Conner Menez solid in Saturday Richmond Flying Squirrels W

Richmond Flying SquirrelsBehind seven strong innings from left-hander Conner Menez and four runs scored in the first two innings, the Richmond Flying Squirrels took down the Akron RubberDucks, 6-3, on Saturday night at Canal Park.

After a 58-minute rain delay, Richmond (16-28) started the scoring in the top of the first inning. With the bases loaded and one out, Gio Brusa doubled to right against right-hander Jake Paulson (Loss, 2-3) to give the Flying Squirrels a 2-0 lead.

The Flying Squirrels doubled their lead in the next inning. After Zach Houchins drew a four-pitch walk to start the frame, Will Maddox doubled to deep center field to bring home a run. Three batters later, Jalen Miller laced a single up the middle to bring in Maddox and make it 4-0.

Akron (23-24) bounced back with a run in the bottom of the second against Menez (Win, 3-2). With runners on first and third and one out, Alexis Pantoja grounded out to second, allowing Wilson Garcia to score from third.

The RubberDucks added another run in the fifth on a solo home run by Ka’ai Tom.

Menez tossed a season-high seven innings — the longest start for a Flying Squirrels pitcher this season — allowing two runs on three hits with four strikeouts and one walk. The southpaw faced just four batters over the minimum across his seven frames and retired 17 of the final 19 batters he faced.

Richmond used doubles from Maddox and Jonah Arenado to add to its lead in the seventh. Two batters after Maddox led off the inning with a two-bagger, Arenado came through with a double down the right field line to bring him in and make it 5-2.

Arenado finished the game 1-for-5 with an RBI double. He has hit safely in five straight games and 12 of the last 15. Arenado has also tallied at least one RBI in each of the last six games, the longest RBI streak of the season for a member of the Flying Squirrels.

The Flying Squirrels tacked on a final run in the top of the ninth. Houchins doubled to lead off the inning and later scored on an RBI single from Miller.

Houchins went 2-for-3 with a triple and double while Miller finished the game 2-for-4 with two RBIs and a stolen base. The steal was Miller’s 12th of the season, good for a new career high for steals in a single season.

Right-hander Kieran Lovegrove (Save, 1) finished off the win for Richmond with two innings of relief. After striking out the side in the eighth, the former Cleveland Indians farmhand allowed an unearned run to cross in the ninth before recording the final out.

The Flying Squirrels continue their series against the Akron RubberDucks at Canal Park on Sunday when right-hander Alfred Gutierrez (0-2, 5.06 ERA) is scheduled to face left-hander Sam Hentges (1-5, 4.78 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m., and coverage begins with the Flying Squirrels Pregame Warmup at 6:05 on Sports Radio 910 the Fan and 105.1 FM.

Tickets are on sale now for the 2019 Eastern League All-Star Week presented by Genworth. The All-Star Week festivities begin on Sunday, July 7 with Mayor Levar Stoney’s All-Star Week Kickoff on Brown’s Island, followed by the All-Star Country Music Jam on Monday, July 8, headlined by Big & Rich with special guests Cowboy Troy and DJ Sinister at Virginia Credit Union LIVE! at Richmond Raceway. The Celebrity Home Run Derby is Tuesday, July 9 and the festivities wrap up with the 2019 Eastern League All-Star Game on Wednesday, July 10.

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

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