BOWIE, Md. - Three Bowie home runs sparked a late rally, but 10 early runs helped the Altoona Curve clinch the Western Division in a 10-8 win over the Baysox in front of 3,846 at Prince George's Stadium Sunday afternoon.
For the third game in a row, Altoona (78-59) jumped out to an early lead, scoring a pair of runs on a Will Craig double and a Logan Hill groundout. The Curve tacked on two more in the second inning to increase their margin to 4-0.
Five runs crossed the plate for the visitors in the top of the third inning off Bruce Zimmermann and Chris Lee, but Bowie stopped the shutout bid in the bottom of the third inning. With one out, Austin Hays lined a comebacker past the glove of RHP Logan Sendelbach into center field, scoring Rylan Bannon for his 39th RBI of the season.
The Baysox (66-71) crept closer with six runs in the sixth inning. After Corban Joseph led off with a single, Ryan Mountcastle lined his 13th home run of the season just over the left field wall to cut the Altoona lead to 10-3. Brett Cumberland followed suit, sending a towering grand slam to the scoreboard in right-center field for his third long ball of the year. Hays would tack on a solo home run in the ninth inning for his 11th of the year and 2nd RBI of the day.
Defensively, LHP Zach Muckenhirn got the Baysox going with four scoreless innings to stop the early Altoona offense. The Minnesotan struck out three batters in those four frames, both qualifying for at least a tie of his previous season-high during his Double-A tenure. Muckenhirn completed three perfect innings, while benefiting from a sixth-inning double play in the other frame. RHP Michael Kelly also forced a double play to face the minimum in a scoreless ninth inning.
The 2018 season comes to a close Monday afternoon at 1:35 p.m. The Labor Day contest between the Baysox and Curve is also the last Mutt Monday game of the season, in which all fans can bring their dogs to the ballpark as long as they have proper tags and vaccinations.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.