Hill’s home run a big deal

Next stop

Tonight: Altoona at Erie, 7:05 p.m.

Pitchers: Curve RHP Cody Bolton (0-1, 7.71) vs. SeaWolves RHP Spencer Watkins (2-1, 4.08)

Record: 48-39

From Mirror reports

ERIE — The Curve offense stunk up Erie’s UPMC Park for pretty much the entire game Friday night — except for one at-bat.

That one at-bat was enough, though, to help carry the team to victory.

Altoona set a franchise record by striking out 18 times, but Logan Hill homered in the fourth inning for the game’s lone run in a 1-0 victory over Erie.

Six days ago, the SeaWolves struck out 17 Curve hitters, tying the dubious franchise record. But Altoona, which had only two hits, somehow found a way to win that game as Bligh Madris had both hits and three RBIs in a 3-2 win Sunday at Peoples Natural Gas Field.

Friday’s game unfolded in similar fashion, and Erie even had the same pitcher on the mound as last Sunday. Lefty Tarik Skubal struck out 11 over five innings in his Double-A debut Sunday, and Friday he fanned 10 in five innings.

But Skubal (0-1) gave up the homer to Hill leading off the fourth inning, and that was the only damage either team did all night.

Erie reliever Nolan Blackwood struck out seven Curve batters in three dynamite innings, then Trent Szkutnik fanned one in the ninth to set the new record at 18.

Ironically, Madris was the McDonald’s strikeout guy for the game — Erie does that promotion for home games the same as the Curve — and he was the only Altoona hitter not to strike out.

The top four hitters in the order — Mitchell Tolman, Chris Sharpe, Jared Oliva and Hill — each struck out three times. Altoona managed only three hits but got the one that mattered most from Hill.

Curve lefty Brandon Waddell (2-1) was superb, tossing six shutout innings and allowing five hits while striking out seven with one walk.

Brett Cederlind followed with two shutout innings of relief, then Matt Eckelman converted his 17th consecutive save this season with a perfect ninth to finish off the shutout.

Game recap

Key player: LHP Brandon Waddell tossed six scoreless innings to outduel Erie LHP Tarik Skubal, who struck out 10 in five innings but allowed a homer for the loss.

Key play: DH Logan Hill’s leadoff homer in the fourth was the game’s lone run.

Key stat: The Curve set a franchise record by striking out 18 times.

How they scored

Top 4th: Hill solo homer (1-0).

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