Late KO downs Richmond Flying Squirrels in 11

richmond-squirrelsThe Portland Sea Dogs (74-47) shrugged off two comebacks from the Richmond Flying Squirrels (67-53) and claimed a, 12-7, 11-inning win at The Diamond on Saturday night.

With the ballgame tied, 7-7, the Sea Dogs finally put away the Squirrels with five unearned runs against right-hander Edwin Quirarte in the 11th inning.  Quirarte endured two defensive errors behind him prior to Mike Miller providing the go-ahead infield-single.  Michael Almanzar then put the game away when he lofted a grand slam to left field.  Quirarte (9-6) took the loss for the Squirrels.

Both teams plated unearned runs in the first inning.  Shannon Wilkerson led off the top of the frame and chopped an infield-single over the mound.  He then stole second base and moved to third on a groundout fromMiller.  Richmond righty Clayton Blackburn then induced a grounder to short from Almanzar.  However, the drawn-in shortstop Kelby Tomlinson, misplayed the ball.  The error allowed Wilkerson to score for a 1-0 lead.

The Squirrels responded without the benefit of a hit in the bottom of the inning.  Skyler Stromsmoe drew a lead-off walk from Portland right-hander Keith Couch.  He stole second base, but was then thrown out at third trying to advance on a ground ball from Tomlinson.  However, Tomlinson reached on the fielder’s choice.  Couch then committed a two-base throwing error on an attempted pickoff move.  An out later, Tomlinson scored when Couch uncorked a wild-pitch and Richmond tied the game, 1-1.

Portland used three consecutive singles to open the third inning to grab the lead back.  Miller led off with a single back through the middle.  Almanzar then sent a swinging-bunt single to third base to put two aboard.  Blackburn hurled a wild-pitch to the backstop to allow the runners to move into scoring position.  David Chester then made it 2-1 with a single into right field.  Keury De La Cruz followed and made it 3-1 with a sacrifice-fly to left field.

Couch, in his first outing off the disabled list, was lifted due to pitch count after just 4 2/3 innings.  He was stingy, allowing just a lone unearned run on three hits.  He walked one and struck out two.

Mario Lisson drew the Squirrels within a run in the sixth inning.  He launched a solo-home run – his 16th – to left field.  The shot, off of righty Mike McCarthy, pulled Richmond within a run, 3-2.

The Sea Dogs pulled away in the seventh however.  Blackburn issued a walk to Chester to start the stanza.  De La Cruz followed with a single to put two aboard.  Myles Schroder also committed an error in right field on the play to allow both runners into scoring position.  Carson Blair followed with a sacrifice-fly to make it 4-2.  Stefen Welch then lined a single to left field to score the second run of the inning.  After another hit, Blackburn was removed from the ballgame.  Wilkerson capped the inning for Portland when he golfed a double off of lefty Phil McCormick off the left-field wall.  Welch scored for a 6-2 lead.

Blackburn worked 6 2/3 innings.  He permitted six runs – five earned – on seven hits.  He walked one and struck out five, not factoring in the decision.

The Squirrels began to rally back against right-hander Mike McCarthy in the eighth inning.  Elliott Blair started the uprising with a single.  McCarthy then hit Stromsmoe to put two aboard.  Tomlinson followed with a single to load the bases.  A wild-pitch allowed Blair to score the first run of the inning.  An out and a walk later, Ricky Oropesa pulled the Squirrels back within a run with a two-run single through the hole on the right-side of the infield.

With Richmond trailing, 6-5, Schroder opened the ninth inning with a triple to right-center field off of righty Noe Ramirez.  Stromsmoe tied the ballgame a batter later with a sacrifice-fly to left field.

The Sea Dogs forged back ahead with a run off right-hander Dan Slania in the top of the 10th inning.  Wilkerson led off and yanked a double into the left-field corner.  After moving to third on a groundout, he scored on a sacrifice-fly from Chester.

Devin Harris was selected to pinch-hit to open the bottom of the 10th.  Batting for Oropesa, he crushed a solo-home run to left field off of lefty Robby Scott to tie the game, 7-7.  Despite the home run, Scott (8-2) earned the win.  He also handled the 11thinning.

The finale of the three-game series is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. on Sunday afternoon at The Diamond.  RHP Kyle Crick (6-6, 3.48) will make the start for Richmond against Portland RHP Mike Auglieria (5-10, 5.13).  The Flying Squirrels Pregame Warmup begins at 1:05 p.m. on Sports Radio 910 and SportsRadio910.com.

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