In a back-and-forth tussle, the Erie SeaWolves (14-17) got the last laugh, defeating the Richmond Flying Squirrels (17-15), 6-5, in front of 7,218 at The Diamond on Thursday night. The Squirrels have now lost three straight, their longest losing skid of the season.
Richmond lefty Adalberto Mejia and Erie righty Jeff Ferrell dueled in the early going, each firing four scoreless innings. Mejia blinked first however, conceding the game’s first run in the top of the fifth inning. Steven Moya opened the inning with a triple to the right-field corner. Francisco Martinez cashed in the triple quickly as he followed with an RBI single into center field for a 1-0 Erie lead.
The Squirrels responded hurriedly in the bottom of the fifth against Ferrell. With one out, Devin Harris lofted a high-fly ball to deep left-center field. Erie center fielder Jamie Johnson couldn’t run it down, and Harris scooted into third with a triple. Kelby Tomlinson then lifted a sacrifice-fly to center field to plate Harris and tie the game, 1-1.
Erie bounced right back to reclaim the lead in the top of the sixth inning. With one away in the inning, Aaron Westlake launched a solo-home run to right field. Westlake’s sixth of the year gave Erie a 2-1 advantage. The SeaWolves weren’t done in the inning as an out later Wade Gaynor doubled into left-center field. Moya followed with a single to right field to plate Gaynor and give the SeaWolves a 3-1 lead.
Mejia departed after six innings having conceded three earned runs on six hits. He walked one, struck out six and did not factor in the decision.
jarrett parker brought the Squirrels back within a run in the bottom of the sixth inning when he blasted a solo-home run to left-center field. The solo-shot, Parker’s second of the year, made it 3-2 for Erie.
Ferrell also settled for a no-decision, allowing two runs over six innings. He permitted five hits, walked three and struck out
The SeaWolves tacked on a run against Bryce Bandilla in the seventh, but the Squirrels once again had the answer in the bottom of the inning. They rallied with two outs against right-handed reliever Brennan Smith to tie the game, 4-4. They did so with four consecutive singles, the first of which was supplied by Devin Harris. Kelby Tomlinson and Tyler Graham both followed with singles to load the bases. Matt Duffy then shot a single to the right of the first baseman Aaron Westlake. He knocked it down, but flipped it off the leg of the arriving Duffy. As it shot into right field, two runs scored to level the ballgame.
However, Erie got the final say in the top of the eighth inning against Bandilla. Ramon Cabrera, Gaynor and Moya notched three consecutive doubles to plate two runs, giving Erie a 6-4 edge. Bandilla (0-1) allowed three runs in relief to take the loss, his first.
Right-hander Corey Knebel (3-0) notched the final out of the seventh inning and took it the rest of the way for the win. He did concede a run in the bottom of the ninth inning to cap the scoring. Duffy knocked in Graham with a sacrifice-fly to finalize the score.
Game two of the four-game series is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at The Diamond on Friday night. Richmond RHP Kyle Crick (1-1, 4.60) will make the start against Erie RHP Tommy Collier (0-5, 11.05). Pregame coverage will begin on Sports Radio 910 and SportsRadio910.com at 6:35 p.m.