AKRON, Ohio - Both the Curve and Akron had the potential go-ahead run on third base in the eighth inning Friday night. Akron capitalized, Altoona didn't.
The Aeros scored three runs in the eighth and held on against the Curve, 8-7, at Canal Park.
With the game tied, 5-5, the Curve had their chance to take the lead in the eighth with Jeremy Farrell on third and Anthony Norman at the plate with one out. Norman flew out right fielder Ben Copeland, who then threw out Farrell at home for an inning-ending double play.
Akron came to the plate in the bottom of the frame, and a two-run single from Michel Hernandez with two outs gave the Aeros the lead. Copeland then doubled to score Hernandez, a run Akron needed after Ramon Cabrera hit a two-run homer in the ninth for the Curve.
As if Copeland didn't do enough with his arm and bat in the late innings, with runners on first and second and two outs in the ninth, he made a game-ending diving catch to steal a hit away from Charlie Cutler.
The first four-and-a-half innings of were scoreless, but the contest became a back-and-fourth battle after Akron's Nick Weglarz opened up the scoring with a solo home run in the fifth. Each team put at least one run on the board in its final four innings at the plate.
Tonight: Altoona at Akron, 6:05 p.m.
Pitchers: Curve RHP Brandon Cumpton (7-3, 3.12) vs. Aeros LHP T.J. House (4-1, 2.82)
The Curve actually took a 4-2 lead in the seventh thanks to back-to-back RBI doubles from Brock Holt and Jarek Cunningham. However, the lead was short-lived as Akron pushed three runs across in the bottom of the inning.
It was one of the themes for the game, as every time the Curve scored (with the exception of the ninth inning), Akron answered right back with runs of its own.
Altoona starter Nathan Baker threw at least five innings for the first time since May 10, and he allowed two runs in 5 2/3 innings. But Altoona's usually reliable bullpen faltered.
Logan Kensing and Jeff Inman came on in relief of Baker and allowed three earned runs apiece. Inman (0-1) surrendered the three runs on two hits in the eighth and was saddled with the loss.
Kyle Landis (3-1), who allowed one hit and no runs in an inning of work, was the pitcher of record for Akron. Bryce Stowell gave up two runs on three hits in the ninth but held on to earn his first save.
Key player: Akron RF Ben Copeland was 2-for-4 with three RBIs and made a diving catch to end the game.
Key play: DH Michel Hernandez gave Akron a 7-5 lead with a two-run single in the eighth.
Key stat: The Curve's bullpen allowed six earned runs in 2 1/3 innings.
How they scored
Bottom 5th: Weglarz solo homer (0-1).
Top 6th: Cabrera doubled, scored on Durham triple (1-1); Farrell groundout scored Durham (2-1).
Bottom 6th: Neal singled, scored on Bellows double (2-2).
Top 7th: Norman tripled, scored on Holt double (3-2); Cunningham double scored Holt (4-2).
Bottom 7th: Weglarz doubled, Rohlinger singled, both scored on Copeland single (4-4); Kensing wild pitch scored Copeland (4-5).
Top 8th: Durham singled, scored on Farrell single (5-5).
Bottom 8th: Abraham walked, Stoneburner pinch ran for Abraham, Rohlinger walked, both Stoneburner and Rohlinger scored on Hernandez single (5-7); Copeland double scored Hernandez (5-8).
Top 9th: Cunningham walked, scored on Cabrera two-run homer (7-8).