Menez pitches Flying Squirrels to Sunday win

richmond flying squirrelsLeft-hander Conner Menez struck out a career-high 11 batters over six innings to lead the Flying Squirrels (59-64) in a 4-3 win over Hartford (56-66) on Sunday afternoon at The Diamond. Menez’ delightful start gave the Squirrels the season series win over the Yard Goats, 7-6. The Flying Squirrels will continue their five-game homestand on Monday as they welcome in the Bowie Baysox for a brief two-game series. Monday in Funnville includes a Bobbledog Giveaway presented by Dogtopia (first 1,000 fans 15+). Tickets and information can be found at www.squirrelsbaseball.com or by calling 804-359-FUNN.

In a tight contest that featured a few crucial, late-inning outs, the story of the day was Menez. The lefty racked up his third double-digit strikeout performance of the year and his second at Double-A. he struck out four batters in one inning (third) and also struck out the side with the bases loaded (fifth). Menez allowed just two runs (one earned) on five Menez did not walk a batter and tossed 91 pitches in the dominating effort.

The Squirrels gave Menez a 2-1 lead in the fourth inning. Ryan Howard roped a double with one out and Luigi Rodriguez followed with a walk. After Dylan Davis flew out, Dillon Dobson elevated a pitch into the ally in deep left centerfield, producing both Howard and Rodriguez. Luigi crossed the plate standing up just as the relay throw arrived at the plate.

Menez retired the first six batters he faced in his 12th start of the year for Richmond. Hartford pushed across the game’s first run in the third inning when Scott Burcham opened the frame with a double. Burcham then swiped third base and scored when catcher Jeff Arnold’s attempt to throw him out bounced down the left filed line. The play also resulted in an uncaught third strike, allowing the batter Chris Rabago to reach. Menez struck out the next three batters -racking up four K’s in the inning and six over the first three frames.

Menez racked up the strikeout sand used them to escape a bases loaded, nobody out situation in the top of the fifth. Three base hits for Hartford put Richmond’s 2-1 lead in jeopardy until Menez punched out Jesus Tinoco, Mylz Jones and Sam Hilliard to end the threat. Hilliard swung through a breaking pitch, marking the tenth strikeout of the game. Menez was at 77 pitches after the fifth.

Building on the Menez momentum, Richmond gathered another pair of runs in the bottom of the fifth for a 4-1 advantage. Jeff Arnold opened the inning with a base hit and scored when CJ Hinojosa drilled a double over the head of the right fielder Drew Weeks. Caleb Gindl followed with another double, plating Hinojosa for the two-run lead.

Menez allowed the only earned run of his outing in his sixth and final inning. Scott Burcham lined a triple into the right field corner to begin the inning. With one out, Brian Mundell grounded out to second base, scoring Burcham (4-2).

Ryan Halstead relieved Menez and delivered a scoreless seventh inning. Hartford pulled to within a run in the eighth when Roberto Ramos drilled a two-out, solo homer off Garrett Williams. Wiliams recorded two outs and left the game with the tying run on first base. Richmond turned to the recently -promoted Ian Gardeck for the final out of the inning. Gardeck in his Double-A debut faced one batter to end the inning.

Dusten Knight closed out the game to earn his fourth save of the year. Knight allowed a one-out triple to Chris Rabago to place the tying run in scoring position. After pinch-hitter Nelson Molina grounded out, Knight struck out Jones to end the game.

The Flying Squirrels continue their five-game homestand on Monday as they welcome in the Bowie Baysox for a brief two-game series. Richmond RHP Jake McCasland (4-5, 3.84) is slated to start the contest against Bowie LHP Brian Gonzalez (5-6, 6.84). Monday in Funnville includes a Bobbledog Giveaway presented by Dogtopia (first 1,000 fans 15+). Tickets and information can be found atwww.squirrelsbaseball.com or by calling 804-359-FUNN

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