Early surge not enough for Richmond Flying Squirrels in Friday night defeat

richmond flying squirrelsThe Richmond Flying Squirrels scored seven runs on 11 hits in the first three innings but could not overcome a comeback from the Altoona Curve, falling, 10-7 on Friday at The Diamond in front of 6,757 fans.

Richmond played as las Ardillas Voladoras de Richmond as part of Minor League Baseball’s “Copa de la Diversión” initiative, designed to engage with and embrace local Latinx/Hispanic communities across Minor League Baseball.

Altoona (14-13) jumped on the scoreboard with a leadoff home run from Jared Oliva off right-hander Alfred Gutierrez. The Curve added another run in the first inning on an RBI single from Jerrick Suiter to take a 2-0 lead.

Richmond (10-15) bounced back to tie the game in the bottom of the first against right-hander against right-hander Yeudy Garcia. After Chris Shaw, Jalen Miller and Brock Stassi all reached to load the bases, Jacob Heyward brought in the first run for the Flying Squirrels with a sacrifice fly.Heath Quinn tied the ballgame three pitches later with an RBI single.

The Flying Squirrels sent nine men to the plate in the second, scoring four runs on four hits. With Shaw at third and Miller at second, Stassi slashed a single to bring in the inning’s first run. Next, Heyward singled to bring home two more runs. Following a pitching change, Hamlet Martechopped an infield single to bring in Heyward and put Richmond in front 6-2.

The first four batters in Richmond’s lineup (Shaw, Miller, Stassi and Heyward) combined to go 8-for-8 with five RBIs, three walks and seven runs scored in the first three innings. Eleven of Richmond’s season-high 13 hits came in the first three innings.

The Curve scored eight unanswered runs to close out the game. Jason Delay brought in two with a double in the third and later hit a solo shot to left to cut Richmond’s lead to 7-5. Brett Pope brought in a run against right-hander Sam Wolff in the sixth to trim the Flying Squirrels’ lead to one.

Altoona plated four runs in the ninth on four hits to tie the game and take the lead. After right-hander Franklin Van Gurp (Loss, 0-1) issued back-to-back walks and a single to load the bases with nobody out, Hunter Owen tied the game with a sacrifice fly off of right-hander Rodolfo Martinez. Four pitches later, Suiter singled to put the Curve in front for the first time since the first inning. Adrian Valerio capped the scoring in the frame with a two-run triple.

Flying Squirrels pitching issued a season-high 10 walks. Gutierrez tied a franchise-record with six walks in his four innings, Wolff walked one, Van Gurp walked two batters and Martinez issued one intentional walk.

Left-hander Blake Weiman (Win, 1-1) worked the final two innings for Altoona, striking out the side in order in the ninth to end the game.

The Flying Squirrels continue their series against the Altoona Curve on Saturday. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. and coverage begins with the Flying Squirrels Pregame Warmup at 5:35.

Saturday is the Flying Squirrels’ annual Star Wars Night, and fans will be able to pose for pictures and interact with characters from the 501st and Region Legion. After the game, fans can enjoy In-Your-Face Fireworks.

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.

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