Flying Squirrels drop series finale to Senators

richmond flying squirrelsThe Flying Squirrels (21-19) lost to the Harrisburg Senators (18-23), 8-2, in the final game of the abbreviated three-game series on Sunday afternoon at The Diamond. Senator’s starter Jefry Rodriguez (3-3) allowed one run in his 6.1 innings of work on a solo home run to Jerry Sands in the fifth inning. The Squirrels head out on the road starting on Tuesday for a seven-game road trip to Binghamton and Akron. Richmond returns to The Diamond on Tuesday, May 29th for a Tip of the Cap Tuesday against Bowie at 6:35 p.m. with gates opening at 5:30 p.m.

The Harrisburg Senators scored eight runs against the Flying Squirrels Sunday afternoon on their way to the series win. Senators Kelvin Gutierrez went 4-for-5 with a run scored and two RBI to lead the way for the Senators offensively. The eight runs allowed ties a single-game high against the Flying Squirrels this season.

The Senators struck first in the top of the first inning off of starter Chase Johnson. An RBI single from Kelvin Gutierrez drove in Steven Perez from second base. Harrisburg scored first in all three games of the abbreviated three-game series.

Johnson would settle in after the first inning and would not a single base runner in the second or third innings. Johnson retired seven Senators in a row from the end of the first inning to the end of the third. Johnson’s day would end after 3.0 innings and 43 pitches allowing one run on two hits.

Squirrels reliever Mike Connolly (1-2) entered in the fourth inning needing just five pitches to record his first 1-2-3 inning of the day. The righty would roll through the fifth inning but ran into trouble in the top of the sixth inning. Connolly loaded the bases on two walks and a base hit and Harrisburg’s Drew Ward made the Squirrels pay for it. Ward smacked a two-run RBI double down the left field line to give Harrisburg a 3-1 lead. Harrisburg tacked on another run in the seventh to force Connolly out of the game.

Connolly gave the Squirrels 3.2 innings of relief and allowed three earned runs on four hits while walking two and striking out four. Connolly’s three earned runs were tied for the most allowed by the righty in a single outing all season.

Jerry Sands tied the game up on a solo home run in the bottom of the fifth inning off of Rodriguez for the first hit of the game. Sands now leads the Squirrels offense with six home runs on the year. Rodriguez continued to struggle in the fifth allowing a walk to Dillon Dobson and a base hit to Ali Castillo. However, he would get some help from his defense in the form of an outfield assist from Daniel Johnson to throw out Dillon Dobson streaking home on a base hit.

Richmond scored one run in the bottom of the eighth inning off of Jaron Long who missed his start due to the postponed game on Thursday. Long allowed a sacrifice fly to Luigi Rodriguez deep enough to score Ali Castillo and bring the Squirrels within four runs.

Harrisburg’s offense piled it on in the eighth and ninth innings with left-hander Carlos Diaz and righty Dan Slania on the mound. Diaz walked the bases loaded in the eighth and hit Khayyan Norfork in between the numbers to walk a run home. Another run would score on a bloop base hit to right field forcing Diaz out of the game with one out and the bases still loaded. Dan Slania entered and recorded the next two outs to keep the deficit at five runs. Two more runs would cross in the ninth inning as Harrisburg would take an 8-2 lead into the bottom of the ninth.

Reliever Roman Mendez closed the door for the Senators in the ninth inning walking one and striking out one to hold on to the six run win for Harrisburg. After an off day on Monday, the Flying Squirrels begin a seven-game road trip against Binghamton and Akron starting on Tuesday night at 6:35 p.m. Richmond returns back to The Diamond on Tuesday, May 29th for a three game homestand against Harrisburg. Tickets for Tuesday, as well as the rest of the 2018 season in Funnville can be found at www.squirrrelsbaseball.com.