The Harrisburg Senators (33-50) scored four runs in the eighth inning to break open a tie-game and down the Richmond Flying Squirrels (49-35), 6-2, on Wednesday night at Metro Bank Park. The win for Harrisburg snapped a string of five consecutive wins for the Squirrels in the season-series.
Right-hander Austin Fleet endured nearly immediate control problems in the first inning. The Senators took advantage to take an early 2-0 lead. With one out, Fleet walked Caleb Ramsey on four pitches. He then hit the following batter, Cutter Dykstra. Matt Skole then drilled a two-run double through the alley in right-center field. Fleet went on to hit an additional batter and walk another in the inning, but no further damage was done.
Harrisburg right-hander John Simms coasted through the first six innings, not allowing the Squirrels a run on just four hits. However, Richmond finally got to him and chased him in the seventh. With one out, Devin Harris singled into left-center field. Ricky Oropesa followed and cranked an RBI double off the wall in right-center field. Simms was lifted from the ballgame, leaving with a 2-1 lead.
Simms worked 6 1/3 innings. He allowed just the lone run on six hits, walked one and struck out five. He did not factor in the decision.
Fleet got stronger as the night went along, ultimately working seven innings. He limited the Senators to two runs on three hits, worked around a career-high five walks and struck out six. Fleet also hit two batters.
Richmond tied the game against Simms’ successor, Tyler Herron, in the eighth inning. Herron walked Skyler Stromsmoe to start the inning. Tyler Graham then pinch-hit for Fleet. He attempted to sacrifice Stromsmoe to second but wound up bunting for a hit. Kelby Tomlinson then laid down a bunt. Herron fielded it and tried to go to third. However, Stromsmoe beat the throw and the Squirrels had the bases loaded with nobody out. jarrett parker struck out, but Matt Duffy flied to right field to bring home Stromsmoe and tie the game, 2-2.
Things unraveled for the Squirrels in the eighth inning as right-hander Cody Hall entered. He walked Michael Taylor to start trouble. Taylor was bunted to second and scored for a, 3-2, lead on a single from Dykstra. A pair of walks from Hall – one intentional – then loaded the bases. Ricky Hague then delivered the knockout blow with a bases-clearing double to right-center field for a 6-2 lead. Hall (1-3) was charged with four runs in the inning and took the loss.
Despite allowing the game-tying run, Herron (3-2) earned the win. Right-hander Robert Benincasa handled the ninth inning in a non-save situation.
The finale of the four-game series is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. on Thursday night at Metro Bank Park. Richmond LHP Adalberto Mejia (4-6, 5.73) will make the start against Harrisburg RHP James Simmons (0-0, 5.16). The Flying Squirrels Pregame Warmup begins at 6:30 p.m. on Sports Radio 910 and SportsRadio910.com.