Richmond Flying Squirrels take two from Trenton
The Richmond Flying Squirrels (34-26) clubbed five home runs and swept a doubleheader from the Trenton Thunder (32-30) on Saturday night at ARM & HAMMER Park. Richmond took game one, 3-2, and game two, 7-3. With the victories, the Squirrels also claim the three-game series and vault into first place in the Western Division by a game and a half.
After a scoreless first inning in game one, J.R. Murphy put the Thunder ahead when he led off the second inning. He lined a solo-home run to left field off Richmond righty Taylor Rogers. Murphy’s sixth home run of the year just barely crept over the left-field wall and gave Trenton a 1-0 lead.
The lead didn’t last long. Javier Herrera led off the third inning against Trenton right-hander Jose Ramirez with a blast to straightaway center field. Herrera’s eight of the year, a solo-shot, tied the ballgame, 1-1. The Squirrels weren’t done in the inning. An out later, Joe Panik belted a solo-home run to right-center field. Panik’s second of the season pushed Richmond in front, 2-1.
The fourth collective solo-home run of the ballgame came off the bat of Jose Pirela. He took Rogers deep to left field to open the bottom of the fourth inning to tie the ballgame, 2-2. Rogers had not allowed a home run on the season prior to surrendering two in the outing.
Neither starter factored in the decision. Each allowed two earned runs on a pair of solo-home runs, with Rogers working 4 2/3 innings and Ramirez lasting five frames.
Right-hander Tommy Kahnle came on in relief in the sixth inning. Panik nearly homered to start the inning, denied at the wall in right-center. Adam Duvall followed and wasn’t denied as he sent a drive on the exact same flight pattern. It climbed just over the wall, and Duvall’s sixth of the year held up as the game-winner. Kahnle (1-2) was saddled with the game one loss.
Left-hander Phil McCormick came on to relieve Rogers with two outs in the fifth inning. He got the final out of the fifth and four more, leaving with one out in the seventh. McCormick (2-3) earned the win. Right-handed closer Daryl Maday finished the win, coming on to ground Tyler Austin into a game-ending double play. Maday earned his 13th save, one off the league lead.
The Squirrels got out to a quick start in game two against Thunder lefty Nik Turley. Turley walked Herrera, who led off. After singles from Panik and Ricky Oropesa, Turley walked Andrew Susac to force in Herrera for a 1-0 lead.
With two outs in the second inning, Herrera clubbed his second home run of the evening and ninth of the year. The massive clout to left field was a solo-shot and stretched the Richmond lead to 2-0.
Again it was the long ball in the third inning as the Squirrels doubled their lead to 4-0. Oropesa delivered a two-out single off Turley, and Susac crushed a two-run home run to left field. The fifth home run of the night for the Squirrels was Susac’s seventh of the year and third at ARM & HAMMER Park. Turley (5-4) took the loss for the Thunder over five innings.
It took the Thunder until the fourth inning before they broke through against Richmond lefty Chris Gloor. Tyson Blaser opened the inning with a double into the left-field corner. An out later, Jose Pirela singled back through the middle to bring in Blaser. It was Pirela’s fourth hit of the night and pulled Trenton with three runs, 4-1.
The Squirrels cemented the sweep with three runs in the top of the sixth inning off lefty Cesar Cabral. Ehire Adriana singled and Ryan Lollis walked. Herrera then smacked a two-run double off the wall in left-center field. Herrera finished the night with three extra-base hits and four RBIs. Duvall followed and scalded a double up the left-field line to cap the scoring for the evening for Richmond.
Gloor (5-1) conceded a solo-home run to Reegie Corona in the sixth inning, but earned the win over six innings. It marked the sixth consecutive start that he went at least six innings. He allowed just two runs on five hits, walked two and struck out four in his fifth win of the year.
Righty Edwin Quirarte allowed a run in the seventh, but recovered to finish the win in game two for Richmond.
The finale of the three-game series is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. on Sunday afternoon at ARM & HAMMER Park. Richmond RHP Craig Westcott (3-6, 3.88) will make the start against Trenton RHP Zach Nuding (2-7, 3.39). The Flying Squirrels Pregame Warm Up begins at 1:05 p.m. on Sports Radio 910, SportsRadio910.com and IHeart Radio.