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Altoona outlasts Squirrels in opener, 6-5

Richmond Flying SquirrelsIn a game that saw four lead changes, the Richmond Flying Squirrels allowed two runs in the seventh inning to lose, 6-5, to the Altoona Curve on Monday at PNG Field.

Leading, 5-4, in the bottom of the seventh, Richmond (41-70, 18-26) reliever Caleb Simpson walked back-to-back batters to put the potential go-ahead run on base with one out. Following a pitching change, Oneil Cruz sliced a 2-2 pitch with two outs from Tyler Cyr (Loss, 0-1) into left field to bring in two runs and give Altoona (56-57, 20-25) the lead.

Cody Ponce (Save, 1) fired two perfect innings with three strikeouts to end the game and secure the win for Altoona.

The Flying Squirrels jumped on the board in the first inning against right-hander Nicholas Economos. After Johneshwy Fargas doubled to lead off the game and Jalen Miller walked, they executed a double steal to put runners on second and third. Zach Houchins stroked a two-run single up the middle to give the Flying Squirrels the lead.

Fargas finished the game 3-for-5 with a stolen base. It was his 43rd stolen base of the season, six shy of setting a new franchise record for steals in a single season.

The Curve cut into Richmond’s lead in the bottom of the first against Caleb Baragar. Chris Sharpe doubled with one out and moved to third on a throwing error by Fargas before scoring on a sacrifice fly by Jared Oliva.

Altoona tied the game in the fourth. After Oliva singled and stole second base, Robbie Glendinning drove an RBI sing to left to make it a 2-2 game. The Curve pulled ahead in the fifth on a two-run homer by Sharpe.

It was the fifth straight start with a home run allowed for Baragar. He struck out three and did not walk a batter while yielding four runs on six hits in five innings.

The Flying Squirrels plated two runs in the sixth against Clay Holmes (Win, 1-0) to knot the score. After Jacob Heyward singled and Houchins doubled to put two runners in scoring position, Jonah Arenado hit a shallow fly ball to right field that resulted in an RBI double. Brett Austin lofted a sacrifice fly to left field to bring in Houchins.

Richmond took the lead in the seventh when Gio Brusa singled to start the inning and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Houchins.

Houchins finished the game 2-for-3 with three RBIs. It was his team-leading 22nd multi-hit game of the year and his fourth game with at least three RBIs.

The Flying Squirrels continue their series with the Altoona Curve on Tuesday when right-hander Alfred Gutierrez (6-5, 4.48 ERA) is slated to face right-hander Pedro Vasquez (6-3, 2.83 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 p.m., and coverage begins with the Flying Squirrels Pregame Warmup at 6:00 p.m. on Sports Radio 910 the Fan and 105.1 FM.

Following a seven-game road trip, the Flying Squirrels return to The Diamond on Friday, August 9 to a four-game, three-day series against the Bowie Baysox.

For tickets or more information, call 804-359-3866 (FUNN), visit or stop by the Flying Squirrels box office.

Augusta Health Augusta Free Press Kris McMackin CPA
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