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Bullpen, defense implode in 6-3 Altoona loss

Altoona wasted a strong start by Austin Coley (pictured) in a 6-3 loss to Bowie. Coley started the season in the bullpen, but with Brandon Waddell, Yeudy Garcia and Dario Agrazal all hurt, he’s ended up in the rotation. Coley didn’t show dominant stuff, with a fastball that sat 90-91 and three other solid pitches, with his change being possibly his best pitch. He located well, benefited from a couple drives that were caught at the fence, and didn’t walk anybody while striking out four. He ended up going seven, giving up one run and four hits.

The Curve didn’t do a great deal with another mediocre Bowie starter, Matthew Grimes. It probably doesn’t help that Altoona is now without the services of Kevin Kramer and Connor Joe. Altoona didn’t hit a lot of balls well, although one came on the game’s second pitch, which Kevin Newman lined over the fence in left for his third HR. Wyatt Mathisen also went deep, hitting one well over the same spot for his fourth HR in the fourth inning. Jordan Luplow drove in a third run the next inning with an infield single (although the ball was well hit).

Altoona’s only other rally in the game came in the second. Two walks and a Mathisen single loaded the bases to Newman with two out. Newman got ahead 3-0, but the pitcher got it back to a full count and Newman grounded out.

The Curve fell apart once Coley was out of the game. Tate Scioneaux came on to pitch the eighth and gave up a hit and a walk to the first two hitters. Edwin Espinal then dropped a throw to first on a sacrifice bunt attempt to load the bases. Scioneaux got a strikeout looking, then gave up a one-run single. The inning should have ended with the next batter on a 3-6-1 double play, but Scioneaux was late covering first and failed to get his foot on the bag. Another hit put Bowie ahead, and Jared Lakind then came on to let two more runs score. Jerrick Suiter led off the ninth with a double, but the Curve went down quickly after that.

The poor defense in the eighth was unfortunate, because the Curve otherwise looked good defensively. Espinal had a couple nice stops on hard grounders, Elvis Escobar in center got good jumps on a couple long drives and showed a strong arm (but also contributed a very wild throw to the carnage in the eighth, although it didn’t impact the score), Pablo Reyes at second had a couple good plays on tough hops, and Mathisen showed a good arm on one long throw from third.