The New Britain Rock Cats (20-23) jumped out quickly and never looked back, dropping the Richmond Flying Squirrels (22-21), 7-2, on Tuesday night at New Britain Stadium. The Rock Cats have claimed the first two games of the series.
The Rock Cats hurriedly opened the scoring against lefty Adalberto Mejia in the bottom of the first inning. Mejia surrendered three consecutive hits to start his outing, permitting a single to Corey Wimberly, a double to Tony Thomas and an RBI single to Nate Hanson. Kennys Vargas then lofted a sacrifice-fly to center field to make it 2-0. An out later, Daniel Ortiz launched a double off the wall in right-center field to cap the inning with the Rock Cats in front, 3-0.
The Squirrels responded immediately, plating two runs in the top of the second off of lefty Sean Gilmartin. Mario Lisson led off and singled past the third baseman, Hanson. Angel Villalona followed and took the same path for a double into the left-field corner. Myles Schroder grounded out to bring in the first run and Ricky Oropesa sent a sacrifice-fly to center field to bring in the second. The Squirrels departed the inning trailing, 3-2.
New Britain tacked on a run in the third inning against Mejia. Thomas started the inning with a single and promptly stole second base. Hanson struck out, but Vargas lined a single into left field to put runners at the corners. Ortiz then ripped his second double of the night – into the right-field corner – to plate Thomas for a 4-2 advantage.
Mejia walked the first two batters in the fifth inning before he called it a night. Both later scored against righty Austin Fleet as the Rock Cats went ahead, 6-2. Mejia (1-4) absorbed the loss over four innings plus two batters. He was touched up for six runs – five earned – on eight hits. He walked two and struck out four, remaining winless over his last seven starts.
Meanwhile, Gilmartin (4-2) settled into a groove following the hiccup in the second. He finished eight strong innings by retiring 21 of the final 22 batters that he faced. Nine of those outs came by way of strikeout – his total for the evening. He earned the win in his longest outing of the year, charged with two runs on four hits. He walked none, improving to 2-0 against Richmond.
New Britain got their final run off of right-hander Austin Fleet in the eighth inning. It was the only run Fleet surrendered as he saved the bullpen by turning in four innings. Right-hander Lester Oliveros finished off the Squirrels in order in the ninth. 24 of the final 25 Richmond hitters were retired. Devin Harris, who singled, was the only man to reach.
Game three of the four-game series is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. on Wednesday night at New Britain Stadium. Richmond LHP Kelvin Marte (1-2, 6.75) makes the start against New Britain LHP Pat Dean (2-1, 3.80). The Flying Squirrels Pregame Warmupbegins at 6:05 p.m. on Sports Radio 910 and SportsRadio910.com.