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Curve ’pen coughs up lead in setback

From Mirror reports

The Curve were in good shape to win for most of Friday night’s game, only to have the bullpen struggle late in a loss to Richmond.

Altoona carried a three-run lead into the seventh inning, but the Flying Squirrels battled back. They scored once in the seventh, three times in the eighth and added two insurance runs in the ninth for a 6-3 win at Peoples Natural Gas Field.

Good start

Omar Cruz turned in a strong start for the Curve, tossing five scoreless innings and giving up just three hits. He struck out four and walked two.

Josh Bissonette’s RBI double and Matt Fraizer’s sacrifice fly gave the Curve a 2-0 lead in the fifth. Connor Kaiser singled home a run in the sixth to make it 3-0.

Cruz was in position to earn a victory when he left the game, but the bullpen collapsed late.

Bad finish

Richmond got a run in the seventh off reliever Nathan Kirby. The Flying Squirrels then took the lead with three runs in the eighth off Shea Murray (4-2) and added two more in the ninth off Will Gardner.

The Curve offense, trailing 4-3, opened the eighth inning with back-to-back singles from Jack Suwinski and Cal Mitchell. But Richmond reliever Raffi Vizcaino struck out the next three batters to get out of the jam and preserve the lead.

Vizcaino also worked the ninth to earn his third save.

Reliever Matt Seelinger (2-1) earned the win for the SeaWolves.

Stats and stuff

Bissonette, Kaiser and Ji-hwan Bae had two hits apiece for the Curve, but the rest of the lineup combined for only two hits.

Sandro Fabian went 3-for-5 with three RBIs for Richmond, while Will Wilson was 3-for-3 and David Villar hit a two-run homer as part of the three-run eighth inning.

Milestone game

Former Curve broadcaster Trey Wilson, who’s now with Richmond, called the 1,000th game of his career Friday night. Wilson posted on social media that 303 of those games have come at PNG Field.

Looking ahead

These two teams meet again at 6 o’clock tonight and Sunday, then the Curve will be down to just one home series the rest of the season.

Altoona will be off Monday and travels to Akron next week. The final homestand will be Sept. 7-12 against Erie.

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