Michael Crotta made his second superlative start of the young season on Tuesday night, yielding just one hit over seven scoreless frames in the Altoona Curve's 1-0, 14-inning win over the Richmond Flying Squirrels.
The Florida Atlantic product was coming off an Opening Day victory over Harrisburg on Thursday in which he gave up one run on one hit over six frames. Eastern League batters are 2-for-42 (.048) in 13 innings against Crotta this season.
On Tuesday, the 25-year-old right-hander racked up 16 ground-ball outs against just one flyout. Jackson Williams' line-drive single with one out in the sixth was the only flaw in Crotta's night.
"I'm a definite sinkerball pitcher," Crotta said. "When things are going well, I'm getting ground-ball outs."
Crotta all of last 2009 season with Altoona, going 7-8 with a 4.76 ERA in 27 starts. He was the Pirates' 17th-round Draft pick in 2006.
"I worked mostly on my slider and pitching to left-handed batters in Spring Training," he said.
A year ago, lefties hit .319 off him; they are 0-for-23 in 2010.
Second baseman Josh Harrison was the Curve's hero at the plate, going 3-for-5 and singling home the only run with two outs in the 14th inning. Chase d'Arnaud doubled and singled.
Though Crotta's performance shone brightest, it wasn't the only strong outing at Blair County Ballpark. Altoona relievers Daniel Moskos and Ronald Uviedo tossed two scoreless innings apiece, with Uviedo striking out five. Derek Hankins earned the win, allowing two hits over three frames.
For the Flying Squirrels, veteran starter Mike MacDonald limited the Curve to four hits in six frames and Tony Pena allowed one hit over three scoreless innings. Richmond totaled only four hits, however.
Altoona has won five of six games to open the season, outscoring opponents, 21-9.