Johnson dazzles record crowd in Richmond Flying Squirrels home opener
Opening Night at The Diamond could not have gone any better for the Richmond Flying Squirrels. Starting pitcher Jordan Johnson tossed six stellar innings and launched a solo home run to lift Richmond (5-3) over Reading (3-5) in front of a franchise-record 9,845 fans. Johnson earned the win by striking out five with just one walk in his second start of the year. The homestand continues on Saturday at 6:05 p.m., with Super Blast Fireworks presented by VA 811 following the game.
Johnson smashed his first career home run in the fifth inning to move Richmond ahead 3-0. The towing shot was hit off of Reading’s starter JoJo Romero and cleared the wall in left centerfield wall. Romero (0-2) suffered the loss with five innings of work in his second outing of the year. Romero walked three and struck out two in the defeat.
The Squirrels provided Johnson with an early 2-0 cushion, plating a pair of runs in the third inning. Matt Lipka started the inning with a walk and stole second base. With one out, Ronny Jebavy delivered an RBI base hit to right and Ryan Howard followed with a single to put runners on the corners. Miguel Gomez then grounded in a run for a 2-0 advantage.
Johnson continued to be the story of the night, and not just at the plate. The righty worked six scoreless innings on 82 pitches before being lifted to start the seventh for Dusten Knight. Johnson (1-1) walked just one batter and struck out five.
Knight worked a pair of innings and allowed one run to bridge the contest to Caleb Simpson. Simpson put on a pair of runners in the ninth, but shut the door to earn his second save in as many chances.