The Curve top three in the batting order accounted for nine of the Curve 12 hits last night in the 8-7 loss at Erie. Jose Tabata batted third, played CF and was 2 for 5 with a run scored and an RBI. 2008 Pirates Minor League Player of the Year 2B Jim Negrych was 4 for 5 with two doubles and three runs scored and an RBI. SS Brian Friday in his AA debut was 3 for 5 with a double and a triple from the leadoff spot also scoring three runs.
Starting pitcher big left hander Tony Watson was roughed up giving up five runs in 3.2 IP, but Jeff Sues pitched 2 innings and struck out four of the seven batters he faced to go with two walks. He was not scored upon.
Lincoln Holdzkom couldn’t overcome two infield errors in the seventh inning. With the Curve clinging to a 7-5 lead, he gave up a two out, three run homerun to SeaWolves 1B Ryan Strieby. Strieby drove a 2-0 fastball over the centerfield wall for his second home run and fourth RBI of the game. Strieby, who paced the Florida State League with 29 homers and 94 RBIs at Class A Advanced Lakeland in 2008 was making his AA debut. Strieby leadoff the fourth inning with a towering blast to dead center field for his first homerun. Holdzkom took the loss and blew the save opportunity for the Curve.
Negrych had a key throwing error in the seventh to set the stage. Wow, he needs some Perry Hill time, because he can flat out hit the ball (170 hits last season.) Negrych’s error was followed by a Friday throwing error which set the stage for the Strieby heroics.
The Curve failed to win the opener for new manager Matt Walbeck who coached the Seawolves to the EL Title in 2007. Walbeck is managing Altoona after spending 2008 as the third base coach of the Texas Rangers.