CURVE, Pa. - The Altoona Curve notched their first walk-off victory of the season on Thursday, knocking off the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, 4-3, after Edwin Espinal was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth inning.
Altoona (19-12) beat New Hampshire (11-22) in the first meeting between the two teams this season. The Curve are now 10-2 at Peoples Natural Gas Field in 2017, the best home record for any team in baseball.
Down 3-2 in the ninth inning, the Curve started the rally with a single by Elvis Escobar and a one-out walk by Pablo Reyes. Kevin Kramer singled home Escobar to tie the game at 3-3, extending his on-base streak to 28 consecutive games. After Connor Joe was intentionally walked, Espinal was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to secure the win.
The Curve led 1-0 until the Fisher Cats scored three runs in the eighth inning. Sean Keselica allowed back-to-back singles and a walk to load the bases with nobody out. After striking out Harold Ramirez, Keselica induced a ground ball from Richard Urena, but a throwing error by Kramer allowed two runs to score. Gunner Heidt hit a sacrifice fly later in the inning to give New Hampshire a 3-1 lead.
Altoona countered by getting a run back in the home half of the eighth. With one out, Espinal blasted his second home run of the season, a solo shot, to cut the deficit to 3-2.
Altoona scored the first run of the night without the benefit of a hit. Jackson Williams and Escobar walked to begin the bottom of the third inning, and after a sacrifice bunt by Reyes, Kramer hit a sacrifice fly to give the Curve a 1-0 lead.
Altoona did not get their first hit until Jerrick Suiter singled to lead off the fifth inning.
Curve starter Austin Coley pitched a season-high six innings and held the Fisher Cats scoreless, allowing six hits and striking out one. Keselica allowed three hits and three runs (one earned) in 1 2/3 innings. Miguel Rosario (Win, 1-1) pitched 1 1/3 innings of scoreless relief.
New Hampshire starter Conner Greene allowed one run on two hits in five innings, and walked four and struck out three. Tim Mayza (Loss, 1-1) allowed the tying and winning runs to come across in the ninth inning. He allowed two hits, two earned runs and walked two in 1/3 of an inning.
Altoona will continue the brief four-game homestand on Friday for game two in the series against New Hampshire. The Curve will send right-hander Yeudy Garcia (1-2, 4.74) to the mound, while the Fisher Cats will counter with right-hander Francisco Rios (3-3, 3.86). First pitch is scheduled for 6 p.m. at Peoples Natural Gas Field.
Friday is Spring Cove School District Night, and the first 1,000 fans will receive a Central High School Dragon bobblehead, presented by Peoples Natural Gas. For tickets and more information, stop by the PNG Field box office, call 877.99.CURVE or visit AltoonaCurve.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.