Eighth inning rally lifts Flying Squirrels past Fightin Phils

Richmond Flying SquirrelsFueled by a strong stat by Sean Hjelle and late scoring, the Richmond Flying Squirrels won, 4-2, against the Reading Fightin Phils on Tuesday night at The Diamond.

The Flying Squirrels (40-39) snapped their four-game losing streak and have won six of the seven games against the Fightin Phils (30-49) this season.

Trailing, 2-1, the Flying Squirrels compiled a three-run eighth inning to take a 4-2 lead. With two outs, Will Wilson was hit by a pitch from Billy Sullivan (Loss, 1-1). Vince Fernandez struck out, but a wild pitch allowed him to reach first base.

Diego Rincones brought them home with a two-RBI double to center and wrangled the lead back to the Flying Squirrels. Later in the inning with the bases loaded, Simon Whiteman drew a walk that scored Rincones from third and put Richmond ahead by two.

Joey Marciano (Save, 3) entered the game in the ninth inning with a runner at second base and sizzled back-to-back looking strikeouts to secure the win.

Hjelle worked a career-high seven scoreless innings and allowed four baserunners. He finished his outing with four strikeouts and picked off a batter for the second straight start.

With a scoreless tie in the fifth inning, Brandon Martorano walked and later moved to third on a double by Whiteman. Bryan Torres gave Richmond a 1-0 lead with a sacrifice fly.

Torres extended his hit streak to 12 games with a single in the first and has collected nine RBIs on the year.

The Fightin Phils took a 2-1 lead in the eighth inning with Patrick Ruoltolo (Win, 3-0) on the mound. Matt Kroon launched an RBI triple and Arquímedes Gamboa lofted a sacrifice fly to score Kroon from third.

Reading starter Josh Hendrickson finished his start with 6.0 innings of work, allowing four hits, one run and two walks with four strikeouts.

The series between the Flying Squirrels and Fightin Phils continues Wednesday with first pitch scheduled for 6:35 p.m. Right-handed pitcher Trenton Toplikar (1-5, 5.22) will make the start for Richmond opposed by right-hander Jack Perkins (2-1, 3.83) for Reading.

Wednesday is 804 Night as the Flying Squirrels celebrate all things RVA at The Diamond. It is also Henrico and Hanover Back to Teaching Night as the Flying Squirrels honor teachers, administrators and support staff from schools by offering a free General Admission ticket to school employees from Henrico and Hanover counties with a valid school ID, while supplies last, presented by M&T Bank and Chick-fil-A. It is also Wine and K-9s night with five-dollar glasses of wine from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Plus, dogs are admitted free on Wednesday home games with the request of a dog-friendly seating section. Gates open at 5:30 p.m.

Tickets are available online at SquirrelsBaseball.com/Tickets, by phone at 804-359-3866 or in person at the Flying Squirrels offices.

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