Curve offense struggles in DH

BINGHAMTON, N.Y. — The Curve offense had a rough night in a doubleheader sweep Tuesday.

Altoona scored just one run in 14 innings, and that came on a homer by relief pitcher Beau Sulser. The rest of the guys who get paid to hit were shut out on only six hits on the night as the Curve lost, 7-0 and 5-1, at NYSEG Stadium.

Despite the struggles at the plate, Altoona still had a good chance to win both games.

The Curve trailed just 1-0 in game one before Binghamton exploded for six runs in the sixth inning. Game two was tied at 1-1 in the seventh when the Rumble Ponies won on a walk-off grand slam.

Curve reliever Blake Weiman ran into trouble immediately in the seventh innings of game two with back-to-back walks, then gave up a bunt single to load the bases with no outs. Weiman got a strikeout, then a grounder to third forced the second out at home.?That brought up Patrick Mazeika with two outs, and he walked it off in dramatic fashion with the grand slam.

Weiman (1-2) took the loss, while Ryley Gilliam (2-0) won in relief for Binghamton.

Sulser had given the visitors a 1-0 lead with a homer in the third inning, the first by a Curve pitcher since Alex McRae hit one in 2017.

Binghamton tied the game in the fourth with a run off Sulser.

The Rumble Ponies grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first game on a sacrifice fly by Barrett Barnes, a former Curve player and Pirates first-round draft pick in 2012.

Barnes, who’s now 27, is batting .322 in 18 games for Binghamton. He was in independent ball last year and batted .246 with 12 homers and 51 RBIs for Sugar Land in the Atlantic League.

The game stayed 1-0 until the sixth, when Binghamton finally got to starter Pedro Vasquez, who had been pitching well. The Rumble Ponies scored five more runs off Vasquez and added another off Tate Scioneaux for a 7-0 lead.

Lefty Anthony Kay (4-2) had a dominant performance for Binghamton in the first game, tossing a three-hit shutout with eight strikeouts and one walk.

Doubleheader recap

Key players: LHP Anthony Kay tossed a three-hit shutout in the first game, and 1B Patrick Mazeika had a grand slam in game two for Binghamton.

Key plays: The Rumble Ponies scored six runs in the sixth inning to snap a 1-1 tie in game one, and Mazeika’s walk-off grand slam finished the sweep.

Key stat: The Curve scored only one run in the doubleheader, and it came on a homer by a pitcher.

How they scored

First game

Bottom 4th: Gimenez singled, scored on Barnes sacrifice fly (0-1).

Bottom 6th: Gimenez singled, scored on Barnes double (0-2); Lee singled, scored along with Barnes on Mazeika double (0-4); Kaczmarski walked, scored along with Mazeika on Pizzano three-run homer (0-7).

Second game

Top 3rd: Sulser solo homer (1-0).

Bottom 4th: Sanchez singled, scored on Krizan single (1-1).

Bottom 7th: Barnes walked, Alcantara singled, Lee reached on fielder’s choice, all three scored on Mazeika grand slam (1-5).