Squirrels falter with five-run lead, drop series

richmond flying squirrelsHarrisburg’s Kelvin Gutierrez smacked a go-ahead homer in the eighth inning on Sunday afternoon, erasing an early five-run Flying Squirrels lead in tight 7-6 Senators win at The Diamond. Richmond (31-29) pushed across four runs in the fourth inning but could not hang on as the Senators (31-30) took the series, three games to one. The Flying Squirrels are off on Monday and will continue the homestand on Tuesday against the Portland Sea Dogs (Red Sox). Tuesday in Funnville is a Tip of the Cap Tuesday featuring a Mesh Drawstring Cap Giveaway to the first 1,000 fans (15+) presented by American Family Fitness.

Gutierrez delivered the go-ahead dinger in the eighth inning of reliever Dan Slania. Lefty reliever Carlos Diaz started the inning and allowed a leadoff base hit to Stephen Perez. Diaz then struck out his assigned lefty hitter Zach Collier, leading to Slania’s appearance with a runner aboard. Slania worked an 0-2 count on Gutierrez, but left a curveball up, resulting in a 2-run homer and a 7-6 Harrisburg lead.

Slania (0-2) suffered the defeat while Harrisburg reliever Kaleb Fleck (2-3) earned the win. Fleck entered in the eighth inning and tossed a pair of frames in the victory.

The Squirrels lead for almost the entire game, starting in the second inning with Matt Lipka extended his hitting-streak to six games, putting the Squirrels up 2-0. Richmond loaded the bases on three singles – two into the hole on the left side of the infield. Lipka found that hole on a base hit, plating a pair for the early lead.

The Senators pulled to within a run briefly in the top of the fourth inning. Taylor Gushue doubled to begin the inning and advanced to third on a throwing error during a groundball to short. Austin Davidson then provided the run with a sacrifice fly to left field for a 2-1 score.

Richmond retaliated with four runs in the home half of the fourth inning. Brady Dragmire punched out the first batter of the inning before things fell apart. Jeff Arnold grounded a base hit into left field, Matt Lipka walked and Luigi Rodriguez lined a single into centerfield for a 3-1 Squirrels advantage. Miguel Gomez then cleared the bases by ripping a two-run triple into right field and Ryan Howard also singled, pushing the Squirrels ahead, 6-1.

Jordan Johnson worked five innings for Richmond and left the game with the 6-1 lead. Johnson allowed one unearned run on four hits. He walked a pair and struck out seven. Johnson faced runners on first and second in his final inning. Facing Taylor Gushue, Johnson dealt a breaking ball on a 3-2 to end the inning and his outing

Right-hander Franklin Van Gurp followed Johnson and scuffled in his first inning at Double-A. The Senators struck for four runs in the sixth, highlighted by a three-run homer from Zach Collier. Colliers third home run of the season made it a 6-5 contest. Van gurp struck it out and settled in over the next two innings. He retired the side in order in the seventh inning and did so again in the eighth. Van Gurp overall allowed four runs on three hits. He struck out three and walked one.

The Flying Squirrels are off on Monday and will continue the current homestand on Tuesday against the Portland Sea Dogs (Red Sox). Left-handed pitcher Garrett Williams (2-4, 5.84), will start the series opener against Sea Dogs LHP Kyle Hart (4-3, 2.81). Tuesday in Funnville is a Tip of the Cap Tuesday featuring a Mesh Drawstring Cap Giveaway to the first 1,000 fans (15+) presented by American Family Fitness.Tickets can be purchased online or over the phone by contacting the box office at 804-359-FUNN.

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