Win: Matt Grace (5-1)
Loss: Ethan Hollingsworth (6-5)
Save: Aaron Barrett (22)
CURVE, Pa. - A benches-clearing brawl in the bottom of the fifth inning after both dugouts had previously been warned saw a total of six players/coaches ejected but when the dust settled, the Curve fell three runs shy in a, 8-5, series-opening loss. Adalberto Santos doubled in a run in the loss on Friday to extend his on-base streak to 15 games.
Both teams traded runs early before the Curve took a one-run lead in the third. Harrisburg's Carlos Rivero quickly tied it with his second solo homer of the game in the fourth. With the game tied at 2-2 after the Rivero homer, Charlie Cutler was hit by a pitch to start the fourth. He was later erased as part of a double play but he would be the first of three total hitters hit by a pitch on Friday.
Harrisburg opened up a five-run lead in the fifth inning and sent 10 men to the plate. As part of the mix in the fifth, Rivero, who had the pair of solo home runs, was hit by a pitch and both benches were warned.
In the bottom of the fifth, Senators starter Rob Gilliam hit Curve left fielder Mel Rojas, Jr. with the first pitch of the inning which sent Rojas, Jr. out to the mound. Both benches and bullpens emptied and a brawl erupted near the pitcher's mound that lasted a few minutes. When both teams had been separated, a total of six players or coaches were ejected from the game. Harrisburg's starter Gilliam, reliever Ryan Perry and manager Matt LeCroy were the ones that were ejected on Harrisburg's side. Rojas, Jr., infielder Drew Maggi and reliever Luis Sanz were the members of the Curve who were ejected.
When play resumed, the Curve were able to score a run off the new pitcher Matt Grace (5-1) when Alen Hanson drove home Oscar Tejeda, who replace Rojas, Jr. at first after he was ejected.
Harrisburg once again got the run right back to go up, 8-3. Tejeda and Andy Vasquez both delivered RBI hits in the bottom of the sixth to pull the Curve back to within three but those would be the last runs scored on the night.
Howard and Vasquez both had multi-hit games in the loss as the Curve collected five runs on a total of 10 hits. Starter Ethan Hollingsworth (6-5) was saddled with a loss after allowing seven runs (five earned) on 10 hits in five innings.
The Curve (54-63) host the Senators (64-55) once again at 6 p.m. on Saturday night from Peoples Natural Gas Field. Gates for the game will swing open early at 4 p.m. with the 15th season Softball Game featuring four former Curve players (Rico Washington, Mike Johnston, Dave Daniels and Chris Snusz), former Major Leaguer Mike Holtz and some members of the local media (Cory Giger, Matt Maisel) taking place at 4:15 p.m. The game will last approximately one hour or three innings and lead into the scheduled game with the Senators.
Making an appearance at Saturday night's game will also be the Pirate Parrot and his good buddies the Pierogies. After the game, kids can run around the bases.
On the hill on Saturday night for the Curve will be LHP Nate Baker (3-1, 6.14), who make his third start of the season. He'll be opposed by RHP Matt Swynenberg (3-0, 3.24) on Saturday.
Airtime on ESPN Radio 1430, WVAM and the Curve Radio Network is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. For tickets and more information on the Curve homestand, call 877.99.CURVE, visit AltoonaCurve.com or stop by the ticket windows at Peoples Natural Gas Field.