The trenton thunder (34-33) prevailed, 4-3, over the Richmond Flying Squirrels (37-27) in a nip-and-tuck affair at ARM & HAMMER Park on Thursday night. The win allowed the Thunder to stave off a Squirrels’ sweep attempt and also allowed Trenton to claim the now completed season-series between the two clubs (7-6).
The Thunder made the first inning a laborious one for right-hander Austin Fleet. With one out, Francisco Cervelli lined a single into left-center field. An out later, Fleet walked Rob Segedin to put two aboard. Peter O’Brien then sent a soft-liner into left field for a single that plated Cervelli for a 1-0 lead.
Richmond responded immediately in the second against lefty Matt Tracy. The uprising came with two outs as Devin Harris lined a single back through the box. Ricky Oropesa followed and cracked a double through the alley in right-center field. Harris sprinted around from first to tie the game, 1-1. Myles Schroder then gave the Squirrels the lead, 2-1, when he slapped a single into right-center field.
Mason Williams pulled the Thunder even in the third. He led off and blasted a solo-home run to right field off of Fleet. Williams’ second of the season tied the game, 2-2.
Fleet retired the next eight batters and had little trouble as he worked into the sixth inning. However, with one out in the sixth inning he walked Segedin and was lifted in favor of righty Edwin Quirarte. O’Brien and Taylor Dugas greeted him with back-to-back singles to load the bases. Dan Fiorito followed and sent a tailor-made double-play ball to the shortstop Duffy. His flip to second was poor however and the Squirrels were unable to turn the double-play. Segedin scored for a 3-2 Trenton lead.
Fleet was charged with three earned runs across 5 1/3 innings. He was spared the decision, allowing just four hits, walking three and striking out three.
The Squirrels got an unearned run off Tracy in the top of the seventh inning to once again pull even. Skyler Stromsmoe got Richmond started with a one-out single. Kelby Tomlinson singled on the infield an out later to put two aboard and bring up Duffy. He sent a ball bounding back through the middle that was stopped by a diving second baseman, Casey Stevenson. However, Stevenson had no play at second and threw wildly from his knees to first base. The overthrow on the infield-single allowed Stromsmoe to score to tie the game, 3-3.
Tracy also didn’t register a decision, working 6 2/3 innings. He conceded three runs – two earned – in nine hits, walked one and struck out five.
The Thunder grabbed the lead for good in the bottom of the eighth inning against righty Edwin Quirarte. With two outs, Quirarte grazed O’Brien with a pitch. O’Brien was running when Quirarte delivered a 3-2 pitch to Dugas that he lined into the left-field corner. O’Brien came in to score the decisive run from first base.
Quirarte (4-2) took the loss for the Squirrels over 2 2/3 innings. Right-hander Jairo Heredia (2-0) earned the win in relief for the Thunder while lefty James Pazos earned the save by working a scoreless ninth inning.
The Squirrels return to the RVA on Friday to open an abbreviated three-game homestand against the new hampshire Fisher Cats (Toronto Blue Jays). First pitch of the series opener is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. at The Diamond. Richmond RHP Kyle Crick (4-1, 3.46) will make the start against new hampshire RHP Austin Bibens-Dirkx (1-1, 2.42). The Flying Squirrels Pregame Warmup begins at 6:35 p.m. on Sports Radio 910 and SportsRadio910.com.