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  Courtesy of the Altoona Curve

CURVE, Pa. – J.C. Escarra drilled a game-tying solo home run to right field in the top of the eighth inning, sparking a comeback victory for the Bowie Baysox over the Altoona Curve, 2-1, on Opening Day at Peoples Natural Gas Field.


Curve baseball returned to PNG Field for the first time in 614 days, but in 2021-fashion the game was halted for 1:27 due to rain in the middle of the seventh inning.


The Baysox (1-0) grabbed the lead in the top of the ninth when Patrick Dorrian scored on a throwing error by Curve second baseman Ji-Hwan Bae. With one out and runners on the corners, Bae played a chopping ground ball to his right, tagging out one runner and throwing off balance to first. The throw got away fromMason Martin at first base, allowing Dorrian to score from third.


Yerry De Los Santos (Loss, 0-1) was charged with the loss after surrendering the game-tying home run to Escarra with one out in the eighth and the go-ahead run in the ninth.


Baysox reliever Nick Vespi (Win, 1-0) struck out four batters over the final three innings to earn the win.


The Curve scratched out their only run of the night in the sixth inning on a Cal Mitchell sacrifice fly to right off Baysox reliever Gray Fenter. Oneil Cruz led off the inning with an infield single and moved to third on a Martin hit to right field. Mitchell then drove Cruz home with a solid line drive to deep right.


Roansy Contreras tossed five scoreless innings, striking out a career high 11 batters for the Curve in his organizational debut. He allowed five hits with no walks in the start and left in a scoreless game.


It was the first 11 strikeout game by a Curve pitcher since Mitch Keller on September 1, 2017 against Harrisburg. Altoona set a new franchise record in the contest with 17 strikeouts.


Baysox starter D.L. Hall dazzled in his Double-A debut over 4.1 scoreless frames. In the 13 batters he retired, 10 of them came by strikeout.


After allowing a lead-off double to Canaan Smith-Njigba to start the fifth, Hall battled back to punchout Arden Pabst to end his outing. Bowie reliever Tyler Joyner entered the game and quickly got out of the jam, forcing a line drive double play to shortstop Cadyn Grenier to force out Smith-Njigba.


The Curve went to the bullpen in the top of the sixth with Jeff Passantino. Over two innings of work, Passantino struck out four batters, including the final out of the seventh moments before the delay.


The loss marks the first opening day loss for Altoona since 2016. It was also the latest opening day on the calendar in Curve history.

The Curve and Baysox will continue their six-game series tomorrow night at PNG Field with a 6 p.m. first pitch. The Curve will send out starter Travis MacGregor to make his first appearance since 2018 against Baysox starter Kyle Bradish.


Wednesdays are Wine and WINGSday at the ballpark, presented by Seven Mountain Winery and the Altoona Mirror, where you can enjoy $6 glasses of wine and 50-cent boneless wings.


For tickets or more information, visit AltoonaCurve.com, call 877.99.CURVE or stop by the PNG Field box office. Additionally, the Stockyard Team Store is open Monday-Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., during every home game and online 24/7/365.



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