Shackleford wins it for Curve
Saturday: Somerset at Altoona, 4 p.m.
Pitchers: Patriots RHP Luis Medina vs. Curve RHP Mike Burrows
Sunday: Somerset at Altoona, 1 p.m.
By Matt Michelone
For the Mirror
After having plenty of bad bounces this season, the Curve finally got one to go their way on Friday night.
During the bottom of the 10th inning, Aaron Shackelford’s line drive just got over the second basemen’s glove as the Curve rallied for the 2-1 win over Somerset before 5,538 fans at Peoples Natural Gas Field.
“I didn’t hit it great, but I was thinking just touch the ball, get it in play and make him make a play,” Shackleford said. “I’m just super thankful it found a hole.”
It was the club’s first extra innings win following a 1 hour, 3-minute rain delay.
A familiar spot
If you look back at last season, many of these same members who were part of the Greensboro squad experienced early struggles in the record book before they went on to win the High-A East championship.
“We had a similar experience last year in High-A (Greensboro), and we ended up going to the championship,” Shackleford said. “I think maybe we’re just a slow starting team. We’ll figure it out. We got so much talent in there.”
Integrated Baseball Performance coach Blake Butler noted that this is part of the process as they evolve.
“Some of them have been in situations like this, but some of them haven’t,” he said. “Some of them haven’t really failed yet in the minor leagues yet, and they’re learning how to deal with that.
“Ultimately we want all of these guys to get to Pittsburgh and be on a winning club there. I’d rather them go through it now than when they get there.”
Butler was the acting manager as Curve manager Kieran Mattison was absent to attend to a personal matter. He is expected to be back for Saturday’s game.
SUBHD: Bullpen’s big day
The Curve bullpen came up big, having to replace Carmen Mlodzinski, who was scratched from his scheduled start after suffering a shoulder injury in his throwing arm.
Zach Matson, Travis MacGregor, Colin Selby, Emmanuel Meija and Will Kobos combined for 19 strikeouts.
That is one short of the franchise record for most strikeouts in a single game of any length (20 in 2010).
SUBHD: 7 millionth fan welcomed
The Curve have officially welcomed more than 7 million fans through the turnstiles at PNG Field in 23 seasons. The winner, Gary Reilly of Altoona, received a prize pack from the team.
SUBHD: Cam to the Show
Thursday night, LHP Cam Aldred became the Curve’s 177th alum to appear in a major league game in the Pirates’ loss to the Reds.
He pitched one inning, gave up one hit and struck out Cincinnati’s Tyler Stephenson in the seventh inning. Aldred is 1-1 for Triple-A Indianapolis this season with a 1.53 ERA and WHIP of 0.85.