The Richmond Flying Squirrels (52-35) didn’t allow a run to the Reading Fightin Phils (34-49) all evening as they claimed a doubleheader sweep in front of 9,560 at The Diamond on Friday night. The capacity-crowd witnessed the Squirrels climb to a franchise-record 17 games over .500 with a,1-0, win in game one and a, 2-0, triumph in game two.
Richmond lefty Kelvin Marte and Reading southpaw Adam Loewen were both superb in game one. Each worked into the sixth inning having not allowed a run. Marte didn’t allow his first hit until the fourth, while the Squirrels didn’t collect their first off Loewen until the fifth.
However, it was the Squirrels that notched the only run of the ballgame in the sixth inning. Loewen started his own problems with a lead-off walk issued to Kelby Tomlinson. Matt Duffy then put runners on the corners with a hit-and-run single. Loewen hit Mario Lisson to load the bases and walked Devin Harris to force in the only run of the ballgame.
Each starter was credited with a complete-game. Loewen (0-2) took the hard-luck loss over six innings. He conceded just the lone run on two hits, walked three, hit one and struck out four.
Marte (7-3) authored the second complete-game shutout of the season for Richmond, stretching over seven innings. He permitted just three hits, walked one and struck out four.
Harris opened the scoring in game two for the Squirrels in the bottom of the second inning. He led off and blasted a solo-home run off of right-hander Colton Murray (0-3). Harris’ seventh of the season banged off the left-field foul pole to give Richmond a 1-0 lead.
The Squirrels doubled that advantage in the third. Tyler Graham ignited the inning when he lifted a ground-rule double to left-center field. Tomlinson followed and cracked an RBI single to right field. Graham scored for a 2-0 cushion. The second run was also charged to Murray, who took the loss over 2 1/3 innings.
Right-hander Clayton Blackburn (3-6), making his return from the Disabled List, was brilliant over five scoreless innings. He allowed just two hits, walked one and struck out four. He retired the final 10 batters that he faced. Only a limited pitch-count forced him from the game, which he won.
Lefty Josh Osich and right-hander Hunter Strickland backed up Blackburn’s effort, finishing off the second shutout of the night. Osich handled the sixth inning, while Strickland worked the seventh to earn his third save of the season.
Game three of the four-game series is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. at The Diamond on Saturday night. Richmond LHP Ty Blach (6-4, 2.75) will make the start against RHP Chris Bootcheck (0-0, —). The Flying Squirrels Pregame Warmup begins at 5:35 p.m. on Sports Radio 910 andSportsRadio910.com.