Jason Delay’s three-run home run in the sixth inning gave the Altoona Curve the lead for good in their comeback, 8-4 win over the Erie SeaWolves Friday at Peoples Natural Gas Field.
The Curve (17-16) trailed 4-2, entering the bottom of the sixth when Delay launched a go-ahead, three-run shot to left field off SeaWolves (16-14) reliever Francisco Perez (1-1) for his second homer of the season. Delay, who doubled home a run earlier in the game, is 11-for-20 with six extra-base hits and nine RBIs in his last six games.
Logan Hill padded the lead in the seventh when he belted a solo homer to left, his third of the season. The Curve later tacked on two more runs in the eighth to push their lead at 8-4.
Two key defensive innings, highlighted by two excellent plays from Hunter Owen, kept the Curve in the game during the middle innings. With runners at second and third and no outs in the fifth, Owen snagged a low liner for the first out. He followed with the defensive play of the night on for the second out when he fielded a chopper off Taylor Motter’s bat. He fielded it on the backhand and dove to tag out the runner on third, Jake Rogers, for the second out of the inning. Beau Sulser (4-0) got the next batter to fly out to escape the jam. Sulser also worked around a leadoff triple in the sixth and logged 3.1 shutout frames in middle-relief.
Cam Vieaux started for the Curve and was ineffective, allowing four runs on six hits and three walks in 3.2 innings, his shortest outing of the season. Erie starter Casey Mize didn’t have his best stuff either, as he allowed two runs on a career-high seven hits and threw 92 pitches in five innings.
Six Curve hitters finished with multiple hits, including Delay who became the third Curve hitter this season with a four-RBI game. Hill, Bligh Madris and Mitchell Tolman all reached base safely three times, and eight different Curve hitters scored a run.
Blake Weiman struck out three batters in a scoreless eighth inning and Blake Cederlind rolled a double-play grounder and a game-ending flyout in a scoreless ninth to finish off the win.
The SeaWolves scored all four of their runs in the first four innings. Derek Hill, who had three hits and reached base safely four times, led off the game with a homer to left. Kody Eaves had an RBI triple and Cam Gibson finished a homer shy of the cycle.
The Curve and SeaWolves will play the middle game of their three-game series today at 4 p.m. The Curve will go with right-hander Scooter Hightower (1-3, 5.52), who will be opposed by SeaWolves right-hander Matt Manning (3-1, 2.27).