MANCHESTER, N.H. – The New Hampshire Fisher Cats scored three times in the ninth inning to force extras and eventually downed the Curve, 7-6, on a walk-off single in the bottom of the 11th inning. The Curve could not convert on a save for the fourth straight game and have now blown 14 saves in 2014 while only converting 12.
Pat Ludwig surrendered a run in the first but the Curve offense was quick to respond in the second thanks to Jarek Cunningham. Elias Diaz singled for the first of his three hits on Thursday to start the inning before Willy Garcia followed suit two batters later. Richard Bleier (3-6) struck out Matt Curry for the second out but Cunningham was there to deliver the big hit with an opposite field homer on a 3-2 pitch. It was his fourth homer of the season and it put the Curve in front, 3-1.
They’d turn it into a 4-1 lead thanks to a Keon Broxton RBI single in the fourth and things once again looked good early. Ludwig did not allow a run over his final four innings and in total finished five frames while giving up just the one run on six hits.
Yao-Hsun Yang took over for the sixth and ended up allowing two runs with two down but the Curve still had the lead at, 4-3. They’d make it 5-3 in the seventh with a double off the bat of Alen Hanson to score Cunningham.
Emmanuel de Leon was called upon to pitch the seventh and eighth innings and faced one over the minimum to bridge the gap to the ninth.
Quinton Miller (1-2), who converted on the save try on Tuesday, was tasked with the ninth on Thursday and was unable to convert. After getting the first out of the inning, Kevin Nolan laced a double inside the bag at third to start the Fisher Cats’ rally. Kenny Wilson singled to put runners at the corners and then Jon Berti walked to load the bases. Andy Burns hit a sac fly to left that scored Nolan from third and moved the other runners up to make it a 6-4 game.
Mike McDade followed and hit a two-strike single through the middle that scored both runs to tie the game and eventually send it to extras.
Altoona tried to score first in extras in the 10th when Junior Sosa, who’d replaced Curry at second base as a pinch runner with two away, was thrown out trying to score on a single by Gift Ngoepe.
Drew Maggi got to third with less than two down in the 11th but the Curve were unable to bring him home. In the bottom of the 11th, New Hampshire won it on a bases-loaded, walk-off single by Burns.
Diaz and Maggi both had three hits in the loss while Curry and Ngoepe added two hits apiece.
Done with the Fisher Cats in 2014, the Curve (26-43) now travel to Portland, Maine to meet the Sea Dogs to start a five-game series across three days at Hadlock Field. The series will begin with the resumption of the game from June 11 back in Curve, Pa. with the Curve trailing the Sea Dogs, 2-1, in the bottom of the third. That contest will be finished to its completion (nine innings) before the second game of the day will take place.
Altoona and Portland will play the first of two games on Friday beginning at 6 p.m. with airtime of 5:30 p.m. RHP Joan Montero (2-1, 4.15) is expected to resume the suspended game for the Curve. RHP Kenn Kasparek (1-0, 2.08) is scheduled to start the second game of the night.
--Altoona Curve Media Relations