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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Negrych Sparks Two Rallies; Sanchez Homers

Erie SeaWolves 6, �Altoona Curve 5 (box)

DH Jim Negrych did his best to be the hero for the Curve in the afternoon game against the SeaWolves in Erie. �He tied the game with a 2-run homer in the 8th inning. �He hit a key 2-run double in the top of the 9th to give the Curve the lead. �But Erie’s C Max St. Pierre was having a better day. �On St. Pierre’s 30th birthday, he hit two home runs, including a walk-off blast in the bottom of the 9th to give the SeaWolves the win.

With Rudy Owens on the mound for his second start of the season, Erie took an early 2-run lead in the 3rd inning. �Owens had allowed only one hit over the first two innings, but the 3rd began with three consecutive singles, including one by St. Pierre, to bring in one run. �An RBI grounder brought in the second run. �C Kris Watts ended the inning when he threw out a runner trying to steal second base.

The Curve threatened in the top of the 3rd when LF Alex Presley and 2B Shelby Ford opened the inning with back-to-back walks. �A bunt moved them both up a base. �CF Gorkys Hernandez bounced to short for a fielder’s choice, and Presley appeared to slide in under the tag at the plate, but was called out. �Altoona did�get one of the runs back in the top of the 5th, when 1B Matt Hague led off the 5th inning with the first Curve hit of the game, a double down the left field line. �He went to third on a ground out, and Ford was hit by a pitch, making it runners on the corners. �SS Jose De Los Santos grounded to second base, for what should have been a double play. �But the speedy De Los Santos beat out the relay throw to first base, and the Hague scored from third base.

St. Pierre’s first home, a solo blast, run led off the 5th inning, to give the SeaWolves a 3-1 lead. �That lead lasted until the top of the 8th, when the Curve finally got another hit. �Gorkys Hernandez led off with a single, deflected off the glove of the Erie pitcher. �Jim Negrych hit a long fly ball down the right field line… but as the crowd held their breath, the ball drifted foul just at the last second. �Negrych came right back with another long ball, this one to right center where it had no chance of drifting foul. �This bomb was a 2-run homer to tie the game, Negrych’s first homer of the season.

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Power Pitchers Combine For Shutout

West Virginia Power �2, �Charleston River Dogs �0 (box)

Three Power pitchers combined to pitch a 7-hit shutout of the Charleston (South Carolina) River Dogs in a mid-day game in South Carolina today.

The River Dogs had at least one runner on base in every inning, but the Power pitchers did an excellent job of working out of small jams and big jams. �Nate Baker got the star for the Power, and he pitched 5 innings, scattering 3 hits and a walk. �He hit the first batter he faced in the bottom of the 1st, but picked him off first base. �Baker gave up a single later in the 1st and back-to-back singles in the 2nd, but both time ground balls ended the innings. �He also hit batters in the 3rd and the 4th innings, but a timely double play erased one, and a strikeout took care of the second. �The 5th inning was the first time that Charleston got a runner as far as third base against Baker, when the lead-off batter walked, was bunted to second, and moved to third on a ground out. �But Baker easily got another ground out to end the inning.

Gabriel Alvarado took over for Baker to begin the 6th inning. �He gave up a two-out double in that inning, but left that runner on base. �In the 7th, Alvarado gave up a lead-off single and hit the next batter with a pitch. �The next batter dropped a bunt down towards first base, where 1B Aaron Baker scooped it up and tried to throw to third base for the force out. �The throw was wide and actually hit the base runner in the head for an error. �All three runners were safe, and the one who had been hit was ok and was able to stay in the game. �Alvarado remained calm and first got a short fly out, then got the next batter to ground into an inning-ending double play to escape the jam without a run scoring. �Ryan Kelly earned the save with two more scoreless innings. �He gave up a lone single in each of the 8th and the 9th, and both times stranded the runner on base.

The Power batters only scratched out three hits against the River Dogs’ pitchers, but they made the hits count. �DH Kyle Morgan led off the 2nd inning with an opposite field double into left. �CF David Rubinstein moved Morgan to third base with a ground out to the right side of the infield. �RF Wes Freeman brought Morgan in with a sacrifice fly for a 1-0 lead. �That run stood alone for quite a while, as not too many more Power batters reached base. �2B Jarek Cunningham reached on a fielding error in the 4th, but was thrown out trying to steal second base. �Cunningham must have been jinxing the River Dogs infielders, because he made them commit another error when he led off the 7th inning. �Aaron Baker followed that with a single, putting runners on the corners. �Baker stole second base, and Freeman walked to load the bases with two outs. �LF Jose Hernandez had the remaining Power hit, a�single to deep short, bringing in Cunningham with the (unearned) insurance run. �The Power had two more base runners, but neither scored. �3B Adenson Chourio walked and stole base in the 8th, but was left stranded. �Morgan walked to lead off the 9th, but was forced out on a grounder by Freeman. �Freeman was then caught stealing to end the inning.

The Power now have a 3-4 record and stand in 4th place in the South Atlantic League Northern Division.

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