CURVE, Pa. - Will Craig blasted a go-ahead, three-run home run in the sixth inning and Brandon Waddell struck out seven over 5.2 innings to lead the Altoona Curve to a 5-1 win over the Akron RubberDucks on Saturday afternoon at Peoples Natural Gas Field.
The Curve (2-1) plated five unanswered runs starting in the sixth inning to pull away from the RubberDucks (1-2).
Trailing by a run in the bottom of the sixth, Craig hit his three-run homer over the seats in left field, his first at Double-A, to put the Curve ahead, 3-1.
Altoona added single runs in each the seventh and eighth innings on an RBI single by Jackson Williams and an RBI triple by Bryan Reynolds .
Waddell held Akron to four hits and issued one walk in his first of start of the season. RubberDucks designated hitter Sam Haggerty doubled off Waddell to lead off the visitor's portion of the sixth and later scored on an RBI single by Dorssys Paulino for Akron's lone run of the afternoon.
Altoona removed Waddell with two outs in the sixth and turned to Bret Helton (Win, 1-0) for his Double-A debut. The right-hander struck out his first batter, Mark Mathias, and went on to throw two more shutout frames, totaling 2.1 scoreless, one-hit innings.
Sean Keselica replaced Helton for his second outing of the year and worked a 1-2-3 ninth inning that included strikeouts of the final two batters of the game.
RubberDucks starter Michael Peoples (Loss, 0-1) matched Waddell with five scoreless innings to begin his first outing of the year and retired the first 10 Curve batters of the game. Peoples allowed two baserunners through the first five innings.
Stephan Alemais notched his second straight two-hit game (2-for-4) and Pablo Reyes also had multiple hits for the first time this season. Alemais and Reyes are the only two Curve batters to record a hit in all three games to open the 2018 season.
The Curve and RubberDucks play the final of the four-game series on Sunday afternoon. Top-ranked Pirates pitching prospect Mitch Keller will take the mound for Altoona, and Akron will turn to left-hander Sean Brady.
The first Sunday of the season will feature the first Ritchey's Dairy Kids' Club Game along with an appearance by Rubble and Everest, presented by the Comics Vault. First pitch at PNG Field is scheduled for 2 p.m. and the ballpark gates open at 1 p.m.
For tickets or more information, visit AltoonaCurve.com, call 877.99.CURVE or stop by the PNG Field offices.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.