Keller, bullpen toss shutout as Curve take series finale

Reyes, Craig deliver two RBIs each to support stellar start by Pirates' top-ranked prospect

Altoona Curve pitcher Mitch Keller (Rob Lynn/Altoona Curve)

By Garett Mansfield / Altoona Curve | April 8, 2018 5:53 PM ET

CURVE, Pa.  - Mitch Keller fired six scoreless innings and received offensive support from Pablo Reyes and Will Craig to propel the Altoona Curve to a 4-0 victory over the Akron RubberDucks on Sunday afternoon at Peoples Natural Gas Field.

 

The win over the RubberDucks (1-3) seals the first series win of the season for the Curve (3-1), who are now in a first-place tie with the Erie SeaWolves atop the Western Division.

 

Keller (Win, 1-0) set the tone for the Curve's first shutout of 2018 and held Akron to two hits with eight strikeouts. Pittsburgh's top overall prospect, according to Baseball America and MLB.com, did not allow a single baserunner to pass second base.

 

Tweet from @AltoonaCurve: New year, same Mitch.@mkeller11 with eight strikeouts over six scoreless innings in his 2018 debut pic.twitter.com/rMgfKbw36p

 

Reyes put the Curve on the board in the second inning on a two-run double to left-center. For the second day in a row, Craig launched a home run, a two-run shot to left field to pad Altoona's lead to 4-0.

 

Tweet from @AltoonaCurve: ������ days, ������ 💣s for @WCraigers22 A ������-run blast stretches the Curve lead to 4-0 through five#FullSteamAhead pic.twitter.com/wj0aWCzpSq

 

Tate Scioneaux made his second outing of the season in relief of Keller, and the Louisiana native tossed two scoreless frames through the eighth with two strikeouts.

 

Geoff Hartlieb came on for the ninth and sat the RubberDucks down in order to complete the shutout in his second Double-A appearance.

 

Tweet from @AltoonaCurve: FINAL - Curve 4, 'Ducks 0@mkeller11, @Tatecno_18 and @ItsGeoffNotJeff combine for a three-hit shutout to close out the weekend pic.twitter.com/Gz8pcuN4TF

 

The Altoona offense loaded the bases with no outs in the third inning against Akron starter Sean Brady (Loss, 0-1), but the Curve failed to score.

 

Stephan Alemais singled in his final at-bat of the game to join Reyes as the lone Curve hitters to have at least one hit in all four games to start the new campaign. Cole Tucker had a pair of singles from the leadoff spot to record his second game with multiple hits and extended his on-base streak to 20 games dating back to 2017. Wyatt Mathisen reached base three times on two walks and an eighth-inning double in his 2018 debut.

 

Through their first four games, Altoona starting pitchers have surrendered just two earned run through a combined 22.2 innings (0.79 ERA).

 

The Curve open a three-game series with their Route 22 rivals, the Harrisburg Senators, on Monday night. The Pirates' top-ranked left-handed pitching prospect Taylor Hearn will start for Altoona in his Double-A debut, and Harrisburg will start right-hander Wirkin Estevez.

 

The first-ever Mitsubishi Monday will highlight Monday's series opener. Fans can pick up free Grandstand tickets every Monday for that night's game at PNG Field throughout the season at Five Star Mitsubishi in Altoona. First pitch at PNG Field is scheduled for 6 p.m. and the ballpark gates open at 5 p.m.

 

For tickets or more information, visit AltoonaCurve.com, call 877.99.CURVE or stop by the PNG Field offices.

 

-CURVE-

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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