Goats hold off Richmond Flying Squirrels for seventh straight
Hartford’s Dom Nunez guided an RBI base hit into centerfield in the top of the ninth inning to give the Yard Goats (11-9) a 5-4 win over Richmond (12-8) on Friday night at The Diamond in front of 8,265 fans. The victory extended Hartford’s winning streak to seven games. Dylan Davis connected on a pair of RBI singles in the loss for the Flying Squirrels. Game two of the series is Saturday with VCU Night, Super Blast Fireworks and a Chin Music Slap Koozie Giveaway presented by COTU. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m.
Facing Tyler Cyr to start the ninth inning. Yanathan Daza rolled a base hit into left. Cyr stuck out the next two hitters, but Daza stole a base and scored on the Nunez base hit to take the lead for good.
Cyr (0-1) suffered the loss in the series opener while Yard Goats reliever Logan Cozart (2-1) earned the win by pitching a scoreless eighth. Matt Pierpont earned his league-leading seventh save for Hartford with a 1-2-3 ninth.
Hartford worked across a pair of runs in the first for a 2-0 lead. The Yard Goats got things started when Daza lined a one-out double into left field. Daza scampered to third on a groundout and scored on a soft groundball to first base that resulted in a base hit. Catcher Dom Nunez made it a 2-0 contest on double to left center field.
The Fling Squirrels cut the deficit with a run in the bottom of the second. Facing Colorado Rockies No. 5 prospect Peter Lambert, Jonah Arenado looped a one-out double to jumpstart the offense. The next batter Dylan Davis lined a crisp single into right field, scoring Arenado for a 2-1 contest.
Williams managed to overcome some misfortune In the first inning and was aided by a pair of stellar defensive plays in the early innings. Ronnie Jebavy robbed an extra-base hit from Garrett Hampson in the second inning, taking a run away from Hartford. With Peter Lambert on second base, Jebavy made a full body dive on the warning track in left center field. Jonah Arenado followed suit with a ball hit inside the bag at third base. Arenado, fading away from the play, quickly released a throw to gun out the batter-runner Wed Rogers at first base.
Overall, Williams lasted through five innings in a no-decision. The lefty allowed six hits and two runs, while throwing 78 pitched. He walked four and struck out three.
Hartford added a pair of runs in the sixth inning off the Squirrels bullpen and reliver Jake McCasland. With one out, Lambert reached on a soft ground ball to the third base side. The play was ruled an error. Hampson then blasted a two-run homer over the left field fence, giving Hartford a 4-1 advantage.
Lambert kept Richmond off the board through the middle innings, but ran into trouble in the bottom of the third. Richmond loaded the bases on a pair of singles and a walk, setting up Aramis Garcia. Garcia brought in a run with a sacrifice fly and Dylan Davis grounded a single into centerfield, pulling to within a run, 4-3. Davis’ singled forced Lambert from the game and with the bases still loaded Hartford reliever Mitch Horacek induced a double play to keep the ‘Goats lead intact.
Lambert’s lead was saved with the double play ball in the sixth. The 21-year-old righty worked 5.1 innings and allowed three runs (two earned) on 87 pitches. He walked one and struck out three.
Ryan Howard tied the game for Richmond with a base hit in the seventh. Howard brought around Ronnie Jebavy who walked and took second and third on sacrifices. Howard’s ninth RBI of the year evened the game off of reliever Horacek.