The New Britain Rock Cats (19-23) downed the Richmond Flying Squirrels (22-20), 10-6, on Monday night at New Britain Stadium. The Squirrels issued eight walks, hit two additional batters and committed three defensive errors in the loss.
The Squirrels mounted a two-out uprising in the top of the first inning to take the first lead of the night. New Britain right-hander Tyler Duffey first conceded a double off the right-field wall to Jarrett Parker. Mario Lisson followed and launched a massive two-run home run to left field for a 2-0 lead. It was Lisson’s sixth home run of the season and also gave him five hits in his last five at-bats. He added two more to that streak before the night ended.
The Richmond defense helped the Rock Cats send all nine batters and score four runs in the third inning. Right-hander Clayton Blackburn surrendered an inning-opening double to Brad Boyer. Tony Thomas then rocked a triple through the alley in left-center field. Boyer scored the first run of the ballgame for New Britain. Nate Hanson followed and tied the game with a ground out. With one out, Kennys Vargas reached on an error charged to Angel Villalona. Daniel Ortiz followed with a double to put runners at second and third. Vargas scored a ground ball that was misplayed by shortstop Matt Duffy and the Rock Cats led for the first time, 3-2. Corey Wimberley capped the inning with an RBI single. Two of the runs charged to Blackburn were unearned due to the two errors in the inning.
New Britain tacked on a run against Blackburn during his final inning – the fourth. Thomas sparked New Britain with an infield-single and Blackburn walked Hanson for the second time in the ballgame. Vargas singled to center field to plate Thomas and make it 5-2.
Blackburn (2-5) limped through the fourth inning, but retired to the loss at that point. He was charged with five runs, three earned, on seven hits. He walked two, hit two more and struck out three.
Duffey sailed from his troubles in the first inning to the sixth. However, the Squirrels got to him for the second time once there. Ryan Lollis started the inning with a single. Matt Duffy followed and extended his hit-streak to 11 games with a single into center field. Parker made it three consecutive singles when he sent one off the bag at second. Lollis scored on Parker’s single while Duffy moved to third base. Lisson sent a sacrifice-fly to center field to make it a one-run game, 5-4.
The Rock Cats once again batted around in the bottom of the sixth inning as they put the game away. The inning featured five runs on the benefit of just two hits. Right-hander Jose Casilla issued two walks in the inning and lefty Bryce Bandilla issued three. Bandilla also uncorked a wild-pitch to score a run. That came prior to a two-run home run to right field for Daniel Ortiz. New Britain completed a five-run inning with a two-run single from Boyer off of lefty Phil McCormick.
A throwing error on Boyer allowed the Squirrels to get one run back in the seventh. The run was charged to Duffey although he had retired from the game at the time of the error that allowed Skyler Stromsmoe to score.
Duffey (1-0) earned the win over 6 2/3 innings. He was charged with five runs, four earned, on nine hits. He walked none and struck out four.
Right-hander Adrian Salcedo followed Duffey and worked through the eighth inning. Former Squirrel Dan Turpen finished the ballgame in the ninth. He had a little trouble, conceding an RBI single to Duffy to cap the scoring for the night.
Game two of the four-game series is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. on Tuesday night at New Britain Stadium. Richmond LHP Adalberto Mejia (1-3, 5.35) makes the start against New Britain LHP Sean Gilmartin (3-2, 3.63). The Flying Squirrels Pregame Warmup begins at 6:05 p.m. on Sports Radio 910 and SportsRadio910.com.