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Owen’s walk-off lifts Curve

Hunter Owen knew it was gone right off the bat, and boy, did the Curve need it.

“It’s awesome. It’s a great feeling,” Owen said.

The first walk-off homer of Owen’s pro career lifted the Curve to a thrilling 4-3 win over New Hampshire on Saturday night before 5,048 fans at Peoples Natural Gas Field. Altoona trailed 3-2 entering the ninth before Owen won it with a two-run blast.

“Man, huge,” Curve manager Michael Ryan said. “That’s a big-time win for us. It’s the right guys in the right spot, able to get the job done. I’ve seen that type of game carry a lot of teams to end up having a good month.”

The Curve came in a season-high five games below .500 and were in position to win, up 2-0 entering the seventh. Then the Fisher Cats got a two-run single with the bases loaded, and a third run scored when second baseman Alfredo Reyes threw wildly to the plate for an error.

That would have been a tough way to lose.

Instead, the Curve won in the best way possible.

“When I hit it, I definitely knew,” Owen said of his game-winning blast, his team-leading 12th of the season. “It was just a weight lifted off our shoulders.”

Owen finished 3-for-4, as did Logan Hill, who singled right before Owen in the ninth.

“That’s what you’ve got to love about the game is it can turn at any instance,” Ryan said. “We played really good, and you don’t think about how well we played if the outcome’s a little bit different.”

Curve lefty Sean Brady took a shutout into the seventh before walking a couple. He wound up getting charged with two runs in a quality no-decision.

Angel German (2-1) won in relief for the Curve, while Vinny Nittoli gave up the walk-off homer to Owen to take the loss.

How they scored

Bottom 1st: Oliva reached on Capra error, scored on Hill triple (1-0).

Bottom 6th: Hill doubled, scored on Owen single (2-0).

Top 7th: Williams walked, Smith walked, both scored on Espinal single (2-2); Wall singled, scored on Reyes throwing error (2-3).

Bottom 9th: Hill singled, scored on Owen two-run homer (4-3).

Next stop

Today: New Hampshire at Altoona, 2 p.m.

Pitchers: Curve LHP Domingo Robles (0-0, 3.60) vs. Fisher Cats RHP Patrick Murphy (3-5, 3.99)

Record: 24-28

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