The Altoona Curve set the tone early with a 13-6 victory over the Erie SeaWolves on Saturday at UPMC Park.
Altoona struck early with a big first inning. Endy Rodriguez drew a two-out walk against Wilmer Flores. Henry Davis moved Rodriguez to second on a single. Malcom Nunez doubled in both baserunners. Connor Scott followed suit with an RBI double. Aaron Shackelford brought in Scott with an RBI single to give the Curve a 4-0 lead.
Bryant Packard greeted Carmen Mlodzinski with an infield single to open the bottom of the first. Parker Meadows doubled and Packard moved to third. Quincy Nieporte lifted a sac fly to cut the deficit to 4-1.
Matt Fraizer and Liover Peguero both singled to begin the second. Nick Gonzales was then hit by a pitch which ended Flores’s outing. Gerson Moreno came out in relief and allowed a two-run double to Rodriguez. Gonzales advanced to third on the Rodriguez double and came around to score on a wild pitch from Moreno. The misfire moved Rodriguez to third and was driven in on a sac fly from Scott to pull the Curve ahead, 8-1.
The SeaWolves picked up a run in the bottom of the second. Michael De La Cruz went to first on a one-out single. Jon Rosoff nearly hit a home run but settled with an RBI double to put Erie on the board for the second straight inning.
Altoona tacked on four more runs in the fifth. Nunez had a leadoff single against Tim Holdgrafer. Scott walked and Shackelford cranked a three-run homer. Fraizer had a one-out single and Peguero reached on an error from Gage Workman. Gonzales hit an RBI double to right to put the Curve on top, 12-2.
Erie put pressure on Mlodzinski in the bottom of the fifth. Andrew Navigato roped a one-out double. Meadows collected his second two-bagger of the day to bring in Navigato. Nieporte grounded out and advanced Meadows to third. Dane Myers laced an RBI triple to make it a 12-4 game.
The SeaWolves tacked on one more in the sixth. Trei Cruz reached on an error from Peguero. Rosoff then singled off of Nick Dombkowski to send Cruz to third. Packard hit a sac fly to cut the deficit to 12-5.
Altoona extended its lead in the seventh. Peguero poked a two-out single against Billy Lescher. Gonzales added in his second RBI double of the day to make it a 13-5 ballgame.
Erie showed some life in the ninth. Navigato cranked a solo homer off of Austin Roberts to make it a 7-run game. It was his 15th long ball of the season.