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Pitching, defense propel Curve

Mirror photo by Patrick Waksmunski The Curve’s Andres Alvarez (2) is greeted by Liover Peguero (3) and on deck hitter Connor Scott after his two-run home run in the second inning.

Altoona’s pitching held strong on Friday, as the Curve arms allowed just two hits in a 6-0 win over Harrisburg at Peoples Natural Gas Field.

In the bottom of the second, Curve second baseman Andres Alvarez hit a home run into the grass behind the left field stands to give Altoona a 2-0 lead.

After Curve starter Aaron Shortridge pitched four hitless innings, Harrisburg third baseman Jake Alu broke up Altoona’s no-hit bid in the sixth with a ground-rule double.

The Senators looked like they were going to score when John Nogowski lofted a line drive into center field, but Matt Fraizer made an impressive diving catch to end the inning.

The Curve committed four errors on Thursday but turned in a spotless performance on Friday. Manager Kieran Mattison said that Fraizer’s catch was an example of the team’s skill at “turning the page.”

“Fraizer is doing what he always does, looking to make a play,” he said. “Today was an identity game. We went out and did what we were supposed to, we didn’t beat ourselves.”

Altoona broke the game open in the bottom of the seventh. Connor Scott, Brendt Citta and Fraizer each recorded RBI singles, and the Curve tacked on their sixth run thanks to a wild pitch.

Dillon Peters, Duane Underwood Jr. and Tyler Samaniego combined to close out the game for Altoona.

Hot start

The Curve improved to 3-1 in the second half of the season with the win, which Mattison hopes will help to build momentum after an injury-plagued first half.

“I think you learn more about yourself when you go through adversity,” he said. “We’re playing for something bigger than just this season. We’re trying to get ourselves in a position where these guys, when they make it to the major leagues, they compete for the World Series and that’s the expectation. It starts here.”

Shortridge impresses

After a rough debut last week, Aaron Shortridge pitched four strong innings in his second start for the Curve, striking out three and walking two. Mattison, who managed Shortridge while he was on the Short-Season A-ball West Virginia Black Bears, said that Shortridge was living up to his potential.

“Last week was an emotional game for him,” he said. “Today, he just went out there and pitched. I was fortunate to see him pitch in his first year, when he was drafted, and I know what he’s capable of.”

“Keller” Your Own Bobblehead Night

The first 1,000 fans at the ballpark received free, and customizable, Mitch Keller bobbleheads. The bobbleheads were blank and came with paint for fans to create their own designs. Keller was a top prospect for the Curve from 2017 to 2018 and debuted with the Pirates in 2019.

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