Richmond drops series opener to Curve

The Altoona Curve (6-7) got out front early and then held off the Richmond Flying Squirrels (7-8), 4-3, in the series-opener of a three-game set on Thursday night at Peoples Natural Gas Field.

The Squirrels got out quickly against Curve right-hander Brandon Cumpton in the first inning when Ryan Cavan delivered a one-out single.  A batter later, Wes Hodges drilled a double through the alley in right-center field.  Cavan scurried around from first for a 1-0 lead.

Altoona wasted no time drawing even, plating their own run off of Richmond lefty Mike Kickham.  Robbie Grossman led off with a single to left field and Brock Holt followed with a double off the base-of-the-wall in right field.  Jeremy Farrell tied the game, 1-1, with a groundout to the shortstop Ehire Adrianza.

In the second, it was a much quicker uprising for the Curve.  With one out, Quincy Latimore decked his first home run of the season, lining a pitch from Kickham into the bleachers in left field for a 2-1 Curve lead.

Kickham found more trouble in the third before retiring for the evening following the frame.  With two outs, Kickham walked Tony Sanchez.  Adalberto Santos followed and poked a single into right field.  Matt Curry then worked the count to 3-2 before drilling a two-run double to center field.  Sanchez and Santos both strolled in for a 4-1 lead.

The night lasted just three innings for Kickham (1-1), as he endured his first Double-A loss.  He allowed four runs, all earned, on six hits.  He walked two and struck out two, having used 63 pitches.

Richmond got a run back against Cumpton in the sixth and threatened for more with runners at second and third base with nobody down.  However, Cumpton calmly extinguished the threat and kept the Curve in front, 4-2.  Daniel Mayora drove in the Richmond run with a double down the left-field line.

Cumpton (1-2) departed to the win after six innings.  He avenged his hard-luck loss from five days back while allowing two runs on seven hits.  He walked one and struck out three.

The Squirrels narrowed the gap to a lone run in the eighth inning against Curve right-hander Duke Welker.  Adrianza brought home the run when he tripled into the right-field corner.  The Squirrels had Adrianza at third with one out, but Welker turned them aside to keep Altoona in the lead, 4-3.  Welker returned in the ninth and mowed the Squirrels down in order to preserve the win and earn his first save of the season.

Richmond relief pitching was stout in the loss, working five scoreless innings.  Right-hander Jake Dunning handled three innings, while Austin Fleet and Ari Ronick each worked one.

The Squirrels and Curve continue their four-game series Friday night at Peoples Natural Gas Field. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 PM as RHP Justin Fitzgerald (1-1, 3.68) will make the start for the Squirrels against Altoona RHP Aaron Pribanic (0-2, 3.24). Pregame coverage on Sports Radio 910 and SportsRadio910.com will begin at 6 PM.


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