The Altoona Curve (47-66) put up seven runs through the first two innings and never looked back, defeating the Richmond Flying Squirrels (66-46), 8-5, on Thursday night at Peoples Natural Gas Field. A night after using two position players on the mound, the Squirrels were forced to cover seven innings with the bullpen after right-hander Kyle Crick lasted just one inning.
Crick flirted with the Giants’ single-inning pitch limit in the first inning, throwing 36 pitches while permitting three runs. Alen Hanson signaled trouble ahead when he opened the inning with a triple to the right-field corner. Drew Maggi hurriedly made it 1-0 when he followed with a single to right-center field. Josh Bell then reached on an error before Stetson Allie grounded out to bring in a second run. Elias Diaz then capped the inning with an RBI double to right-center field that gave the Curve a 3-0 lead.
Crick survived the first, but was not long for the ballgame. Willy Garcia led off the second and homered to right field for a 4-0 lead. Crick then walked his mound-counterpart, Zack Dodson. Crick was lifted from the ballgame following the walk. Right-hander Jose Casilla entered and recorded the first out. However, he then walked Maggi to put two aboard. Bell followed with a bloop-single to load the bases and Allie cracked a two-run double off the warning-track in right-center field. Allie’s double plated two for a 6-0 lead. Diaz then made it 7-0 with an RBI groundout.
Crick (6-6) was saddled with the loss, lasting just an inning plus two batters. He was charged with five runs – four earned – on four hits. He walked one and struck out one in his shortest outing of the year.
Dodson, a lefty, did not allow a hit to the Squirrels through the first four innings. However, the Squirrels awoke offensively in the fifth to score three times. Dodson started his own problems by walking Angel Villalona to start the inning. Myles Schroder followed with a single and Tyler LaTorre reached on an error that loaded the bases. Ryan Lollis then sent a ground ball to the left-side of the infield. Maggi made a diving stop of the ball, but flipped it wildly into right field. Two runs scored on the error. An out later, Tyler Graham recorded an infield-single to cut the Altoona lead to 7-3.
The Squirrels pulled within two runs with another pair in the sixth. Devin Harris led off the inning and reached on an error. Villalona followed with a single to left field, the runners moving up to second and third on yet another Curve error. Schroder then lined a single to right field to plate Harris. LaTorre then grounded out to bring in Villalona and trim the Curve lead to 7-5.
Dodson (4-7) departed during the sixth inning, charged with five runs – just two of which were earned. He conceded four hits, walked two, hit one and struck out two. He earned the win, his fourth.
Altoona used right-handers Matt Benedict and Jeff Inman to take it the rest of the way. Inman handled the final two innings to earn his first save of the season.
The Curve scored their final run of the night off of lefty Steven Okert in the eighth inning. Okert walked Maggi, who promptly swiped second base. Bell then knocked him in with a single to center field.
Game two of the four-game series is scheduled for 7 p.m. on Friday night at Peoples Natural Gas Field. Richmond LHP Ty Blach (7-5, 6.09) will make the start against Altoona RHP Pat Ludwig (2-4, 6.09). The Flying Squirrels Pregame Warmupbegins at 6:30 p.m. on Sports Radio 910 and SportsRadio910.com.