The Altoona Curve rallied back after a steep deficit and held off a late charge by the Binghamton Rumble Ponies to avoid the sweep 9-8 Wednesday at NYSEG Stadium.
Logan Hill went 3-for-4 with three RBIs and put the Curve (19-19) ahead in the seventh with a two-run single to left off Matt Blackham. The go-ahead knock was set up by an RBI double from Mitchell Tolman to pull the Curve within one run against David Roseboom (1-1).
Jason Delay started the comeback charge with the first of three Altoona home runs. His two-run homer in the second, the third of the year by the catcher, responded to a five-run first frame by the Rumble Ponies (21-13). Down 6-2 in the sixth, Hill and Hunter Owen socked back-to-back solo bombs to draw within two. Hill’s homer was his fourth while Owen added his team-leading eighth.
The two squads traded two runs in the ninth to build up to the drama-filled ending. On a sacrifice fly to center by Jerrick Suiter, Tolman scored from third. Bligh Madris tagged from second base and scored on the play when Binghamton center fielder Sam Haggerty overthrew the third baseman as the Curve took a 9-6 lead into the bottom of the ninth.
After a scoreless eighth inning, Angel German allowed a double and walked two to fill the bases for Binghamton with no outs to start his search of a six-out save. Patrick Mazeika connected on a two-run double to right that put the Ponies within one run. German induced a groundout to short with the infield playing in for the first out of the ninth. Altoona chose to intentionally walk Kevin Kaczmarski to load the bases and set up a force at every base. The strategy paid off as Mike Paez hit a grounder to Owen at third, who threw home to the catcher Delay and started a 5-2-3, game-ending double play.
After a walk-off grand slam on Tuesday night, Binghamton’s Mazeika drove in six of his team’s eight runs in defeat. He capped off the five-run first frame with a three-run homer and singled home one run during the second to increase Binghamton’s early lead to 6-2 after two innings.
Despite the early deficit, Sean Brady (1-3) battled through six innings for his first win in the Pirates organization. Following Mazeika’s RBI single in the second, he retired 12 of his last 15 batters to keep the Curve within striking distance.
The victory over Binghamton broke up a three-game losing streak for Altoona.
The Curve welcome the Harrisburg Senators to PNG Field today with a 6 p.m. first pitch. Left-hander Cam Vieaux (1-2, 3.38) will start for Altoona against Senators righty Wil Crowe (4-1, 1.89).