CURVE, Pa. - A five-run fifth and a three-run sixth created separation that Altoona was unable to overcome as they fell to the Erie SeaWolves, 12-1, in front of 4,585 fans at Peoples Natural Gas Field on Saturday night. The club averaged 4,589 fans through the first three games of 2012, which is up over the first three dates of 2011 that drew a combined 10,180 fans for an average of 3,393.
Erie once again jumped on the scoreboard first in the finale, plating two runs in the second inning off Curve starter Brandon Cumpton (0-1). Both runs came across in the inning when Corey Jones doubled into right field to bring in Jordan Lennerton and Robert Brantly.
Altoona answered back with a run to make it close in the bottom of the frame when Matt Curry singled in Tony Sanchez. With two on and just one down, Quincy Latimore lined into an inning-ending double play when Adalberto Santos was doubled off second.
Cumpton put up scoreless innings in the third and fourth but ran into problems in the fifth when Erie sent eight men to the plate and scored five runs. It was Jones again beating Cumpton as he doubled to begin the inning. Brent Wyatt then singled through the left side and Jones was holding at third until the throw back into the infield took off on Latimore. It allowed Jones to score and Wyatt to move to second with no one out. Cumpton got Jamie Johnson to pop out but then walked Niuman Romero to place two on with just the one out.
Romero would be the last batter that Cumpton would face in his debut as Kris Harvey, who joined the team earlier in the day, was called upon from the bullpen to hold the line. He retired Tony Plagman with a fly out but Rawley Bishop doubled in both Wyatt and Romero to put Erie ahead, 5-1. Lennerton followed Bishop's double with a homer to right to make it, 7-1 Erie. Harvey then retired Bryan Pounds to end the inning but the damage was done.
The Howlers tacked on three more in the sixth and two unearned runs off Vic Black in the seventh. Cumpton finished 4.1 innings and was charged with five runs on seven hits to suffer his first loss of the season. Jared Wesson (1-0), who was also making his Double-A debut, was credited with the win after pitching five innings of one-run ball. The Erie bullpen duo of Ryan Robowski and Robbie Weinhardt kept Altoona off the scoreboard for the remaining four innings.
Robbie Grossman finished the game 2-for-4 as did the first-baseman Curry. Santos also found his first Double-A hit in his first game and finished 1-for-4.
Altoona (2-1) will continue its season-opening homestand on Monday when they welcome in the Akron Aeros (AA - Indians) to Peoples Natural Gas Field for a 6:30 p.m. first pitch. Monday will be a Mirror Monday at the ballpark and fans can get $1 Grandstand tickets to Monday night's game with the coupon from the front page of the sports section in the Monday edition of the Mirror.
RHP Aaron Pribanic will make his 2012 Curve debut as he'll get the starting nod on Monday night vs. the Aeros (2-1). Pribanic made 27 starts for Altoona in 2011 while leading the club in victories with 10. He'll be opposed on the mound by Akron's LHP Giovanni Soto, who will be making his Double-A debut. Gates for the series-opening contest will swing open at 5:30 p.m. while airtime on ESPN Radio 1430, WVAM and the Curve Radio Network is slated for 6 p.m.
--Curve Media Relations--