A night after Connecticut nearly erased an eight-run deficit only to fall a run short, the Curve tried to climb out of an 8-0 hole but were ultimately turned away as the Defenders held on, 8-6, to take the series from the Curve.
Trailing 8-0, the Curve came back furiously in the bottom of the seventh inning. Steven Pearce led off the inning with a solo home run to left field off of Defenders' reliever Ryan Sadowski to get the Curve on the board for the first time. Alex Fernandez followed with an infield single and advanced to third as Brandon Chaves reached on an error on Eugenio Velez. Taber Lee scored both men with a double to the left field corner to make the score 8-3. A batter later, Brett Roneberg pinch-hit and walked to put two men aboard. Joe Bateman relieved Sadowski, but Jason Bowers promptly singled in Lee and Andrew McCutchen doubled past third baseman Mark Minicozzi to clear the bases and pull the Curve within 8-6.
That was as close as the Curve got, as Osiris Matos came on and struck out both Fernandez and Chaves to strand the bases loaded for Altoona.
The Defenders jumped in front with two earned runs off of Curve starter Yoslan Herrera. Connecticut scored first in the second inning as Herrera botched a double play ball from Todd Jennings allowing Simon Klink to score and put Connecticut ahead 1-0.
Carlos Sosa increased that lead to 2-0 with a sacrifice fly that plated John Bowker in the fifth.
Herrera (1-5) was tagged with the loss despite allowing just those two runs on three hits over five innings.
Dave Davidson came on in the sixth inning and walked lead off man Mark Minicozzi. Velez followed with a double and Bowker singled home both runners to make it a 4-0 ballgame.
Wildness from Davidson loaded the bases for Connecticut in the seventh inning. Davidson walked both Patrick Dobson and Minicozzi, and hit Trey Webb.
Romulo Sanchez was called upon and struck out Velez, but Bowker followed and hammered an 0-2 pitch over the wall in right field for a grand slam to put the game out of reach, 8-0.
Lost in all the late-game offense was an exceptional effort from Defenders' starter Brooks McNiven. McNiven (3-3) threw five scoreless innings to earn his third win of the year.
Defenders closer Brian Anderson permitted a two-out single to Pearce in the ninth, but retired pinch-hitter Neil Walker to end the ballgame and earn his 13th save of the season.
The win gave Connecticut the series win and also allowed them to split the season series with the Curve. Each team claimed the series at the others' ballpark and called it a draw at three games apiece.
The Curve enjoy an off day on Monday and then begin a nine-game stretch over seven days on Tuesday in Erie. The Curve will play a doubleheader with the Seawolves on back-to-back nights, with game one beginning on Tuesday night at 5:05 PM. Altoona will send LHP Josh Shortslef (1-6, 4.30) to the hill in game one against RHP Andrew Kown (2-3, 4.35) for Erie. Both teams starters for game two are yet to be determined.