Curve, Pa.- The Altoona Curve tried to stage a late rally against the Akron RubberDucks and put the winning run in scoring position but ultimately fell 5-4 Friday night at Peoples Natural Gas Field. Trailing 5-1, the Curve scored three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning off Akron's bullpen but ultimately lost their fourth game against the 'Ducks this season.
The Curve tallied the first run of the ballgame and took a 1-0 lead in the fourth inning. After Stetson Allie drew a one-out walk, he advanced to second on an infield single by Mel Rojas, Jr., and scored on an RBI single by Elias Diaz.
A sacrifice fly by Francisco Lindor in the fifth tied the game at one, and Adrian Sampson exited the game with two outs in the fifth. In relief, Jhonathan Ramos inherited two runners and struck out Brian LaHair to end the 'Ducks scoring threat.
Akron took their first lead of the game in the seventh inning. After a fielder's choice allowed Tyler Naquin to reach base, Lindor hit his third home run of the season and collected his third RBI of the game with a two-run blast to left that gave the RubberDucks a 3-1 advantage. Akron tacked on a couple more runs in the eighth to take a 5-1 lead.
In the ninth, Altoona staged a comeback. Three consecutive one-out singles by Jarek Cunningham, Justin Howard, and Keon Broxton put the bases loaded for Alen Hanson who hit a two-RBI double and cut the RubberDucks lead to 5-3. After Gift Ngoepe hit an RBI groundout that advanced the tying run to third, Allie drew a walk and stole second to put the winning run in scoring position. However, the Curve failed to get any more runs across.
Sampson (3-2) started the game for Altoona and did not factor into the decision. The right hander allowed one unearned run on five hits with a walk and three strikes tallied. Ramos (1-2) took the loss after allowing two runs over 2.1 innings. Akron starter Cody Anderson (2-2) picked up the win and Shawn Armstrong retired one batter to register his second save of the season.
Altoona (11-14) and Akron (15-11) will continue their four-game series with a doubleheader on Saturday at Peoples Natural Gas Field. Fans who come out to Saturday's twinbill will enjoy postgame fireworks presented by US Foods and after the game, all kids will be allowed to run the bases.
RHP Tyler Sample (2-0, 1.00) will pitch for the Curve in the first game of the doubleheader and will square off against Akron's Gabriel Arias (2-2, 3.32). In the second game, LHP Brandon Mann (1-2, 2.20) will start on the bump in the second game for Altona against RHP Joe Colon (1-2, 3.14)
Gates open at 3:30 p.m. for the first game of the doubleheader while airtime on ESPN Radio 1430, WVAM and the Curve Radio Network is scheduled for 4 p.m. For tickets and more information, visit AltoonaCuve.com, call 877.99.CURVE, or stop by the box office at Peoples Natural Gas Field.