Knuckler sandwich: Jannis deals Squirrels defeat

richmond flying squirrelsKnuckleballer Mickey Jannis limited the Flying Squirrels to one run over seven innings, pitching Binghamton to a 3-1 win on Thursday night at The Diamond. The Squirrels rallied late, but left the bases loaded over the final two innings in the defeat. Binghamton (55-61) won the series 2-1 and evened the season series at three games apiece. The Squirrels (54-60) continue the homestand on Friday against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Blue Jays). Friday in Funnville is a Free Shirt Friday and Happy Hour. The first 1,500 fans (15+) will receive a free Animal-House ‘College” shirt presented by Bojangles. It’s also Redskins Night at The Diamond.

Jannis (8-5) used his knuckler to strike out five Squirrels batters and earn the win. Luigi Rodriguez (2-5, SB) connected on two of the four hits allowed by Jannis. Matt Lipka tripled and scored the lone Richmond run off Jannis in the eighth inning. After Lipka scored on a wild pitch, Richmond loaded the bases in the frame. Reliever Joshua Torres then entered with two outs and struck out Jonah Arenado to squash the rally. The Squirrels loaded the bases again in the ninth inning on three consecutive singles (Ali Castillo, John Polonius, Lipka), but Torres struck out the next three batters to end the game.

Flying Squirrels hurler Jake McCasland tossed 5.2 innings and suffered the defeat for Richmond.

McCasland worked around doubles in the first and second innings to limit the Ponies. Binghamton did place a pair of runners on base in the third, starting with a one-out single off the bat of Levi Michael. A wild pitch moved Michael to second while Will Toffey drew his fifth walk of the series, placing runners on first and second. McCasland then escaped as Joey Terdoslavich drilled a fly ball to the base of the right field fence. Luigi Rodriguez was there to make the catch, stranding four runners for the Ponies over first three innings.

The knuckleball was dancing early on for Jannis. The righty retired the first nine batters he faced and went through the Richmond order the first time on just 33 pitches. Jannis walked CJ Hinojosa to open the fourth inning and Luigi Rodriguez followed with the first Squirrels hit of the evening. A passed ball advanced the runners to second and third with no outs. Ryan Howard stepped to the plate and looped a flyball into foul territory down the right field line. Right fielder Jhoan Urena made the catch and nabbed Hinojosa attempting to tag up. Caleb Gindl then struckout to end the Richmond threat.

Binghamton scratched across the first run of the night in the very next inning. With Patrick Biondi on second base, Mets top prospect Andres Gimenez sliced a double up the left field line for a 1-0 lead. Biondi had reached on a fielder’s choice after the pitcher Jannis walked to begin the inning. Jannis walked twice in the outing for the Ponies.

McCasland lost his command in the sixth inning and walked four batters (one intentional) to force in the second run of the night for Binghamton.

The righty tossed 5.2 innings and allowed just two runs on four hits. He walked six and struck out one while using 85 -pitches. Ryan Halstead replaced McCasland with the bases loaded and two outs in the sixth inning. Halstead struck out Levi Michael to close the line on McCasland and strand the bases loaded.

Jannis remained the story of the night and lasted into the eighth inning. Richmond produced a run and knocked Jannis out of the game when Matt Lipka launched a triple into the right centerfield gap and Jannis uploaded a wild pitch, scoring Lipka to make it a 3-1 contest. Jannis departed after that and Binghamton used three more pitchers to finish the inning.

The Flying Squirrels continue their six-game homestand with the first game of three against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Toronto Blue Jays). Flying Squirrels RHP Chase Johnson (1-2, 3.08) will start the opener of the series for Richmond against New Hampshire RHP T.J. Zeuch (7-4, 3.32). Friday in Funnville is a Free Shirt Friday and Happy Hour. The first 1,500 fans (15+) will receive a free Animal-House ‘College” shirt presented by Bojangles. It’s also Redskins Night at The Diamond with a special guest appearance from WR Trey Quinn. Tickets and information can be found atwww.squirrelsbaseball.com or by calling 804-359-FUNN

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