The SeaWolves (26-26) could not hang onto a late lead on Monday night at UPMC Park as they dropped the series opener to the Altoona Curve (25-29) 9-8.
Erie jumped ahead in the second against Curve starter James Marvel. Sergio Alcantara led off and snapped an eight-game hitless streak with a single to left. He moved to second on a groundout and to third on a wild pitch. Chace Numata lifted a sacrifice fly to left, scoring Alcantara for a 1-0 lead.
Altoona tied the game in the fifth against Erie starter Anthony Castro. Hunter Owen led off with a triple and scored on a Bligh Madris groundout.
Erie regained the lead in the bottom of the fifth when Isaac Paredes belted a solo home run to left for a 2-1 lead. It was his second home run of the season and first since Opening Night.
The SeaWolves added to the lead in the bottom of the sixth. Cole Peterson singled with one out and scored on a Numata double for a 3-1 lead. Numata would later score on an error for a 4-1 Erie advantage.
Altoona cut into the lead in the top of the seventh. Castro struck out Owen to begin the frame but he reached on a passed ball. With one out, Arden Pabst homered to left making it a 4-3 game.
The 'Wolves then took their largest lead of the game in the bottom of the seventh against reliever Joel Cesar. Jose Azocar and Josh Lester started the inning with back-to-back singles. Kade Scivicque doubled home both baserunners for a 6-3 edge. Alcantara was hit by a pitch and Peterson followed with a two-run double for an 8-3 advantage.
The Curve started the comeback effort in the eighth against reliever Brandyn Sittinger. With one out, Logan Hill walked and with two outs, Madris walked to extend the inning. Pabst singled to load the bases for Brett Pope. Pope drew a free pass to plate Hill to make it 8-4. Will Vest entered and retired Bralin Jackson on a flyout to right to retire the side.
In the top of the ninth, the SeaWolves stuck with Vest and the Curve quickly loaded the bases on a pair of singles and walk. Hill grounded out, scoring Jared Oliva making it 8-5. Owen followed and blasted a three-run home run to tie the game 8-8. Madris followed with a home run to right, giving Altoona it's first lead of the game at 9-8.
Erie went quietly in the ninth against Angel German who earned his second save tossing a 1-2-3 frame.
Vest (1-3) took the loss allowing five runs on four hits with a walk and two strikeouts.
Castro took the no-decision despite hurling a quality start. He allowed three runs, two earned, on four hits with a walk and a season-high eight strikeouts.
The SeaWolves and Curve continue the series on Tuesday morning at 10:35 a.m. Righty Logan Shore (2-4, 4.70 ERA) takes the mound for Erie against RHP Pedro Vasquez (3-1, 3.32 ERA). Tuesday is the first of back-to-back UPMC Health Plan Education days.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.