Late KO downs Richmond Flying Squirrels in 11
The 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.