Knight’s shining performance guides Richmond Flying Squirrels win

richmond flying squirrelsRichmond Flying Squirrels reliver Dusten Knight tossed 3.2 scoreless innings on Friday, guiding Richmond to a 6- 3 victory over Altoona (7-6) at Peoples Natural Gas Field. Knight’s extensive outing was needed due to a short start for LHP Garrett Williams. Richmond (11-4) snapped a 3-3 tie in the seventh on a Luigi Rodriguez pinch-hit RBI single. Game two of the series is on Saturday afternoon at 4 p.m.

Entering the seventh inning tied 3-3, the Flying Squirrels jumped on reliver Bret Helton to replace starting pitch Brandon Waddell. Dylan Davis roped a double down the left field line to begin the inning and Matt Lipka worked a walk to put runners on the corners. Pinch-hitter Luigi Rodriguez then snapped the tie with an RBI base hit to right and Ryan Howard rocked a two-run double to straight away center field for a 6-3 lead.

The Flying Squirrels bullpen of Knight (3.2IP, H, 0R, 2BB, 3K), Mike Connolly (2.0IP, H, 0R, BB, K) and Caleb Simpson (IP, K) worked the game across the finish line. Simpson earned his league-leading fourth save with a 1-2-3 ninth.

Richmond emerged from their offensive slumber the previous three nights with a pair of home runs to go ahead 3-0. Aramis Garcia drilled his first Double-A homer in the first inning, a towering two-run shot over the left field wall. Dylan Davis added his third home run of the season, a low-lining solo shot also over the left field fence for a 3-0 Richmond advantage.

Altoona charged back in the bottom of the third inning to tie the game, 3-3. Flying Squirrels lefty Garrett Williams lost command of his fastball and walked the pitcher Waddell before hitting Cole Tucker. A wild pitch advanced runners, allowing Stephan Alemais to bring home a run on a ground ball to the right side. Ke’Bryan Hays added an RBI base hit to left. Williams loaded the bases on a Logan Hill single and walk to end his outing. Knight then entered and allowed an inherited run on a sacrifice fly before escaping the inning without further damage.

Williams lasted 2.1 innings in his third Double-A outing. The lefty allowed the three runs on four hits. He walked two and struck out two in the no-decision.

Waddell managed to recover from the slow start for Altoona, and picked up three double plays to keep the game knotted at three. Waddell lasted through six innings for Altoona, but also received a no-decision. The lefty allowed three runs on five hits. He walked two and struck three while using 88 pitches.

Knight rescued the Squirrels bullpen by shouldering 3.2 innings of work. The righty turned in his longest outing of the season and was rewarded with the win when the Squirrels put up three runs in the top of the seventh.