Altoona (2-1) hosted Akron in weather that was barely above freezing, and came away with a 5-1 win. Brandon Waddell, now in his third season with the Curve, pitched very well for five innings. Waddell falls into that Jeff Locke category of lefties who have good secondary stuff but need to get ahead in the count consistently to make use of it. His problem much of the time in AA has been nibbling and falling behind. Today he had a tough beginning, starting right off with runners at the corners and no out. That happened when Waddell fell behind the leadoff hitter and gave up a double, and Will Craig then muffed a slow roller. Waddell recovered, though, to get a strikeout and a double play.
After that, Waddell was consistently ahead through the fifth, setting up his change and breaking ball well enough to get seven strikeouts. He gave up only two hits and no walks until the sixth, when he seemed to tire and started getting a little wild. The same guy led off with a double, went to third on a wild pitch, and scored when a high pop dropped down the right field line. I thought Bryan Reynolds could have caught it, although I can’t swear to that, but it looked like he pulled up a bit when he got near second baseman Pablo Reyes, who was also after the ball. Reynolds created a minor problem for Waddell in the second when he dropped a fly ball for a two-base error, and he also looked uncertain on a couple other flies, so I’m not too sure about his defense. Anyway, Bret Helton got the last out in the sixth, and he and Sean Keselica threw scoreless ball the rest of the way.
The Curve hitters, meanwhile, were shut down just as thoroughly by Akron non-prospect Michael Peoples, who baffled them with a dazzling array of 89 mph fastballs. Peoples also, though, seemed to tire in the sixth. With two on, Craig drove a towering fly well beyond the bleachers in left for a 3-1 lead. The Curve got single runs in the seventh and eighth to account for the final score.
Among other players, Stephen Alemais and Reynolds both hit the ball well. Alemais lined a double and single. Reynolds lined out twice in three at-bats left-handed, then drove an RBI triple off the wall in right-center batting right-handed. Cole Tucker, serving as DH, was 0-2 with a walk and a hit batsman. The latter came courtesy of Jordan Milbrath, who gave up one of the Altoona runs. Logan Hill had a tough day, going 0-4 with three whiffs, while Reyes had two hits. Ke’Bryan Hayes was 0-4, but had a diving stop on a hard grounder in the hole that saved a run. Craig finished 1-3 with a walk.
WIth West Virginia’s game called off, there were two other teams in action:
— Indianapolis (1-1) crushed Columbus, 10-0. Max Moroff and Jacob Stallings led the offense. Moroff reached base all five times on three walks, a single and a triple. Stallings went 3-5 and they each scored three times. Tyler Eppler scuffled at times, but managed to get strikeouts when he needed them. He fanned ten over five and two-thirds innings, while walking one and giving up six hits. Richard Rodriguez and Tyler Jones combined to fan six over the final three and a third, for 16 whiffs total.
Kevin Newman: 2-5, 2B, 3 RBI
Kevin Kramer: 1-4, 2B
Austin Meadows: 2-5
Jose Osuna: 1-4, BB
Jordan Luplow: 0-4, BB
— Bradenton (2-1) jumped off to a 4-0 first inning lead before a rain delay, then hung on afterward for a 5-3 win over St. Lucie. That first inning was highlighted by a three-run HR from Alfredo Reyes. Michael Wallace threw five innings of one-run ball in relief of starter Oddy Nunez, who threw the one scoreless inning before the delay.
Jared Oliva: 1-3, 2B, BB
Adrian Valerio: 1-3
Bligh Madris: 1-3
Hunter Owen: 2-4
Lucas Tancas: 2-3