Curve Bullpen Can’t Hold Lead in Loss at Richmond

RICHMOND, Va. – After a strong outing from starting pitcher Tyler Eppler, the Altoona Curve bullpen could not hold Friday night’s late lead in a 3-2 loss to the Richmond Flying Squirrels at The Diamond.

The Curve (2-6) led for most of the night, but the Flying Squirrels (4-5) rallied to tie the game in the bottom of the eighth and walked off with a single by Eliezer Zambrano in the ninth.

Richmond tied the game, 2-2, in the eighth on a sacrifice fly by Christian Arroyo against Altoona reliever Jared Lakind (Blown Save, 1).

After Jake Smith (Win, 1-0) worked through a perfect top of the ninth with two strikeouts, Richmond loaded the bases against Curve reliever Brett McKinney (Loss, 0-1) to set up the game-winning single by Zambrano.

The Curve took an early lead with an RBI groundout by Jose Osuna in the fourth and added a run later in the frame on an infield single by Stetson Allie.

With Altoona ahead 2-0, Richmond got its first run in the sixth inning against Eppler. After a one-out triple by relief pitcher Mike Kickham, Rando Moreno grounded out to plate the run.

After a hit batter and a single in the first inning, Eppler settled in to sit down 14 consecutive Richmond batters from the first through the sixth until Kickham’s triple.

Eppler worked six innings, allowing one run on two hits with no walks and six strikeouts.

Richmond starter Chase Johnson pitched just four frames and allowed two earned runs on three hits with a walk and five strikeouts.

Altoona’s Chris Diaz went 2-for-4 with a stolen base.

The Curve and Flying Squirrels play the second in the four-game series on Saturday night at The Diamond. Lefty Cody Dickson (0-1, 8.10) will make his second Double-A start for the Curve. Right-hander Joan Gregorio (0-0, 0.00) will be on the mound for Richmond. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m.

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