The road-weary Richmond Flying Squirrels (37-28) endured a nearly two-hour rain delay before falling, 6-3, to the new hampshire Fisher Cats (28-39) in front of 7,098 at The Diamond on Friday night. The meeting was the first of the season between the two clubs.
Ryan Schimpf blasted the Fisher Cats to the early lead in the top of the first inning. With two down in the inning, he launched a solo-home run to right field off of right-hander Kyle Crick. Schimpf’s 15th of the season gave the Fisher Cats a 1-0 advantage.
The Fisher Cats added a run to their lead in the third. With one out, John Berti sparked the inning with a double to right-center field. An out later, Mike McDade blooped a single to left field. Berti scored for a 2-0 lead.
The Squirrels leveled the score with a pair of runs off right-hander Austin Bibens-Dirkx in the bottom of the third. Myles Schroder got things started with a lead-off single. An out later, Kelby Tomlinson singled on the infield to put two aboard. Another out later, Angel Villalona drilled a two-run triple off the wall in right-center field. Villalona’s 40th and 41st RBIs of the year tied the game, 2-2, and gave him back the team lead for runs batted in.
new hampshire pulled back in front against Crick in the fifth – his final inning. Kenny Wilson opened the inning with a bunt-single and Berti followed with a single to right-center field. Wilson sprinted to third and Berti took second on an attempted throw to third. McDade followed and singled back through the middle to score both runners and give the Fisher Cats a 4-2 advantage.
Crick (4-2) retired for the evening after five innings. He was charged with four earned runs on a season-high nine hits allowed. He walked two, struck out three and endured his second loss of the season.
Bibens-Dirkx (2-1) also worked five innings to earn the win, his second. He conceded two earned runs on five hits, walked none and struck out four.
Richmond would get no closer however, and the Fisher Cats put the game away with a pair of runs in the top of the ninth inning off righty Hunter Strickland. Wilson supplied the first of those two runs with a solo-home run to left field.
Right-hander Randy Boone worked a scoreless ninth inning to earn his eighth save of the season.
Game two of the three-game series is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. on Saturday night at The Diamond. Richmond LHP Kelvin Marte (4-2, 4.98) will make the start against new hampshire RHP Radahmes Liz (0-0, 0.00). The Flying Squirrels Pregame Warmup begins at 5:35 p.m. on Sports Radio 910 and SportsRadio910.com.