Suarez start slips away: Squirrels drop first road contest

richmond flying squirrelsFlying Squirrels southpaw Andrew Suarez tossed six solid innings and added eight strikeouts in a 6-3 defeat on Thursday night at FirstEnergy Stadium. The Fighting Phils (3-4) pushed ahead with three unearned runs in the fourth inning to grab game one of the three game series over Richmond (3-5).

Reading opened up the scoring with a run on the bottom of the second off of Suarez. The lefty needed just five pitches to record the first three outs in the first inning, but relinquished a leadoff single to Kyle Martin to start the second. Martin advanced to second base on a ground out and scored on a base hit to center field off the bat of Jiandido Tromp.

The Flying Squirrels returned fire with three runs in the top of the third inning to forge ahead, 3-1. Andrew Suarez walked to begin the rally and Chris Shaw tied the game with a bases loaded single. Ryan Lollis then followed with a two-run base hit to center field for a 3-1 advantage.

Suarez moved through the order in the third inning but was derailed by an error to start the fourth frame. Reading center fielder Carlos Tocci reached on a botched grounder to get things going. After Suarez then retired the next two hitters, Tromp connected on his second RBI single to trim the Richmond lead, 3-2. Mitch Walding followed the hit with a walk and Malquin Canelo pushed Reading back ahead with a two-run triple past the dive of left fielder Chris Shaw.

Reading’s starting pitcher Tyler Viza managed to maneuver through five innings and left with the lead intact. Viza allowed the three runs on five hits and 82 pitches. He walked one and struck out four prior to handing the ball to right-hander Mario Sanchez.

Suarez (0-2) lasted one more inning than VIza, tossing six frame in his second start o f the season. The lefty struck the last two batters he faced and eight overall. He allowed four runs (one earned) on four hits in the defeat. Tyler Cyr continued the game for the final two innings

The Reading bullpen trio of Mario Sanchez, Jesen Therrien and Miguel Nunez shut the Richmond offense down to finish the game. Nunez earned the save and Reading pitching retired 13 consecutive hitters from the fifthinning through the start of the ninth.

The Fightin Phils added a pair of insurance runs with a two-run homer from Kyle Martin in the bottom of the eighth inning. Martin drilled a ball over the right field wall for a 6-3 advantage.

The Flying Squirrels continue their first road trip of the season on Friday night in Reading, PA. Right-hander Sam Coonrod (0-0, 3.00) is scheduled to throw against Reading RHP Drew Anderson (0-0, 21.00) in game two of the three game series.  The Flying Squirrels return to The Diamond on Friday, April 21st against Reading. Season tickets, mini plans and group outings are available by contacting the Flying Squirrels box office at 804-359-3866 or online at