After he struck out first baseman Will Craig to clinch the RubberDucks’ 4-3 Eastern League win over the Altoona Curve on Friday night, pitcher Kieran Lovegrove slapped his glove and let out a cathartic scream.

Four pitches earlier, left fielder Andrew Calica caught Bryan Reynolds’ fly ball 380 feet from home plate. Off the bat, Reynolds’ smash had the appearance of a two-run homer that would give the Curve a 5-4 lead. Two pitches before that, Ke’Bryan Hayes hit a single to left field to cut the Ducks’ lead to just one run. But none of that mattered. Lovegrove hugged his catcher Logan Ice, turned around and faced his incoming teammates with a smile, victory intact.

Run-scoring hits in the seventh from Willi Castro and Ice helped gave the RubberDucks a 4-2 lead in the first game of their five-game series against the Curve at Canal Park.

The Curve jumped in front in the first inning on some timely hitting. Reynolds lined a two-out single to left field. After swiping second, Reynolds was driven in on an RBI single by Craig.

Bobby Bradley continued his hot stretch in the bottom of the inning, ripping a double into the gap in right field that drove in two runs to give the Ducks a 2-1 lead.

Curve catcher Christian Kelley made sure the lead was short-lived, however, clubbing a ball over the wall in right-center field to tie the score 2-2.

Ducks starter Aaron Civale settled in after Kelley’s blast, only allowing four hits in the next 4⅓ innings. Civale has allowed no more than two runs in nine of his 11 starts, providing a level of stability to the pitching staff that has experienced a good amount of turnover throughout the season.

The Ducks had scoring chances in both the third and fourth inning, but ultimately were held scoreless. Ka’ai Tom stole second with two outs in the third inning and looked be on his way to scoring on a shot to left field by Sever, but Reynolds robbed Sever of a hit.

Connor Marabell doubled with one out an inning later and made it to third base but was stranded there when Tyler Krieger struck out.

Eduardo Vera started for the Curve, allowing four runs and two hits in five innings.

Neither team could muster any sustainable offense at the plate throughout the middle innings, setting up Castro’s heroics. Castro, fresh off being named to the Eastern League All-Star Game, lined a ball into the Akron twilight, barely clearing the right-field wall. Ice drove in Krieger on a double later in the inning, his first Double-A hit.

The Curve had a golden opportunity to score in the eighth inning when they loaded the bases with one out, but the Ducks were saved by Sever at shortstop. Sever snared a liner by Bralin Jackson and stepped on second base for a double play to end the inning.

Five-star Ducks

Outfielders Andrew Calica and Connor Marabell, third baseman Joe Sever, shortstop Willi Castro and right-handed pitcher Jake Paulson have all been named Western Division All-Stars.

The game will be played July 11 in Trenton, N.J.

Calica ranks 10th in the league and leads the team with a .296 average to go along with five homers and 33 RBI.

He also currently ranks fourth in the EL in on-base percentage (.405) and his 16 stolen bases are a club-best.

Marabell is hitting .278 with eight homers and is second on the team with 42 RBI.

Sever is tied for the EL lead in doubles (21), is tied for third in total hits (85) and is 11th in hitting (.293).

Castro is hitting .257 with two homers, 29 RBI and 11 stolen bases.

Paulson is 4-3, with a 2.71 ERA, which ranks fourth in the EL. A 6-foot-7 right-hander, Paulson has struck out 54 and walked 15 in 63 innings.