The Richmond Flying Squirrels (53-35) surged from behind to claim a, 5-4, win over the Reading Fightins (34-50) in front of 9,316 on Saturday night at The Diamond. It marked the fourth straight victory for the Squirrels who took the series with Reading and improved to a franchise-record 18 games over .500.
The Fightins got after Squirrels’ lefty Ty Blach hurriedly in the top of the first inning. KC Serna led off the ballgame with a single into left field. Peter Lavin followed and slapped a single to left-center field to put two aboard with nobody out. Jake Fox then lined out to first baseman Ricky Oropesa. Oropesa attempted to throw behind the lead runner for a double-play, but threw errantly into left field. Serna took third and Lavin followed him into second on the error. Kelly Dugan then knocked them both in for a 2-0 lead with a single to left-center field.
Reading added another pair of runs on four hits – all either soft or sun-aided singles – in the third inning. Jake Fox got the Fightins started with a one-out single through the hole on the left-side of the infield. Kelly Dugan followed and sent a sun-aided single to center field. An out later, Brock Stassi muscled a single into left-center field to plate Fox. Raywilly Gomez then plunked a single down in the same spot for a 4-0 lead.
The Squirrels surged back to tie the game with four runs off right-hander Chris Bootcheck in the third. With the bases loaded and one out, Matt Duffy laced a single into center field to plate Skyler Stromsmoe with Richmond’s first run of the night. Mario Lisson followed and pounded a two-run double off the wall in left field. Devin Harris then tied the game with an RBI groundout.
Richmond worked in front in the fifth when Duffy cracked a triple off the left-field fence and Lisson followed with a run-scoring single. The Squirrels led on Lisson’s third RBI of the night, 5-4.
Bootcheck (0-1) departed after five innings having conceded five earned runs on nine hits. He walked one and struck out two. He took his first Eastern League loss.
Blach (7-4) settled in to work six innings. He set aside the final 10 batters that he faced. He was charged with four earned runs on seven hits – all singles. He walked one and struck out four. He earned his seventh win of the year.
Right-hander Edwin Quirarte returned from the Disabled List to work the seventh and eighth innings, retiring all six batters that he faced. Righty Cody Hall then earned his 10th save of the season with a perfect ninth inning. In all, three Richmond hurlers set aside the final 19 Reading batters. The Fightins did not have a base runner after the third inning.
The finale of the four-game series is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. at The Diamond on Sunday afternoon. Richmond LHP Jack Snodgrass (8-1, 2.99) will make the start against RHP Severino Gonzalez (4-9, 4.91). The Flying Squirrels Pregame Warmup begins at 1:05 p.m. on Sports Radio 910 and SportsRadio910.com.