Lefty Jack Snodgrass rode to the rescue of a depleted bullpen, turning in seven scoreless innings as the Richmond Flying Squirrels (61-41) blanked the Akron RubberDucks (57-46), 2-0, on Monday night at Canal Park.
Due to their 15-inning win on Sunday, the Squirrels had only two available relievers behind Snodgrass. Richmond increased their lead on the RubberDucks in the Western Division to 4 ½ games and also established a new franchise-record at 20 games over .500. It marked the sixth shutout of the season for the Squirrels pitching staff.
Richmond struck first in the second inning. Right-hander Joe Colon issued an inning-opening walk to Ricky Oropesa. Ryan Lollis followed with a hit-and-run single back through the middle and the Squirrels had runners at the corners with nobody out. Myles Schroder made it 1-0 for Richmond with a single to right-center field.
Colon (8-5) settled in and did not allow the Squirrels anything else. However, an elevated pitch-count forced him from the ballgame after five innings. He was charged with the lone run on four hits. He walked three, struck out six and lost for the first time in seven starts.
The Squirrels padded their lead with a run against righty Enosil Tejeda in the sixth inning. Again it was Oropesa and Schroder teaming up to do the damage. Oropesa rapped his second single of the night into right field with one out. An out later, Schroder crunched a triple off the right-center field fence to make it 2-0 Richmond.
Meanwhile, Snodgrass (9-3) gave a depleted bullpen the majority of the night off. For the fifth consecutive start, Snodgrass worked at least seven innings. For the third straight start, he worked exactly seven innings. He blanked the Ducks on just four hits, walked three and struck out five. He snapped a three-decision skid and won for the ninth time.
Lefty Phil McCormick worked around a single and walk in the eighth inning to preserve the Richmond lead. Right-hander Hunter Strickland came on for the ninth. He retired the side in order to earn his fifth save of the season.
Game two of the three-game series is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. on Tuesday night at Canal Park. Richmond has yet to name a starter. Akron will send RHP Will Roberts (10-9, 3.63). The Flying Squirrels Pregame Warmup begins at 6:35 p.m. on Sports Radio 910 and SportsRadio910.com.