The Altoona Curve (50-43) held on for a 4-2 win over the Richmond Flying Squirrels (47-45) in front of 7,830 fans on Saturday night at The Diamond. The Squirrels mounted a ninth inning rally, aided by a homer and pair of Altoona errors, but could not muster the offense needed. The Altoona win evened the series at two games apiece heading into the rubber matchon Sunday afternoon.
Trailing 4-1 entering the ninth inning, Squirrels centerfielder Engle Beltre slammed a two-out home run over the right field wall. Catcher Eliezer Zambrano then grounded a weak roller to second base that should have ended the game, but second baseman Max Moroff threw the ball away. Pinch Hitter Devin Harris then skied a ball to left that was dropped by Edward Salcedo. Zambrano attempted to score on the play, as he rounded third base and was thrown out at home to end the game. Altoona closer John Kuchno earned the save by recording the final five outs.
Altoona opened up a 1-0 lead against Squirrels starter Adalberto Mejia in the first inning. Moroff doubled over the head of Myles Schroder in left and scored on a Josh Bell base hit, his 54th RBI of the season. Squirrels left fielder Hunter Cole tied the game with an RBI double in the third inning. With two outs, Rando Moreno lined a two base hit inside the first base line. Cole then rocked a double off the right field wall to tie the game at 1-1.
The Curve regained the lead on a 28 pitch inning off Mejia in the fifth. Third baseman Eric wood connected on a base hit to right with one out. Adam Frazier followed with a single and Wood came around to score on Morrof’s single to right. Mejia then walked Bell to load the bases and escaped by getting Jose Osuna to fly out to Cole in right field.
Mejia (4-2) rebounded after a rough start last Monday in Trenton to turn in a quality start. The lefty tossed six innings and allowed two runs on seven hits. Mejia threw 101 pitches in and walked two while striking out four in the loss. Altoona LHP Steven Brault (2-3) was slightly better than Mejia to earn the win in his sixth start at the Double-A level. Brault limited the Squirrels to just the one run on five hits over six innings of work.
Richmond relievers Phil McCormick and Stephen Johnson worked a scoreless seventh and eighth innings respectively. Altoona added a run in the 9th to take a 4-1 lead off reliever Derek Law. With two outs, Salcedo doubled and eventually scored on another hit from Moroff. It was the first post All-Star break appearancefor Law.
The Squirrels continue the homestand on Sunday with the finale of the series against the Altoona Curve beginning at1:35 PM. Richmond RHP Joe Biagini (7-5, 1.91) will face Altoona LHP Zack Dodson (1-3, 3.78). The Flying Squirrels Pregame Warmup will begin at 1:00PM on Fox Sports 910 and FoxSportsRichmond.com.