BOWIE - The Altoona Curve's late-inning struggles continued in their 8-7 loss to the Bowie Baysox on Sunday afternoon at Prince George's Stadium.
With the loss, the Curve set a franchise record with their 81st loss of the season. The previous record was in 2009 when the team finished 62-80.
With the Curve leading the Baysox, 7-5, in the ninth inning, Bowie scored three runs with two outs to give the Curve the single-season franchise record for losses.
The game looked promising for Altoona early on. With the wind blowing out strong to center field in the ballgame, the Curve took advantage. In the first inning, Keon Broxton hit a long flyball to center field, and was almost robbed of the homer by Bowie's Mike Yastrzemski, but the center fielder couldn't make the grab and the Curve took a 1-0 lead.
Curve starter Tom Harlan looked strong in the first inning by retiring the side in order on nine pitches, but he ran into issues in the second. Harlan gave up hits to each of the first four hitters, including three doubles. He was able to get out of the inning by inducing three fly outs, but the Baysox took a 4-1 lead.
Altoona fought back in the third with a sacrifice fly from Andy Vasquez and took advantage of the Baysox in the fourth to reclaim the lead. Kelson Brown hit a leadoff single up the middle to start the rally.
Two batters later, Matt Curry tapped a grounder to Bowie pitcher Anthony Vasquez, who couldn't handle the ball and committed an error. After a flyout, Dan Gamache made the Vasquez error costly when he blasted a three-run home run to right fpr a 5-4 Altoona lead.
Home runs continued to propel the Curve's offense in the fifth and sixth. Stetson Allie clubbed his second home run in as many days with a shot to left that sailed over both walls at Prince George's Stadium. Allie's homer led off the fifth and Ralph Henriquez blasted his second home run of the season, and his first since June 22, to lead off the sixth.
The Baysox got a run back in the sixth inning against Harlan. The southpaw gave up a leadoff double to K.D. Kang and struck out Michael Ohlman to finish his outing before Ryan Beckman came in and worked out of the inning but surrendered Bowie's fifth run to make it a 7-5 game.
Bowie rallied in the ninth inning with two outs to down the Curve. Mike Yastrzemski hit a one-out fielder's choice, stole second, and scored on an RBI single from Garabez Rosa. With the tying run on-base and two away, Collin Balester surrendered a walk to put the winning run on base. The right hander then squared off against the cleanup hitter Chris Marrero, who blooped a single to right that scored a run and tied the game. After a walk loaded the bases with two outs, Bowie's Michael Ohlman lined a pitch to left to give the Baysox the walkoff win.
Bowie's reliever Alex Santana (1-0) picked up the win after a scoreless ninth inning while Ballester (1-4) suffered the loss after he gave up three runs over 1.2 innings. Harlan went 5.1 innings and allowed five runs on seven hits with no walks and two strikeouts in his final outing of the season.
Altoona guns for the series split in the final game of the season this afternoon. Curve southpaw Joely Rodriguez (5-11, 4.75) will be opposed by Bowie's Zach Davies (10-7, 3.38). First pitch at Prince George's Stadium is at 2:05 p.m. while pregame on ESPN Radio 1430, WVAM, and the Curve Radio Network is scheduled for 1:35 p.m.
The Curve will open the 2015 season on April 2 at Harrisburg. The home opener is April 9 against Akron.