Altoona takes series opener with Richmond

richmond-squirrelsThe Altoona Curve (60-53) took advantage of a few costly Flying Squirrels (57-54) mishaps to win the series opener 4-2on Friday night at People’s Natural Gas Field. Squirrels starting pitcher Tyler Beede (2-6) was saddled with the loss despite tossing six innings and not allowing an earned run. The loss dropped the Squirrels to fourth place in the Western Division and two games behind second place Altoona. Right hander Joan Gregorio is schedule to start the middle game of the series on Saturday night.

Leading 1-0, a crucial error in the seventh inning changed the course of the game. Beede yielded a double and a walk to open the frame and end his night. Tyler Mizenko then entered to face pinch hitter Barrett Barnes in a bunting situation.  Barnes executed the sacrifice and reached base on the play as the ball was thrown down the right field line to score both runners for a 2-1 Altoona lead. Barnes reached third base on the play and Mizenko walked the next batter Eric Wood to put runners on the corners. The Curve then executed a double steal to take a 3-1 lead.

Tyler Beede pitched into the seventh inning and did not allow an earned run in the loss. He worked six frames and allowed two runs (unearned) on four hits. Beede departed in the seventh after the base hit and a walk began the inning. It was his sixth quality start in ten outings with Richmond. All four runs scored by Altoona were unearned. Mizenko finished the seventh and Stepehn Johnson allowed an unearned run in the eighth to make it a 4-1 Altoona lead.

The Squirrels controlled the game for most of the night. Mitch Delfino gave Richmond a 1-0 lead with a base hit in the fourth inning. Hunter Cole began the frame with a single to center off the starting pitcher Tom Harlan. Ricky Oropesa worked a walk to set up Delfino’s single to left field. Cole scored on the play while Oropesa and Delfino took an extra base as left fielder Mel Rojas Jr. overran the ball. Soon thereafter Oropesa attempted to tag up on  fly ball to right but was thrown out at home plate by Stetson Allie.

Curve starting pitcher Tom Harlan received a no-decision over five innings of work. Reliever Josh Smith (1-4) authored two scoreless innings to earn the win. Closer John Kuchno picked up the save by pitching the eighth and ninth inning. Mitch Delfino blasted a home run in the ninth off Kuchno to cut the  deficit to 4-2.

Beede found a rhythm in the early innings as he retired nine consecutive batters from the second to the start of the fifth inning. The righty found encountered trouble in the sixth inning due to a walk, bunt base hit , sacrifice bunt and intentional walk to load the bases. Beede then punched out Jose Osuna and induced a ground out to secure another scoreless inning.

The Squirrels continue a three game series in Altoona on Saturday night. Richmond RHP Joan Gregorio (1-1, 3.20) will start for the Squirrels against Curve LHP Steven Brault (5-3, 3.21). First pitch is set for 6:00 PM with the Flying Squirrels Pregame Warmup starting at5:30 PM on Fox Sports 910 and FoxSportsRichmond.com.


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