Starting lineups for Friday’s Eastern League game between the Altoona Curve and the Erie SeaWolves at Jerry Uht Park:
Altoona Curve (13-19): 1. Robbie Grossman CF, 2. Brock Holt SS, 3. Tony Sanchez C, 4. Matt Curry 1B, 5. Ramon Cabrera DH, 6. Jeremy Farrell 3B, 7. Charlie Cutler LF, 8. Quincy Latimore RF, 9. Kelson Brown 2B.
Starting pitcher: Phillip Irwin RH (0-0, 0.00 ERA).
Erie SeaWolves (15-17): 1. Niuman Romero SS, 2. Brandon Douglas 2B, 3. Rob Brantly C, 4. Jordan Lennerton 1B, 5. Rawley Bishop 1B, 6. Ben Guez LF, 7. Corey Jones DH, 8. Michael Rockett RF, 9. Jamie Johnson CF.
Starting pitcher: Jared Wesson LH (3-2, 6.91 ERA).
– Mike Copper
Willie Mays, Barry Bonds and Ken Griffey Jr. are among the greats who wore No. 24 uniforms during their baseball careers.
Still, baseball superstitions are baseball superstitions. That’s why the Erie SeaWolves’ Michael Rockett to switch from that cherished number to uniform No. 1.
After his results during Thursday night’s 8-4 victory over Altoona, don’t look for the outfielder to switch back anytime soon.
Rockett, who went into Thursday with a .174 batting average and four RBIs, reached base three times in Erie’s home stand opener. He tripled and scored for his first at-bat, and hit an RBI single in his second.
Why No. 1, besides the obvious reason?
“I wore that number in a game earlier this year when my black 24 (jersey) wasn’t available for some reason,” Rockett said. “I got a couple hits wearing 1.”
Bryan Pounds hit ahead of Rockett in Thursday’s game. The third baseman singled and scored Erie’s final run in the bottom of the sixth inning.
Before that, though, Pounds recorded two Altoona outs with stellar defensive plays. Both were in foul territory.
The top of the third saw Pounds retire Curve cleanup hitter Matt Curry with a tricky underhand catch of a pop up over the rail of Erie’s dugout. The second was his running catch of Charlie Cutler’s foul fly down the left-field line.
Pounds’ second play ended Altoona’s fifth, when it tied the game at 4-4 on Ramon Cabrera’s two-run home run. The SeaWolves untied it that same inning, when Niuman Romero led off Erie’s fifth with a solo homer.
Romero’s homer was his third this season and his team-leading 23rd RBI. However, the switch-hitting shortstop no longer leads the Eastern League in that category thanks to the recent performances of Darin Ruf.
The infielder hit a home run in his fourth straight game for the Reading Phillies, who routed New Britain 10-3 Thursday night. Those homers, part of an 8-for-14 binge at the plate, has Ruf with 26 RBIs going into Friday’s action.
Pitcher Ryan Robowski resumed his outstanding effort out of Erie’s bullpen with Thursday’s four-inning save. The left-hander has only allowed one earned run over 19 2/3 innings, and Thursday’s late-game shutout of the Curve lowered his earned-run average to 0.46.
That outing also saw Robowski strike out four straight Altoona batters over the sixth and seventh innings. He became the first SeaWolves pitcher to strike out the side when he rang up Tony Sanchez, Curry and Cabrera in the seventh.
Friday’s game against Altoona represents Erie’s fifth chance at its first three-game winning streak for 2012. It’s also the team’s second chance at winning consecutive games at Uht Park for only the second time.
The SeaWolves beat Bowie back-to-back April 13 and 14, but then lost 7-5 to conclude their first home series this season.
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