A four-run eighth inning allowed the Richmond Flying Squirrels (59-41) to pull away from the Harrisburg Senators (40-59), 7-3, in front of a capacity crowd (9,560) at The Diamond on Saturday night. The Squirrels are playing as the Richmond Braves during Turn Back the Clock Weekend at the ballpark. Coupled with a Bowie loss, the Squirrels’ win gives them an eight-game cushion as it pertains to playoff positioning. The sellout crowd was the second of the series and fifth of the season for the Squirrels.
Kevin Keyes gave the Senators the first lead of the night in the second inning. He drilled a solo-home run to right field off of right-hander Kyle Crick, his 17th of the season putting Harrisburg in front, 1-0.
The Squirrels grabbed their first lead in the third inning against lefty Zach Kroenke. Kroenke issued back-to-back one-out walks to Kelby Tomlinson and Skyler Stromsmoe. Matt Duffy then singled to left field to load the bases. Mario Lisson bounced into a fielder’s choice, but second baseman Ricky Hague threw wildly on the relay as he attempted to turn a double-play. The errant throw allowed two runs to score as Richmond took a 2-1 lead.
Jason Martinson sparked the Senators in the fourth as he punched a one-out triple through the right-center field alley. Caleb Ramsey then laid down a successful squeeze-bunt to tie the game, 2-2.
Richmond took the lead back against Kroenke in the fifth. Stromsmoe pulled a one-out double into the left-field corner. Duffy followed and looped a double into left field to make it 3-2 for the Squirrels.
Kroenke called it a night after five innings. He conceded three runs – two earned – on five hits, walked three and struck out five. He was spared the decision.
Crick matched his longest outing of the year for the third time, lasting six innings. He permitted two earned runs on five hits, walked three and struck out six. He did not factor in the decision.
Harrisburg leveled the game in the top of the eighth inning against right-hander Edwin Quirarte. Quirarte entered with one out and walked the first batter he faced – Keyes. An out later, Caleb Ramsey singled to center field. Jose Lozada then tied the ballgame, 3-3, with a soft-single to right-center field. Quirarte (6-4) earned the win despite allowing the game-tying run.
With one away in the bottom of the eighth inning, Devin Harris launched a massive solo-home run to left field off of right-hander Sam Runion. Harris’ 10th of the season put the Squirrels in front for good. However, they added three more for good measure. Tyler LaTorre and Ricky Oropesa followed the blast with back-to-back singles. An out later, Stromsmoe blooped a two-run double just fair along the left-field line. Duffy capped the inning with an RBI single – his third hit of the night. Runion (0-1) was saddled with the loss, his first.
The finale of the four-game series is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. at The Diamond on Sunday afternoon. Richmond LHP Ty Blach (7-4, 2.98) will make the start against Harrisburg RHP Scott McGregor (0-1, 9.53). The Flying Squirrels Pregame Warmupbegins at 1:05 p.m. on Sports Radio 910 and SportsRadio910.com.