Slania deals Squirrels to doubleheader split

richmond flying squirrelsRichmond hurler Dan Slania struck out seven batters in a spot start on Wednesday as the Flying Squirrels and Altoona Curve (35-30) split a doubleheader at The Diamond. Richmond (35-33) dropped the opening contest 5-1 and reciprocated with a 5-1 win in game two. Slania allowed just one hit and one walk to go along with the season-high seven K’s. The two teams wrap the series on Thursday at 6:35 p.m. Thursday in Funnville includes the highly-anticipated celebrity appearance of Flavor Flav with In-Your-Face Fireworks following the game. Gates open at 5:30 p.m.

Game One

The Altoona Curve rolled behind Pirates top prospect Mitch Keller in a 5-1 win over the Flying Squirrels in game one of the doubleheader. The Curve jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in the first inning Wednesday. Cole Tucker opened the game with a check swing single that floated out into shallow right center field. Tucker stole second and took third when Jason Martin singled with one out. Anderson then struck out Will Craig, but unloaded a wild pitch, scoring Tucker from third for a 1-0 lead. Former San Francisco Giants farmhand Bryan Reynolds made it a 2-0 contest with an RBI flare singled into shallow centerfield. Anderson used 26 pitches in the first inning and picked up a pair of strikeouts.

Anderson worked around another pair of soft infield hits in the second inning and dialed in with a 1-2-3 third frame. Anderson used just six pitched to get through the third inning, however, the Curve continued to find the soft spots in the defense throughout the night. Altoona made it a 3-0 contest in the fourth, cashing in a leadoff triple from Christian Kelley.

Keller was able to keep the Flying Squirrels offense in check while working with the early lead. Keller advanced by a walk and single in the first and a base hit to right of the bat of Aramis Garcia to start the second. He retired the side in order in the third but was touched up for a run (unearned) in the fourth. Miguel Gomez lined a single into right field and advanced to second on a flyball out into right. Gomez took third base on a throwing error from the shortstop Cole Tucker and came in to score when Keller unloaded a wild pitch to the backstop.

Two more runs crossed with a pair on in the fifth and two outs. After Will Craig singled and Reynolds slashed a double, Jordan George rolled a base hit passed the shifted defense and into right for a 5-1 Curve advantage. Anderson (5-4) finished off the fifth inning and allowed a career-high 11 hits in the losing effort. The righty struck out six and did not walk a batter. Righty reliever Will LaMarche tossed the final two innings for Richmond. LaMarche punched out a pair and allowed a pair of walks.

Overall, Keller became the story of the game, earning his league tying eighth win of the year. Keller tossed six innings and allowed the one unearned run on four hits. He struck out four and walked one, using 94 pitches in the victory.

Game Two

Richmond turned the tables on Altoona in game two, striking early for four runs in the first inning. Matt Lipka opened the frame against spot starter Sean Keselica with a base hit and CJ Hinojosa followed with a walk. Jerry Sands then delivered an RBI double into right centerfield for a 1-0 Richmond. Keselica secured the first out on a strikeout but relinquished a two-run double down the left field line to Caleb Gindl. He then walked the next two batters, loading the bases and ending his outing on 39 pitches in the inning. Reliever Bret Helton picked up the final two outs of the frame, including a sacrifice fly from Ali Castillo to cap the scoring at 4-0 in the first.

Richmond’s Dan Slania was just the opposite of Keselica in his spot start. The burly right-hander struck out three of the first six batters he faced and retired the side in order in the first two innings. Slania pitched into the fourth inning, striking out the final two batters before reaching his pitch count (57). Slania departed with a runner on second (Stephen Alemais, walk) and was replaced by Jake McCasland. McCasland allowed an RBI double out to left field, closing the line on Slania (3.2IP, H,R,BB,7K)

McCasland (2-1) worked just the one out but received the win and was followed by two sterling innings for Dillon McNamara. The righty McNamara struck out three and walked one in the outing. Caleb Simpson set the side down 1-2-3 in the seventh and final frame. McNamara lowered his ERA to 1.65 while Simpson dropped his to .175.

The Flying Squirrels homestand continues Thursday with the series finale against the Altoona Curve. RHP Jordan Johnson (6-6, 3.76) is slated to start game three of the series for Richmond against LHP Taylor Hearn (2-4, 3.57. Thursday in Funnville includes the highly-anticipated celebrity appearance of Flavor Flav with In-Your-Face Fireworks following the game. Gates open at 5:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online over the phone by calling 804-359-3866 (FUNN).

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