One ball flew over the fence, another hit it, and two more rolled less than 10 feet from home.
At the end of the night, they all looked good to Altoona manager P.J. Forbes Thursday night at Peoples Natural Gas Field during the Curve's season-opening 7-4 victory over the Erie SeaWolves.
"This group has a chance to be special as an offensive unit," Forbes said. "You saw that tonight. From top to bottom, we handled the bat, moved runners and laid down two sacrifice bunts."
Mirror photos by Gary M. Baranec
A wild pitch allows Robbie Grossman to score the Curve’s first run of the 2012 season on opening day Thursday at Peoples Natural Gas Field.
The victory in front of 5,354 fans improved the Curve's record in home season openers to 11-3 all-time.
The highly touted Altoona offense didn't take long to strike. Erie scored a run off of a hit batsmen, walk and single given up by Curve starter Mike Colla in the top of the first inning before Altoona struck for three runs in the bottom of the inning.
The first four batters reached base, including Jarek Cunningham, who hit an RBI double in his first Class AA at bat, and Tony Sanchez, who tripled home Cunningham.
Tonight: Erie at Altoona, 6:30 p.m.
Pitching matchups: Curve LHP Nathan Baker (10-8, 3.34 at high-A Bradenton in 2011) vs. SeaWolves RHP Zach Segovia (5-4, 3.98 at Triple-A Nashville)
Promotion: A visit from Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Antonio Brown
Robbie Grossman, who singled and scored in the first, made it 5-1 in the second with a home run to left center.
"I was looking for a good pitch to hit; I got it and put a good swing on it," Grossman said. "It is definitely something I'll remember."
Matt Curry was one of five Curve players with two hits. The 6-foot-1, 219-pound first baseman hit 15 home runs between Class A and AA last year but his biggest hit Thursday was a bunt.
The SeaWolves scored single tallies in the third, fourth and eighth innings to cut Altoona's lead to one before Jeremy Farrell singled in the bottom of the eighth.
Curry laid down what was to be a sacrifice bunt, but hit it to perfection down the third-base line and turned it into a single. Ramon Cabrera sacrificed Farrell to third and Curry to second, and Quincy Latimore drove both home with a single.
"One through nine, we are all capable of driving runs in," Latimore said. "But we're all going to be asked to bunt. Matt Curry bunted tonight, and Matt Curry can drive the ball out of the ballpark at any time. Those are the things the team is trying to do, anything to help the team win."
Altoona struggled in tight games a year ago with Noah Krol as its closer, but the relief corps got off to a good start in the opener. Kyle Cofield allowed just one baserunner while pitching a scoreless ninth for the save.
Matt McSwain, who was awarded the victory, Duke Welker and Cofield combined to pitch five innings of relief, allowed just two hits, one unearned run and struck out six.
"McSwain was outstanding; Welker was outstanding," Forbes said. "Cofield came through in his first opportunity. It was a good night for our bullpen."
Key player: Robbie Grossman singled in his at bat and then scored. Grossman followed by hitting a two-run homer in the second.
Key play: Quincy Latimore had a two-run single in the bottom of the eighth inning to give the Curve a three-run cushion after the lead had been trimmed to one.
Key stat: Each Curve starter had at least one hit.
How they scored
Top 1st: Brandon Douglas hit by pitch, scored on Rawley Bishop single (0-1).
Bottom 1st: Robbie Grossman singled; Brock Holt singled. Grossman scored on wild pitch. Holt scored on Jarek Cunningham double. Cunningham scored on Tony Sanchez triple. (3-1).
Bottom 2nd: Quincy Latimore singled, scored on Grossman home run (5-1).
Top 3rd: Jamie Johnson singled, scored on Jordan Lennerton sacrifice fly (5-2).
Top 4th: Robert Brantly homered. (5-3).
Top 8th: Bishop doubled, scored on Lennerton sacrifice fly (5-4).
Bottom 8th: Jeremy Farrell singled; Matt Curry singled, both scored on Latimore single (7-4).