Aramis Garcia goes deep twice in Flying Squirrels win
Richmond catcher Aramis Garcia pounded a pair of home runs to lead the Flying Squirrels (39-37) over the Hartford Yard Goats (38-38) by a final of 5-4 on Wednesday at Dunkin Donuts Park. Lefty Conner Menez (2-1) earned the win for Richmond, lasting 5.1 innings in his third start at Double-A. The two teams conclude the four game series on Thursday night at 7:05 p.m. Richmond is currently on a season-long nine-game road trip and will return to The Diamond for an Independence Day weekend celebration starting July 4 and running through July 8
Garcia bumped his home run total to six and connected on the go-ahead homer in the top of the sixth inning. Lefty Carlos Diaz backed Menez for a hold and Dan Slania recorded the last out of the game to earn his first save of the season. Caleb Simpson was in position to finish the game and had two outs in the ninth inning but unfortunately departed the game with injury.
Conner Menez started the game for the Flying Squirrels – his third since arriving from San Jose. The lefty walked Brendon Rodgers with one out in the first and Brian Mundell roped a double off the wall in right field, pushing Rodgers to third base. Menez punched out Mylz Jones for the second out of the inning and was close to escaping until a wild pitch brought in Rodgers for a 1-0 Hartford advantage. Menez tossed 21 pitches in the inning.
Aramis Garcia promptly tied the game in the top of the second inning. With one out, Garcia blasted a solo home run deep over the right centerfield wall. Garcia’s 5th homer of the season – and his second in the last four game – event the contest. 1-1. Tinoco quickly recovered by striking out Jerry Sands and Dillon Dobson
The Squirrels took their first lead of the night by erupting for three more runs on three hits in the third inning. CJ Menez and Hinojosa initiated the rally with a walk and Jonah Arenado followed with a double into left field, scoring Hinojosa for a 2-1 Richmond lead. Luigi Rodriguez added an RBI single to left field for a 4-1 lead.
The Goats clipped the lead in half in the third, connecting on consecutive, two-out triples. Mylz Jones drilled a three bagger in left centerfield and Brandon Bednar blasted a triple over the diving Ronnie Jebavy in centerfield. Bednar’s extra base hit scored Jones, but the former Flying Squirrels infield was thrown out trying to complete an inside-the-park home run. Jebavy was shaken up on the play and was removed the following half inning.
Menez was touched up for two more runs in the fifth as Hartford tied the game, 4-4. Rodgers plated a run with a RBI double and Brian Mundell followed suit with a single into right. Menez battled through and pitched into the sixth inning.
With the rain still falling and the game tied, 4-4, Garcia struck again for Richmond with two outs in the top of the sixth. Garcia belted his second homer of the game – a shot over the left field fence – putting Richmond ahead, 5-4. The multi-homer game was the third of the career for Garcia and his first with the Flying Squirrels. Tinoco finished the inning to conclude a six frame start. The righty tossed 88 pitches over six innings. He allowed five tuns on six hits while striking out a season-high-tying eight batters.
Menez departed with two runners on in the sixth inning. After recording a groundout to begin the sixth, Catcher Chris Rabago singled and pinch-hitter Roberto Ramos worked a walk. Lefty Carlos Diaz was summoned from the pen with the game on the line and escaped with the lead intact. Diaz retired all five batters he faced.
Caleb Simpson entered in the eight and set the side down quickly on nine pitched. The righty returned to close out the game in the ninth and picked up the first two outs before being removed due to injury. Slania finished the job to end a two game slide.
The Flying Squirrels continue their nine-game road trip – the longest off the year- with the series finale in Hartford on Thursday at 7:05 p.m. Right-hander Chase Johnson (0-1, 1.74) will make the start for the Squirrels against Yard Goats RHP Perter Lambert (7-2, 2.31). The Flying Squirrels will return to The Diamond on Wednesday, July 4 for an Independence Day celebration. Tickets can be purchased online over the phone by calling 804-359-3866 (FUNN).