Win: Jordan Cooper (1-0)
Loss: Casey Sadler (3-2)
Save: Bryce Stowell (2)
CURVE, Pa. - A late ninth-inning rally fell one run short for the Curve on Wednesday night in a, 5-4, loss to the Akron Aeros. Altoona scored once in the inning before stranding the tying run on the bases at first.
The Curve trailed by a pair entering the ninth inning and were going up against Aeros RHP Bryce Stowell for a second straight inning. Andrew Lambo lined out for the inning's first out but Jarek Cunningham grabbed his second extra-base hit of the game, this time a double to deep centerfield. Alex Dickerson followed the double with a single through the right side to bring Cunningham in and cut the Aeros lead to one.
Manager Carlos Garcia then sent Andy Vasquez, who was riding a nine-game hit streak, to the plate in a pinch hitting role with the tying run on at first. Vasquez struck out for the inning's second out before Stowell also retired Charlie Cutler via the strikeout to end the threat and the game.
Starter Casey Sadler allowed three runs in six innings before he came to try and start the seventh inning. It actually began well for the Stillwater, Okla. native with him retiring Jake Lowery and Jose Ramirez for the first two outs of the frame. With two strikes, Tyler Holt bunted a ball back in front of the plate that went for an infield single. Chun Chen followed Holt's two-out hit with a home run to left that placed the Aeros in front, 5-2, and proved to be the deciding run in the game.
Sadler was able to finish the inning with a groundout by Quincy Latimore. All told, Sadler permitted five runs (all earned) on nine hits with a pair of strikeouts and walks. It's the third time this season Sadler has finished seven frames, which once again ties his career high for innings pitched in a single game.
The Curve led for a brief period on Wednesday night after Cunningham smashed his third homer of the year, a solo shot in the second, to give Altoona the early lead. Akron responded with three runs in the third that were aided by three Curve errors in the frame.
Aeros starter Mike Rayl was unable to finish five innings to qualify for the win because he left before the inning began due to an injury. In his four innings, Rayl gave up two runs on five hits with two strikeouts. Jordan Cooper (1-0) pitched three scoreless innings in support of Rayl to earn the win.
Cunningham, Cutler, Dickerson and Mel Rojas, Jr. each had two hits in the loss for the Curve while Adalberto Santos was able to reach via the walk to run his on-base streak to 11 games.
Looking to end the homestand with a win and a series split, the Curve (11-15) will host the Aeros (12-14) at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday morning at Peoples Natural Gas Field. It's our second Education Day of the season and it's also a Thirsty ThursdayTM presented by Rocky 104.9. Fans can get $2 16oz. Miller Lite drafts on special during Thursday morning's game. 22oz sodas will also be half-priced as part of the Thirsty ThursdayTM promotion.
To the hill in the homestand finale for the Curve will be RHP Jameson Taillon (2-2, 3.03), who searches for his third win of the season in his first start of the year versus Akron. The Aeros counter with RHP Danny Salazar (1-3, 3.57) in the series finale.
Gates swing open at 9:30 a.m. while airtime on ESPN Radio 1430, WVAM and the Curve Radio Network is scheduled for 10 a.m. For tickets and more information, call 877.99.CURVE, visit AltoonaCurve.com or stop by the ticket windows at Peoples Natural Gas Field.