’ hitters. �He struck out 10 batters in his 7 innings of work. �He gave up only one walk, to lead-off batter SS Brock Holt in the 1st inning, then picked Holt off and caught him stealing. �Pugh then retired the next 13 Bradenton batters, until 3B Jeremy Farrell reached base on an error in the 5th. �Farrell was left on base, as Pugh struck out two to end the inning, then two more to begin the 6th. �Holt singled with two outs in the 6th, but was also left on base. �Pugh also struck out two in the 7th. �He was relieved by Loek Van Mil to begin the 8th, and the Marauders found some luck. �Van Mil hit DH Eric Fryer with a pitch to begin his inning. �1B Erik Huber singled, moving Fryer to third base. �2B Greg Picart grounded to third base, and Fryer scored on a fielder’s choice. �A double play ended the inning, but the Marauders had all the runs they needed.