Squirrels zipped in McAvoy’s near no-no

Portland’s Kevin McAvoy kept the Flying Squirrels (49-64) without a hit through the first seven innings on Tuesday, en route to a 5-0 Sea Dogs (54-58) win in front of 7,516 fans at The Diamond.

richmond flying squirrelsHunter Cole snapped the no-hit bid with a base hit to begin the eighth inning. Cole’s single was just one of two hits in the Richmond defeat. The Squirrels continue their six-day, seven-game homestand on Wednesday beginning at 6:35 p.m. A full rundown of homestand promotions including wine specials, fireworks and Virginia Tech night can be found here

Cole broke up the no-hitter to start off the eighth, snapping a stretch of 16 consecutive batters retired by McAvoy. Brandon Bednar also collected a hit in the inning before McAvoy finished the frame and his outing, matching the longest start of his career. McAvoy (5-6) struck out seven and walked a pair, using 102 pitches in the win.

The Sea Dogs took advantage of an error and a few walks to take a 3-0 lead over the Squirrels and starting pitcher Tyler Herb in the second inning. With one out, Josh Ockimey lined a single to center and Henry Urrutia worked a walk. Herb then induced a potential inning-ending double play ball that Squirrels shortstop C.J. Hinojosa could not handle. The error loaded the bases and allowed the next batter, Cole Sturgeon, to walk in the first run of the game. Danny Mars added a two-run single to left.

Perhaps lost in the no-hitter hubbub was the performance of Richmond’s Herb. Herb quickly rebounded from the three unearned runs in the second. The righty book-ended a 1-2-3 third with a pair of strikeouts, needing only 13 pitches in the inning.

McAvoy pitched with runners on base in the first and second innings before settling into a real rhythm. The Bryant University product needed just four pitches to retire the side in the third inning and 13 in the fourth. He retired 16 consecutive batters until Hunter Cole ripped a base hit passed the dive of the shortstop De La Guerra to start the eighth.

Herb turned in his fifth consecutive quality start by dealing  seven solid innings. Herb allowed just the three unearned run on three hits, he walked two and struck out seven. Herb (1-1) suffered the defeat despite the solid effort.

Ryan Halstead replaced Herb to begin the eighth inning and was touched up for a pair of runs. Chad De La Guerra smacked a one-out double and Michael Chavis followed with a two-run homer. Chavis’ 11th home run at Double-A and his 28th overall is among the best in MiLB

Richmond has been selected to host the 2019 All-Star Game at The Diamond. The homestand continues on Wednesdaywith RHP Dillon McNamara scheduled to make the start for Richmond against RHP Teddy Stankiewicz. Individual tickets, mini plans and group packages for the season are available by contacting the Flying Squirrels box office at 804-359-3866 or online at www.squirrelsbaseball.com.