AKRON, Ohio - The Altoona Curve knocked off the Akron RubberDucks, 6-5, in the opener of this weekend's four-game series on Friday night at Canal Park.
The Curve (44-40) pitching staff combined to strand 13 runners on base as the RubberDucks (43-39) went 3-for-14 with runners in scoring position on the night.
Trailing 1-0 in the second, Jerrick Suiter doubled and scored on a throwing error by Akron second baseman Tyler Kreiger off the bat of Jin-De Jhang to tie the score. Michael Suchy put the Curve ahead, 2-1, with a fielder's choice groundout to score Jhang later in the inning aganst Akron starter Michael Peoples (Loss, 2-4).
Altoona added four runs in the third inning to open a 6-1 lead. Suiter clubbed a two-run double to right field, his ninth his a nine-at-bat stretch. Jhang brought home Edwin Espinal with a groundout and Wyatt Mathisen plated Suiter with a single to cap the frame.
Akron closed the gap. Eric Haase hit a solo homer in the third inning against Cody Dickson to pull the RubberDucks back within four. Kreiger brought in a run in the fifth inning with a single. Haase added another solo homer in the seventh and Luigi Rodriguez closed the gap to one with a run-scoring double later in the inning.
The Curve added insurance in the ninth when Pablo Reyes hit a two-run homer, his fourth of the season, to push the lead to 8-5.
Akron brought the tying run in the plate in the bottom of the ninth, but Miguel Rosario (Save, 3) struck out pinch-hitter Bobby Bradley to end the game. Rosario struck out the side in the ninth and had four total punchouts in his two innings.
The RubberDucks loaded the bases with no outs in the first inning. Dickson struck out Haase for the first out, and after the sacrifice fly by Chang, Dorssys Paulino grounded out to end the inning with just one run allowed.
In the second, Akron again loaded the bases with no outs in the second inning, but Jordan Smith bounced into a 1-2-3 double play started by Dickson and Joe Sever lined out to left to end the inning with no runs scored. In the third, Akron had runners on second and third with one out, but Dickson struck out Kreiger and worked a groundout from Rodriguez to end that threat.
In his third start this year for Altoona, Dickson pitched 3.2 innings and allowed two runs on eight hits with two walks and three strikeouts.
Pitching for the Curve for the first time since August 24, 2013, Casey Sadler (Win, 1-0) worked 2.1 innings and allowed one run on two hits with no walks and three strikeouts. Luis Heredia allowed two runs on three hits while working the seventh.
Suiter had hits in his first two at-bats before flying out in the fifth inning, snapping a stretch of ten straight plate appearances reaching back, nine hits in nine and bats and eight straight plate appearances with a hit. During that streak, Suiter went 9-for-9 with a homer, two doubles, a walk and five RBIs.
Kevin Newman and Mathisen each had three hits in the game.
The Curve and RubberDucks continue the series on Saturday night with a double-header. Right-hander Austin Coley (2-2, 2.87) will pitch game one for the Curve, opposed by Akron lefty Thomas Pannone (4-1, 2.15). First pitch for game one is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. at Canal Park. Game two will follow, with lefty Sean Keselica (4-1, 1.99) pitching for the Curve and right-hander Nick Pasquale (3-6, 5.82) pitching for the RubberDucks.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.