Augusta Free Press

Squirrels even series, down Portland, 4-1

Adalberto Mejia continued his dominance of the Eastern League with seven shutout innings on Saturday as the Flying Squirrels (24-38) downed Portland (20-41), 4-1 at Hadlock Field.

Mejia (3-2) allowed just three hits and struck out four to earn the victory. Outfielder Hunter Cole provided the offense with a three-run homer in the eighth inning to pull away late. Squirrels closer Tyler Rogers finished the game to earn his ninth save in nine opportunities.

Adalberto Mejia was his same old self in his 11th start of the season. Mejia used 11 pitches in the first inning and nine in the second to retire the first six hitters of the game. The lefty retied the first nine hitters on 30 pitches.

Justin Haley was also sharp at the outset for the Sea Dogs and kept the Squirrels off the board through the first three innings. Richmond managed to break through to take a 1-0 lead in the fourth thanks to a one-out walk issued by Haley. Hunter Cole Followed with a sharp double to right centerfield and Carlos Moncrief brought in the run via a soft groundball to first base. Haley needed 73 pitches to get through the first four innings.

Portland threatened against Mejia in the bottom of the fourth with a pair of hits and a walk to load the bases with one out. Mejia worked out of the jam by inducing a Cole Sturgeon double play. The southpaw returned to form in the fifth inning and retired the side in order with a pair of strikeouts.

Richmond applied additional pressure on Haley with a pair of scratch base hits to force him from the game in the fifth inning. Haley departed with a pair of runners on base but Ty Buttery entered and picked up the final out to end the inning Haley finished with 4 2/3 innings and allowed one run on four hits on 92 pitches in the loss.

‘The Sea Dogs reliever Buttrey navigated the game into the eighth inning and he handed the ball to righty Taylor Grover. Richmond pounced on Grover to pullahead as Ryder Jones looped a single to right with one out and Ricky Oropesa walked. Hunter Cole then clobbered his fifth home run of the season, a three-run shot to left centerfield for a 4-0 advantage.

Mejiacruised through the middle innings and hurled seven frames overall in the win .The 22 year-old did not allow a run on three hits to earn the victory. Tyler Mizenko pitched the eighth and allowed an unearned run with a pair of strikeouts. Phil McCormick started the ninth inning and picked up the first two outs to start the frame. Cole Sturgeon managed to bloop a single, summing Tyler Rogers for the final out. Rogers finished the came and earned his ninth save in as many opportunies. in the process.