CURVE, Pa. - Mitchell Tolman ended the Altoona Curve's 2017 regular season in dramatic fashion, launching a walk-off, three-run homer in the 12th inning to beat the Harrisburg Senators, 7-4, on Monday at Peoples Natural Gas Field.
With the win, the Curve (74-66) clinched their first Eastern League Western Division title since 2010 and will meet the Bowie Baysox in the ELDS for a best-of-five series beginning on Wednesday night at Prince George's Stadium.
Tolman's home run was the first Double-A blast of his career after joining the Curve roster on Sunday.
With the score tied at 4-4 in the bottom of the 12th, Tomas Morales reached on a one-out double. After an intentional walk to Cole Tucker, Tolman went the other way to lift a three-run, game-winning homer over the left-field wall.
Altoona scored first with a pair of runs in the first inning. Tucker walked, stole second base and came around to score after an RBI single by Jordan George. Later in the inning with runners on the corners, Jin-De Jhang hit a sacrifice fly to score George, stretching the lead to 2-0.
Harrisburg quickly tied the game in the top of the second inning. J.T. Brubaker issued a walk to Khayyan Norfork with two outs, and Stephen Perez followed with an RBI triple to cut the lead in half. Later in the inning, Jake Lowery singled home Perez to tie the game, 2-2.
The Curve went ahead again in the bottom of the second. Michael Suchy led off the frame with a solo home run, his fourth of the year, to give Altoona a 3-2 lead.
In the top of the seventh, Perez hit a solo home run off of Curve reliever Tanner Anderson, his fourth, tying the game at 3-3.
Jonathan Schwind launched his second pinch-hit home run of the season in the bottom of the seventh to put the Curve back ahead, 4-3.
The back-and-fourth contest continued in the eighth. With a runner on third base and two outs, Darian Sandford hit an RBI single to knot up the ballgame, 4-4.
Altoona finishes the 2017 regular season with 18 extra-inning games, the most in franchise history. The club went 9-9 in those games, with nine wins tying the 2008 team for the most extra-inning victories in team history.
Brubaker fired six innings, allowing two earned runs on five hits, striking out six. Anderson and Luis Heredia each gave up a run in one inning of work. Tate Scioneaux tossed two scoreless innings and Yeudy Garcia pitched a clean 11th. Morales (Win, 1-1), a catcher, came in to pitch in extra innings for the second time in eight days and hurled a scoreless frame in the top of the 12th.
Senators starter Taylor Hill gave up three earned runs on six hits in six innings, striking out two. Derek Self (Loss, 4-3) surrendered the walk-off home run to Tolman in the 12th.
The Curve will send right-hander Mitch Keller to the mound on Wednesday for game one in Bowie. The Baysox have not yet announced a starting pitcher. First pitch will be at 7:05 p.m. at Prince George's Stadium.
Games three, four (if necessary) and five (if necessary) will be at Peoples Natural Gas Field on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Friday and Saturday's games will be at 6 p.m. with Sunday's game five (if necessary) at 1 p.m.
For tickets and more information, visit AltoonaCurve.com, call 877.99.CURVE or stop by the PNG Field box office.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.