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Torkelson gets first Double-A hits, 2 RBIs but Erie SeaWolves lose to Altoona

Erie Times-News logo Erie Times-News 6/17/2021 Tom Reisenweber, Erie Times-News
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Dillon Dingler hammered a pitch down the left-field line in the bottom of the ninth inning.

It banged off Erie Insurance Arena about 15 feet to the left of the foul pole.

Dingler ended up striking out as the SeaWolves came up just short of another late-inning rally Wednesday in a 4-2 loss to Altoona in front of 3,084 fans at UPMC Park.

“I think we some good contact from all of the guys and hit some balls hard,” said SeaWolves manager Arnie Beyeler. “We had some opportunities early. I ran us out of an inning getting Riley (Greene) thrown out at the plate, but we had some good at-bats and they just swung the bat better and pitched better than we did.”

Erie (24-13) and Altoona (23-14) continue the six-game series on Thursday at 7:05 p.m.

Paul Richan put together one of his top starts of the season as he struck out six and allowed just one run on seven hits in six innings but was given a no-decision. In a statistical rarity, Richan has made seven starts this season and still doesn't have a decision despite a solid 3.86 ERA.

a pitcher throwing a ball at a baseball game: Erie SeaWolves pitcher Paul Richan throws against the Altoona Curve on June 16, 2021, at UPMC Park in Erie. © GREG WOHLFORD/ERIE TIMES-NEWS Erie SeaWolves pitcher Paul Richan throws against the Altoona Curve on June 16, 2021, at UPMC Park in Erie.

“Paul did a real nice job getting ahead of guys and was very efficient,” Beyeler said. “He got us deep into the game and we were hoping to get six innings out of him. He did a real nice job.”

Richan stranded at least one runner in five of the six innings. In the top of the fifth inning, he allowed back-to-back doubles as Altoona tied the game at one.

The SeaWolves jumped to a 1-0 lead in the first inning on three hits. Greene led off with a base hit and tried to score on a double off the wall by Ryan Kreidler, but rising Pirates prospect Oneil Cruz, a 6-foot 7-inch shortstop, raced into left field to grab the ball and fire a throw to the plate in time.

Top prospects: Spencer Torkelson, Dillon Dingler join Erie SeaWolves

Spencer Torkelson, the Detroit Tigers' No. 1-ranked prospect, followed with a single up the middle for his first Double-A hit and RBI. Torkelson, who went 0-for-4 in his SeaWolves debut Tuesday, went 2-for-4 Wednesday and drove in both of Erie's runs.

The Altoona pitching staff settled down from there allowing just two baserunners through the next four innings. Erie took a 2-1 lead in the sixth as Greene led off with a single, went to second on a passed ball, third on a wild pitch and scored on a fielder's choice.

a baseball player holding a bat on a field: Erie SeaWolves catcher Dillon Dingler, left, waits as Altoona Curve batter Canaan Smith-Njigba enters the batter’s box on June 16, 2021, at UPMC Park in Erie. © GREG WOHLFORD/ERIE TIMES-NEWS Erie SeaWolves catcher Dillon Dingler, left, waits as Altoona Curve batter Canaan Smith-Njigba enters the batter’s box on June 16, 2021, at UPMC Park in Erie.

The SeaWolves' bullpen couldn't make that lead stand up. Max Green, the only left-handed pitcher on the roster, allowed three runs on three hits. One of the hits was an infield single early on when he was late to cover first base.

“Max shot himself in the foot by not covering first base in the beginning of the inning and once he gets emotional about that, he loses some focus on some things,” Beyeler said. “Then things started to snowball on him. He has to make some good pitches and minimize the inning and get back in the moment. Those are some things he needs to work on, but he has good stuff and made some good pitches.”

a group of baseball players standing on top of a grass covered field: After hitting an RBI single against the Altoona Curve in the first inning, Erie SeaWolves batter Spencer Torkelson, left, greets teammate Drew Ward coming out of the dugout on June 16, 2021, at UPMC Park in Erie. © GREG WOHLFORD/ERIE TIMES-NEWS After hitting an RBI single against the Altoona Curve in the first inning, Erie SeaWolves batter Spencer Torkelson, left, greets teammate Drew Ward coming out of the dugout on June 16, 2021, at UPMC Park in Erie.

More: Tigers' top prospects go combined 1-for-8 in Erie debut, but Lester lifts SeaWolves

The SeaWolves tried to ride the momentum of their defense for one last rally. In the top of the ninth inning, Erie got out of a jam when an umpire ruled Canaan Smith-Njigba left too early from third base on a flyout to left field. The SeaWolves appealed at third and got the final out of the inning to not allow a run to score.

In the bottom of the ninth, Torkelson singled with one out before Dingler nearly tied the game. After he struck out, Andre Lipcius also struck out to end the game.

Contact Tom Reisenweber at treisenweber@timesnews.com. Follow him on Twitter @ETNreisenweber.

This article originally appeared on Erie Times-News: Torkelson gets first Double-A hits, 2 RBIs but Erie SeaWolves lose to Altoona

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