Harrisburg handles Squirrels twice

richmond flying squirrelsThe Harrisburg Senators (29-25) swept the Flying Squirrels (19-37) in both games of a doubleheader on Saturday at The Diamond.

Harrisburg closed out Friday’s suspended game with an 8-1 win and took the nightcap 3-1 in front of 8,312 fans. The Nationals top prospect Lucas Giolito earned the win by pitching six innings with a season-high eight strikeouts. Bryan Harper closed out the second game for Harrisburg by striking out the side.

 

Game 1

The Senators opened the series with a pair of runs in the top of the first inning against Richmond starter Kyle Crick. Rafael Bautista led off the game with an infield single and moved to second on a hit batsman. Harrisburg then executed a double steal with one out to set up a two-run single for Squirrels nemesis Neftali Soto. Crick then managed to limit the damage to just the two runs by retiring the next two hitters.

Richmond retaliated with a run in the bottom of the first with three straight singles. Christian Arroyo grounded a base hit to centerfield and Ryder Jones followed with a base hit to right. Ricky Oropesa then connected on an RBI base hit to cut the deficit at 2-1. Ryder Jones grounded into a double play to end the inning.

Harrisburg added a pair of runs to take a 4-1 lead in the third until play was stopped due to heavy rain. The game was suspended at 7:49 PM on Friday night and pickedback up at 4:05 PM Saturday. Phil McCormick resumed the contest with a runner on base and induced a double play to end the inning. That twin killing closed the line for Kyle Crick who received the loss. Crick hurled just 2 1/3 innings before being washed out due to the rain. He allowed four runs on six hits in his ninth start of the year.

The Harrisburg relief corps lulled the Squirrels to sleep, starting with MLB rehabber Matt Belisle. Belisle restarted the game for the Senators and tossed a scoreless inning before handing the ball to James Simms. Simms (3-2) earned the win by tossing three scoreless innings. He struck out five and left with a 4-1 lead.

Harrisburg added four runs in the top of the eight to put the game away against reliever Jake Smith. Brian Jeroloman deliver the most significant blow with a bases loaded double down the left field line to score all three runners.

 

Game 2

Saturday’s second game featured one of the most intriguing pitching matchups of the year. Nationals top prospect Lucas Giolito went head-to-head with Giants heraldedhurler Adalberto Mejia. Richmond took a 1-0 lead and applied plenty of pressure on Giolito in the first inning. Myles Schroder led of the frame with a base hit and stole second base. Christian Arroyo also singled to set runners at first and third base. Giolito then struck out Ryder Jones and induced a shallow fly ball from Ricky Oropesa for the first two outs of the inning. Hunter Cole then managed to swat an 0-2 pitch into centerfield for a 1-0 lead. Giolito then walked to load the bases but kept the damage to just one run. He threw 29 pitches in the inning.

Adalberto Mejia was sharp early on for Richmond in his 10th start of the season. Neftali Soto lead off the second with a double to left and moved tothird on a fielding error. Mejia then dug deep and punched out the next three hitters. He came back out and struck out the side again in the third inning. Mejia struck out six batters over five innings but was yoked with the loss.

TheSenators forged ahead against Mejia in the top of the fourth inning. Neftali Soto looped his second base hit of the day into centerfield and Zach Collier connected on a home run over the right field wall to take a 2-1 lead. Giolito took off with the lead, at one point setting down nine consecutive batters. The righty earned the win for Harrisburg by tossing six innings and striking out a season-high eight batters.

Harrisburg added one final run off Meja in the sixth inning. Neftali Soto opened the frame withah double and scored on an RBI single off the bat of Zach Colllier. Tyler Mizenko then relieved Mejia with runners on and worked out of a bases loaded, nobody out situation. Mizenko hurled two scoreless innings to finish the game.