Richmond used a four-run second inning to take the game’s first lead on Tuesday night with some help from a Curve defensive miscue. With one on and no one out, Ricky Oropesa hit a ball back to Morris on the mound and he tried to go to second for the force play on the lead runner Jarrett Parker. Alen Hanson couldn’t handle the throw, committing the error and everyone was safe. Richmond scored its first run on the very next play with Devin Harris bringing Parker in from second.
Morris then went on to strikeout back-to-back batters before Tyler Graham singled on the infield to load the bases and Kelby Tomlinson grabbed a bases-clearing triple for the 4-0 lead. All four of the runs in the inning went unearned to Morris due to the error.
Altoona was able to answer in the fifth, scoring five times while sending nine men to the plate. It began with an Elias Diaz solo homer to get the party started. After Keon Broxton grounded out, Willy Garcia doubled and Jarek Cunningham walked. Morris came to the plate to help his own cause and shot a double down the right-field line to score Garcia from second and move Cunningham to third.
Now within two, the Curve didn’t wait long to tie it as Gift Ngoepe shot a triple to the opposite field to clear the bases and knot the game at four. Hanson followed with a sac fly to center to score Ngoepe and the Curve had come all the way back to take a, 5-4, lead.
It was short-lived, however, as the Squirrels scored twice in the bottom of the fifth off Morris to turn the scoreboard back around. Morris (5-1) finished five innings and allowed six runs (two earned) on eight hits while walking two and striking out six.
He gave way to Joan Montero, who permitted a run in his first inning of work to make it a two-run game and the Curve never were able to recover.
Altoona (20-31) will look to stop its four-game losing streak in the 6:35 p.m. game on Wednesday with Richmond (25-24) at The Diamond. LHP Zack Dodson (1-2, 2.66) gets the nod for the Curve in the second game of the series while Richmond also sends a lefty in LHP Kelvin Marte (2-2, 6.23).
--Altoona Curve Media Relations
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