Three Hits For Watts; Power Split Doubleheader

Sunday afternoon’s games for the Pirates minor league affiliates:

Erie SeaWolves 10, �Altoona Curve 3 (box)

Six runs in the 3rd inning gave the SeaWolves a huge boost over the Curve in the series finale, and the Curve could not catch up, despite 3 hits from C Kris Watts. Curve starter Jared Hughes retired the first three batters he faced, but got into trouble in the 2nd inning. �A walk and a double put runners on second and third bases, then a ground out brought in the first run. �An RBI singled plated the second runner, and Erie had a 2-0 lead. �The Curve tried to come back in the bottom of the inning. �Watts’ first single, plus a walk to RF Miles Durham put two runners on base. �LF Alex Presley singled into left field, but the throw in to the plate was in time to tag out Watts, and a strikeout ended the inning.

Then came the 3rd inning. �The SeaWolves sent 10 batters to the plate on their way to 6 runs. �Two singles and a hit batter loaded the bases to begin the inning. �A ground out scored one run, and a double into center field brought in two more. �A grounder to third base let 3B Jordy Mercer make an out at third, but left a runner at first base. �Two more singles scored two more runs, and a double brought in the 6th run of the inning. �That was enough to send Hughes to the showers; Tony Watson came on in relief and got a ground out to end the miserable inning. �A solo home run off Watson in the 4th inning gave Erie a 9-0 lead.

The Curve made a little headway in the 4th. �1B Matt Hague led off with a walk, then a double error (fielding, then throwing) by the Erie third baseman put Mercer on base and sent Hague to third base. �Watts singled up the middle, and when the Erie center fielder made a fielding error, both Hague and Mercer scored. �That was all the Curve would get, though. �SS Chase d’Arnaud led off the 5th inning with a single, but the next 13 Curve batters went down in order. �With one out in the bottom of the 9th, Watts singled for his third hit of the game. �Durham doubled, bringing Watts around to score the last Altoona run.

Jared Hughes was charged with his first loss of the season. �Tony Watson allowed the home run in the 4th, and another solo homer in the 6th inning. �He pitched a total of 3.1 innings, and those were the only two hits he allowed. �Michael Dubee pitched the final 3 innings, allowing just one hit. �CF Gorkys Hernandez also had a hit, going 1-for-4 at the plate.

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Mercer, Presley, Holt All Post 3 Hits, Owens Earns Win

Altoona Curve 3, �Erie SeaWolves 2 (box)

3B Jordy Mercer was the man of the night for the Curve, as he went 3-for-4 at the plate, raising his batting average to .348. �He drove in two of the Curve’s three runs and scored the first and third. �LF Alex Presley went 3-for-3, and 1B Matt Hague contributed two hits and the remaining RBI.

Starter Rudy Owens earned his first win of the season. �He allowed one run on 5 hits and a walk over 6 innings, and struck out 5 Erie batters. �The run came in the 2d inning, on a single, a walk, a sacrifice bunt, and an RBI single. �Owens stopped the scoring at one run by getting the next batter to bounce into a double play. �Owens also worked around base runners in the 1st, 3rd, and 4th innings, then retired the SeaWolves in order in the 5th and 6th.

The Curve bats were quiet in the early innings. �Their first hit was a single by Presley to lead off the 3rd. �Mercer tied the score at 1-1 with his first home run of the season, a blast over the left field wall with one out in the 4th. �Hague and Presley both singled following the homer, but were both left on base. �The go-ahead run came in the 5th inning. �CF Gorkys Hernandez led off with a single into right field that had deflected off the Erie pitcher. �SS Chase d’Arnaud bunted Hernandez to second base, then RF Miles Durham was hit by a pitch. �That brought up Mercer, who doubled down the left field line, scoring Hernandez.

Owens was relieved by Michael Dubee to begin the top of the 7th. �Dubee retired the side in order that inning, but the top of the 8th began with a batter reaching on a fielding error by Mercer. �After a stolen base, a walk, and a strikeout, Dubee was relieved by Danny Moskos. Moskos got a grounder for a force out at third, then a second ground out to end the inning without a run scoring.

Mercer started the rally in the bottom of the 8th that gave the Curve an insurance run. �He led off with a triple into right field, which was followed by a walk to C Kris Watts, and two singles by Hague (RBI) and Presley. �With the bases loaded and one out, Hernandez grounded to third, forcing Watts out at the plate, and another grounder ended the inning. �The insurance run was necessary, because Erie scored one more time in the top of the 9th on a double and a single off Moskos, who held on to end the inning and earn his third save.

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Sanchez and Holt Lead Marauders in Rout; Power Win Home Opener

Bradenton Marauders 14, �St. Lucie 5 (box)

The Marauders posted 14 hits and 14 runs on their way to an overwhelming victory of the St. Lucie Mets in Bradenton on Friday night. �SS Brock Holt, who joined the team late out of spring training due to injury, celebrated his first game of the 2010 season by going 3-for-5 with a double and 4 RBI. �DH Tony Sanchez went 3-for-4, and had a single, a double, and a homer, plus 3 RBI. �LF Quincy Latimore had “only” 2 hits, but his grand slam gave him 4 RBI. �Only 1B Calvin Anderson had a tough night, as he went hitless and committed 3 fielding errors at first base.

After a quiet 1st inning, Tony Sanchez and Quincy Latimore got the party started in the bottom of the 2nd with back-to-back singles. �Two outs later, C Eric Fryer singled, scoring Sanchez. �2B Greg Picart walked to load the bases, and Brock Holt picked up his first two RBI with a line drive single into center. � Three doubles, by CF Starling Marte, Sanchez, and 3B Jeremy Farrell added two more runs in the 3rd inning. �In the 4th, RF Robbie Grossman singled, stole second, and stole third. �A walk to Marte and Sanchez being hit by a pitch loaded the bases for Latimore. �His grand slam gave the Marauders a 9-1 lead.

A St. Lucie fielding error and singles by Holt and Marte (RBI) contributed one run in the 5th inning. �Then Bradenton added 4 more runs in the 7th. �Fryer led off with a double, Picart reached base on a fielding error, and Holt doubled both of them in. �Sanchez’s 2-run homer capped the night for the Marauders.

Aaron Pribanic made the start for Bradenton. �He sailed through the first two innings, and Calvin Anderson’s first fielding error was no big deal. �In the 3rd inning, a single, a double, and a passed ball by Eric Fryer gave the Mets one unearned run. �Anderson made another error in the 4th inning, but a double play eliminated that problem. �In the 5th inning with one out, Pribanic gave up a double and a 2-run homer, and he was relieved by Tyler Cox. Cox finished the 5th with a strikeout, then retired the next six batters he faced, including 3 more strikeouts. �That earned him his 3rd win of the season. �Diego Moreno gave up a lone single in the scoreless 8th inning. �Noah Krol took the mound for the 9th, when St. Lucie made a last desperate effort to catch up. �Krol gave up a walk and a double to begin the inning. �With two outs, a wild pitch let the runner from third base score and the runner from second move up to third. �Anderson’s third fielding error allowed the next run to score, though it clearly did not make much difference in the outcome. �A ground out ended the game.

With Holt joining the team, a roster spot needed to be opened up. �INF Gift Ngoepe was reassigned to State College to make room, which means he will return to extended spring training right there in Bradenton.

West Virginia Power 5, �Asheville Tourists �4 (box)

The Power celebrated their home opener with a win over the Tourists, as DH Kyle Morgan’s single in the bottom of the 7th inning brought the go-ahead run across the plate. �The Tourists scored in the top of the 1st inning, with a double, a stolen base, and a sacrifice fly off Power starter Quentin Miller. Miller pitched only one inning — not sure why he was pulled.

The Power bats came to life in the bottom of the 2nd, when LF Rogelios Noris hit a two-out single, and 3B Jesus Brito got the first of three hits in the game, an RBI triple. �RF Wes Freeman walked, and a passed ball let Freeman get to second base, but it wasn’t far enough away from the plate to let Brito score from third. �The Power added another run in the 3rd, when SS Benji Gonzalez led off with a walk, and 2B Jarek Cunningham doubled him over to third base. �This time when the Asheville catcher missed for another passed ball, Gonzalez was able to score from third. �1B Aaron Baker grounded to second, but a quick throw to the plate cut down Cunningham as he tried to score. �Gonzalez and Cunningham both singled again in the 5th, and a wild pitch had Gonzalez standing on third base again. �This time Baker was able to pick up the RBI with a sacrifice fly.

Brito, who had also singled in the 4th inning, made it 3-for-3 with a single in the 6th inning, following Noris’ lead-off double. �Another fielder’s choice on a grounder by C Josue Peley brought in Noris to give the Power a 4-1 lead. �Another scoring opportunity was missed, though, when Brito was out at the plate in a double steal attempt.

Jason Erickson had taken over for Miller in the 2nd inning. �Erickson scattered 3 hits over 4 scoreless innings, striking out 2 batters. �Marc Baca retired the Tourists in order in the 6th, but got into trouble in the 7th. �The inning began with a ground-rule double, a “regular” double, and another ground-rule double, and the Tourists were within one run of the Power, 4-3. �A walk and a sacrifice bunt put runners on second and third bases. �An RBI ground out to short brought in the tying run, and gave Baca a Blown Save. �A hit batter and a stolen base made it runners on first and second. �A long fly ball to the alley in right-center could have meant another two runs, but an amazing diving catch by CF Evan Chambers ended the rally.

That Blown Save turned in to a win in the bottom of the 7th. �Baca was still the pitcher of record when�Chambers was hit by a pitch. �Aaron Baker bounced a ground-rule double over the right field wall, moving Chambers to third base. �Then Kyle Morgan’s single up the middle drove in Chambers with the go-ahead run. �Baker also tried to score from second base, but was out at the plate on the throw in from center field. �The one run was enough, though. �Melkin Laureano gave up a walk in the top of the 8th, but did not allow a run to score. �Zachary Foster got four outs in the top of the 9th to earn his first Save. �He struck out three batters in a row, but strike three on the third batter was a wild pitch, allowing the batter to reach first base. �Jarek Cunningham made a diving catch of a pop fly behind second base to end the game.

Altoona Curve rained out

The Altoona Curve and Erie SeaWolves were rained out in Erie, PA on Friday night. �That game will be made up as part of a double header on May 22nd. �The two teams will play their regularly scheduled (single) game on Saturday, beginning at 1 pm.

NOTES:

Former Pirate farmhand Danny Bomback has signed a contract with the Pittsfield Colonials of the (independent) Can-Am League.

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Harrison Is Curve Hero In The 14th; Latimore Leads Bradenton

Altoona Curve 1, �Richmond Flying Squirrels �0 (box)

2B Josh Harrison was the hero for the Curve tonight, when his walk-off single in the bottom of the 14th inning brought in 3B Jordy Mercer with the winning run. �Mercer had led off the bottom of the 14th by reaching on a fielding error at third. �A wild pitch allowed Mercer to move to third base, and C Kris Watts’ ground out to second advanced Mercer to third. �That put him in position to score on Harrison’s grounder through the hole into left field. �The Curve were almost out of players in the middle of the 14th. �Pitcher Derek Hankins started batting for himself in the 14th, but was hit on the helmet by his own foul tip, and only tomorrow’s starter Jared Hughes was available to pinch-hit.

Mike Crotta pitched 7 shut-out and one-hit innings for the Curve, dropping his ERA to 0.69. �He struck out 4 batters and walked none. �Crotta retired the first 16 batters he faced, and carried a no-hitter into the 6th inning, when he gave up a lone single. �He retired 5 more batters after that single, before hitting the showers. �Danny Moskos contributed 2 shut-out innings to the Curve effort. �He walked the first batter he faced, and gave up a single to the next one — one of only two times in the 14 innings when Richmond had two runners on base at the same time. �Moskos shut down the threat by retiring the next three batters, along with the 3 he faced in the 9th inning. �Ronald Uviedo took the mound for the 10th and 11th innings. �He gave up a walk, and got one grounder for a force out, and struck out the other 5 batters he faced, including striking out the side in the 11th.

Derek Hankins came on for the 12th inning. �He gave up a lone double in that inning, but left that runner on second base. �He walked a batter in the 13th, but also stranded him. �In the 14th, Richmond again put two runners on base, with a walk and a single, but Hankins got a ground out to end the threat. �Hankins was the pitcher of record in the 14th and he was credited with the win.

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