LEADING OFF: Pittsburgh Penguins forward James Neal will be on hand to meet fans and sign autographs during tonight's doubleheader against Akron at Peoples Natural Gas Field. He will shoot a ceremonial first puck from the mound before the 5:30 opener, then later will sign autographs from 6:50 to 8:50 p.m.
SAFE AT FIRST: The Curve will wear special jerseys that are powder blue and in the style of hockey sweaters for game two of tonight's doubleheader.
STEALING SECOND: RHP Gerrit Cole, the Pirates' top prospect, will make his final home start tonight in game one. Cole has made 11 starts in Double-A and has a 3-5 record with a 3.25 ERA. He has held opposing hitters to a .236 average while striking out 56 with 17 walks in 52 2/3 innings. Cole's final start of the season is expected to be Saturday at Erie.
ROUNDING THIRD: Pitching coach Jeff Johnson will not be with the team the rest of the season as he's returned home to North Carolina for family reasons. His wife is recovering from cancer treatment and doing well, but he went back home to help with his two daughters as school starts.
HEADING HOME: The Curve are averaging 4,287 fans with one home series remaining. They're on pace for about a 2 percent increase over last year's final total of 4,205.
- Cory Giger