Home Squirrels snap Thunder’s seven-game winning streak

Squirrels snap Thunder’s seven-game winning streak


richmond flying squirrelsThe Flying Squirrels (30-50) were looking for their own Friday night fireworks in Trenton amidst an 0-4 start in the head-to-head matchups against the surging Thunder (51-30). With Sam Coonrod making just his third Double-A start, the righthander’s fastball helped him power through a tough lineup for his first Squirrels win. Richmond used a 14-hit barrage and took advantage of five Thunder errors to even the series at a game apiece with a 6-2 victory before 3,323 at ARM & HAMMER Park.

With Caleb Smith making just his third start of the season for the Thunder, it ensured the Squirrels would see a lefthander for the first three games of the series. The offense started its burst in the second once again, with Ryder Jones working a four-pitch walk to start the inning. Brandon Bednar then snuck a double into the left field corner, and Mark Payton’s juggling act allowed Jones to score on the error for a 1-0 lead. Two batters later, Steve Lerud lashed the first pitch he saw to the right field wall for his second double and a 2-0 score.

Coonrod came out strong with good command, and held the Thunder hitless for the first two innings. The Squirrels nearly broke it open in the third when they loaded the bases thanks to two more Trenton errors and an infield single from Bednar. With one out, Carlos Moncrief pulled a ball to Dante Bichette Jr at first, resulting in an inning-ending 3-2 double play.

In the bottom of the third, Coonrod started his third straight inning with a punchout, getting Bichette to chase a high fastball. Michael O’Neill followed with a double, Tyler Wade singled, and Dustin Fowler walked to load the bases for the heart of the order. Miguel Andujar’s RBI groundout made it 2-1, and Coonrod got All-Star Kyle Higashioka to fly out to deep left center to keep the lead intact with two runners in scoring position.

Trenton’s defense really hurt them in the fourth, with a pair of errors on the infield opening the door for RBIs from Duggar, C.J. Hinojosa, and Chris Shaw to widen the Squirrels lead to 5-1. The San Jose trio was heavily involved once again, occupying three of the top four spots in the lineup for the second straight night. Four errors behind Smith (1-3) ramped up his pitch count early, and he was done  with just two outs in the fourth.

As one of two Squirrels without a hit in the fifth, Moncrief more than made up for it when he drove a 2-1 pitch from Travis Hissong into the wind and tucked a solo home run into the left field corner to make it 6-1. Coonrod controlled the Thunder after allowing the one run in the third, and at that point retired 11 out of 12 to use just 69 pitches through six.

The Giants’ fifth overall prospect left with two outs in the seventh after Lane Adams led off with a double into left. Bednar later allowed Bichette’s groundball to get by at second base to bring Adams home and trim the lead to 6-2. Coonrod got the second out and walked Wade, and Miguel Ojeda’s call to Matt Reynolds was answered as the lefthander needed just two pitches for the final out. Only one of the two runs charged to Coonrod (1-1) were earned on a night where he let up four hits and two walks while striking out four in six-and-two-thirds.

Ray Black and Tyler Mizenko each faced the minimum in the eighth and ninth, and the Squirrels had their first win in five tries against the Thunder by a final of 6-2. On the offensive side, Richmond got two-hit games from Duggar, Christian Arroyo, Jones, and Bednar, while Shaw provided three singles.

The series continues on Saturday night at 7:00 when Andrew Suarez (2-5, 6.53 ERA) takes on fellow lefthander Jordan Montgomery (6-3, 2.88 ERA). After this weekend series, the Squirrels will return homeon Monday for their annual 4th of July Fireworks Extravaganza to kick off a seven-game homestand.

The full promotional schedule can be found here. Season tickets, mini plans, and group packages are currently available by contacting the box office at 804-359-FUNN or online at www.squirrelsbaseball.com.



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