Win: Nate Baker (4-4)
Loss: Toru Murata (6-6)
CURVE, Pa. - After being shut out for a 15th time on Saturday night, the Curve offense scored eight runs on eight hits while 13 men batted in the first inning to cruise to a, 8-3, win over Akron in front of 5,915 on Sunday night at Peoples Natural Gas Field. Outfielder Alex Dickerson, who was named the Eastern League's Rookie of the Year in a pregame ceremony, launched his 17th home run of the season, a three-run shot in the first, as part of a four-hit day where he reached base a total of five times.
Nate Baker (4-4) went right through the Aeros lineup in the first inning 1-2-3 to get his offense to the batter's box quickly versus Toru Murata (6-6). Alen Hanson and Adalberto Santos both singled to right to start the first before Dickerson jettisoned his three-run homer to put the Curve up, 3-0. The hits kept coming for the Curve as Tony Sanchez singled and Justin Howard doubled to put runners back and second and third still with no one out.
Murata retired Mel Rojas, Jr. for the inning's first out but he did not retire Andy Vasquez, who ripped a three-run homer down the line in right to make it, 6-0. Ali Solis singled following the homer and then Murata hit Drew Maggi to flip the lineup card over again. After a wild pitch moved both runners up, Hanson batted for a second time in the inning and stroked a sac fly to bring Solis home for a 7-0 Curve lead.
Santos added the inning's final run with a single of his own to bring Maggi home from second base. Dickerson walked following Santos' single before Sanchez grounded out to end the inning. Akron's Murata threw a total of 43 pitches in the inning.
That was more than enough run support for Baker, who did not allow his first baserunner or hit until the fourth inning when Tyler Naquin singled to start the inning. Akron scored both its runs off Baker in the sixth inning but the starter was able to limit the damage there. In his six innings of work, Baker allowed the two runs on seven hits with seven strikeouts and no walks. The seven strikeouts were a new season high for Baker.
Each member in the Curve lineup had a hit with Dickerson leading the way with four. Eight of the nine batters also scored at least one run in the win. Hanson, Howard, Santos, Vasquez and Solis all had multi-hit games in the win.
Altoona (63-78) will host Akron (67-73) for the final game of the 2013 season at noon on Labor Day with gates opening up at 11 a.m. It's the final Mirror Monday of the season and fans can get $3 Grandstand tickets with the coupon from the front page of the sports section in the Altoona Mirror. It's also the final Galliker's Curve Kids' Club Game of the season where kids club members can get in FREE to the game with their membership cards.
Fans are also encouraged to bring an unopened box of cereal to Monday afternoon's game with Akron to benefit the St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry. All fans that bring a box of cereal to donate will receive two Grandstand tickets for Monday's series finale.
On the mound for the Curve in the final game of the season will be LHP Eliecer Navarro (4-7, 4.34), who looks to close 2013 on a high note. He'll face Aeros' RHP Brett Brach (9-9, 4.88) on Monday.
Airtime on ESPN Radio 1430, WVAM and the Curve Radio Network is scheduled for 11:30 a.m. For tickets and more information on the final game of the 2013 season, call 877.99.CURVE, visit AltoonaCurve.com or stop by the ticket windows at Peoples Natural Gas Field.