A strange way to get first victory
Some strange situations occur in baseball, and one of them unfolded Sunday afternoon as the Curve picked up their first win of the season.
Erie’s starting pitcher, Kyle Ryan, was lifted despite having a no-hitter going for 4 1/3 innings. And even though he didn’t allow a hit, he ended up taking the loss because his bullpen failed to prevent inherited runners from scoring.
Catcher Elias Diaz continued his hot start to the season with a two-run double against the SeaWolves’ bullpen to put the Curve on top to stay. They added three more runs in the eighth and posted a 5-1 win before 2,674 fans at Peoples Natural Gas Field.
“It’s something good for the team,” Diaz said of the club’s first victory after an 0-2 start.
Nick Kingham looked like an ace on the mound with six shutout innings, allowing just three hits, to give the offense a chance to figure things out.
“It’s awesome to get off on the right direction early,” Kingham said of his first start. “The first one, get it out of the way, there’s always like some nerves and stuff throwing. But it’s nice to get over with and have a productive start out of the way.”
Ryan walked Willy Garcia and Jarek Cunningham with one out in the fifth and was pulled after 76 pitches. Reliever Jeff Faulk retired Mel Rojas Jr., then Diaz ripped a double to bring home both runners for a 2-0 lead.
Diaz went 3-for-3 in the season opener Saturday night, then sat out the second game of a doubleheader. He was 1-for-2 Sunday, and he has four of the team’s 15 hits so far.
“I feel really excited for starting the season like that,” Diaz said.
“His confidence is through the roof,” manager Carlos Garcia said. “Definitely [his] approach at the plate probably right now is the best one we’ve got.”
Alen Hanson had an RBI triple and scored on a wild pitch as part of the Curve’s three-run eighth inning that broke open the game.
Kingham (1-0) struck out six and walked three in the victory.
The Curve’s pitching staff has allowed only eight runs through three games, for a 2.35 team ERA. The offense managed only four hits Sunday and has a .192 team batting average.
“I know the pitching is going to be good, the bullpen is going to be good,” Garcia said. “We’re just trying to get the offense going.”
That started to happen with some clutch hits Sunday, and the Curve played solid defense with no errors to go along with the strong pitching.
“We played good baseball, and that’s all we can hope for,” Garcia said.
Key player: RHP Nick Kingham pitched six shutout innings, allowing just three hits, in earning the victory.
Key play: C Elias Diaz doubled home two runs in the fifth inning for a 2-0 Curve lead.
Key stat: Diaz is hitting .800 (4-for-5) so far.
How they scored
Bottom 5th: Garcia walked, Cunningham walked, both scored on Diaz double (2-0).
Bottom 8th: Diaz walked, scored on Broxton single and Moya error (3-0); Hanson triple scored Broxton (4-0); Hanson scored on Valdez wild pitch (5-0).
Top 9th: Suarez singled, scored on Green single (5-1).