Wild Finish Gives Curve Victory in Home Finale

Andy Vasquez Scores Walkoff Run Final Home Game of 2014

Andy Vasquez scored the walkoff run for the Curve in the home finale on Thursday night at Peoples Natural Gas Field (Kevin Pataky)

By Mike Baggerman / Altoona Curve | August 28, 2014 10:16 PM ET

Curve, Pa. -  Altoona's home finale saw the hometown team walk it off for the seventh time this season in their 3-2 win over the Richmond Flying Squirrels on Thursday night at Peoples Natural Gas Field. Andy Vasquez tallied the walkoff run for the Curve when he scored on a stolen base and a throwing eror in the bottom of the ninth inning.

Altoona started their final home game off right with a run in the first. A bunt single by Drew Maggi started off the first go-around on offense for the Curve. Maggi then stole second and scored on an RBI single from Dan Gamache.

Richmond scored twice off of Pirates rehabbing pitcher Charlie Morton in the fourth inning. After walking the leadoff batter, Morton struck out Devin Harris and had the count an 0-2 on Angel Villalona before he tossed a fastball that was hit off the wall in left-center and scored the first Richmond run. After Morton struck out Ricky Oropesa for the second out, he surrendered a double to Eliezer Zambrano.

That rough fourth was the only blemish on the good overall outing by Morton, who was put on the Pittsburgh Pirates Disabled List with a sports hernia in his right hip. He worked a perfect first with a strikeout, got out of a jam in the second with runners on the corners, a perfect third, then, ran into the fourth inning mishap. Overall, Morton tossed four innings and allowed two runs on four hits with a walk and six strikeouts.

The bullpen for the Curve was marvelous in the victory by hurling five shutout innings. Matt Benedict started the solid performance by hurling three shutout innings and struck out two batters. Collin Balester followed with a shutout eighth inning and southpaw Nate Baker worked a scoreless ninth.

Altoona scored the walkoff run in the bottom of the ninth inning in front of 5,431 roaring fans. Andy Vasquez led off the inning with a single off former Curve pitcher Hunter Strickland. On a 1-0 pitch, Vasquez stole second but the throw from Zambrano deflected into the outfield which allowed the runner to advance. Manager Carlos Garcia gave Vasquez the go sign and he slid into home for the seventh and final walkoff win for the Curve this season.

Baker (3-1) picked up the victory for the Curve while Strickland (1-1) took the loss for the Squirrels. The Curve finished their season strong against the Flying Squirrels with seven wins in their final eight games against the Giants' Double-A affiliate.

With all the games in Curve, Pa. complete, Altoona will begin the final road trip of the season when they battle the Bowie Baysox for a four-game series at Prince George's Stadium. Southpaw Zack Dodson (4-8, 4.67) will take the hill for the Curve and he will be opposed by Baysox starter Nick Additon (1-1, 3.22). First pitch at Prince George's Stadium is at 6:35 p.m. while pregame on ESPN Radio 1430, WVAM, and the Curve Radio Network is scheduled for 6:05 p.m.

The Curve will return to action at Peoples Natural Gas Field on April 16, 2015 against the Akron RubberDucks. Season tickets are on sale now with special incentives including the Never Waste a Ticket program, early admission to all home games, and more. To purchase season tickets or for additional information, call 877.99.CURVE, visit AltoonaCurve.com, or stop by the front office at Peoples Natural Gas Field.  

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

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