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Villalona’s mad dash completes walk-off Squirrels win

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richmond flying squirrelsFlying Squirrels (54-72) first baseman Angel Villalona dashed across the plate to complete a thrilling walk-off win, 6-5 on Sunday afternoon against Harrisburg (64-62) at The Diamond. Villalona chugged home from second base on a single off the bat of C.J Hinojosa, ending a three-run comeback in the ninth inning to win the series. Steven Duggar led the offense throughout the day, collecting his second, four-hit game of the season.  Six-time MLB All-Star Joe Nathan earned the win in relief by pitching a scoreless ninth. The win finished off a series victory, the third consecutive series win for Richmond.

The newly-acquired right-hander Nestor Molina made his first start of the year for Richmond and quickly made an impact. Molina, received from the Mexican League last week, faced the minimum amount of hitters through the first four innings. The former White Sox top prospect did walk Isaac Ballou to start the second inning, but Ballou was caught stealing on a strikeout. Molina used 16 pitches in the first inning, 13 in the second and 47 overallthrough three frames.

Richmond was able to provide Molina with some early offense against Nationals prospect Erick Fedde. Steven Duggar wasted no time extending his hitting streak to 12 consecutive games, drilling a double to lead of the first inning. Brandon Bednar added a base hit and Angel Villalona knocked asingle towards third for a 1-0 lead.

Duggar was at it again in the third inning, leading off the frame with a single. Bednar once again advanced Duggar to third base and Tyler Horan completed a sacrifice fly to give Richmond a 2-0 lead.  Fedde used 52 pitches through the first three innings in his third outing at the Double-A level.

Molina kept the Senators off balance and did not allow a hit until Nick Rickles singled with two outs in the fifth inning. Molina was able to the next hitter to ground out and finish off the fifth inning. However, things fell apart quickly for Molina and the Squirrels in the sixth inning.With two outs, Kevin Keyes awakened the dormant offense with an infield single. Molina then walked the next hitter and Jose Marmolejos singled into center,loading the bases. Harrisburg then took the lead when Isaac Ballou roped a single out to right field. The ball skipped by right fielder Tyler Horan, allowing all three runners and Ballou himself to score on the play. Ballou’s hit pushed Harrisburg into the lead, 4-2. He was credited with a base hit and two RBI’s on the play

Fedde meanwhile, carried on and worked around a bases loaded situation in the fourth. He retired the side 1-2-3- in the fifth and returned for the bottom of the sixth inning. The Squirrels loaded the bases against Fedde to start the sixth inning, and Fedde was replaced by reliever Sam Runion. Duggar deliverd a sacrifice fly against Runion, pulling Richmond within a run 4-3. Runion stranded the other two runners on base and tossed two scoreless innings of relief in the outing. Fedde departed with the lead but reciveved a no-deicison in the effort.

Carlos Alvarado worked the seventh inning for Richmond and yielded a run. Stephen Perez singled, stole second and third base before being broughtin on a fly ball for a 5-3 lead.  Preston Claiborne tossed a scoreless eighth inning for Richmond and Joe Nathan (1-0) worked the ninth to keep Richmond within striking distance.

Ahead 5-3, the Senators returned Andrew Robinson for the bottom of the ninth inning. Steven Duggar smacked his fourth hit of the night, a blistering line drive out to right center field. Brandon Bednar followed with an RBI single, pulling Richmond back to within a run, 5-4. Christian Arroyo moved things along with another single, but Tyler Horan bounced into a double play, moving Bednar to third with two outs. The next batter, Angel Villalona, worked a crucial walk allowing C.J Hinojosa to come to the plate and win the game.Robinson unleashed a wild pitch, scoring Bednar from third base to tie the game. Villalona also advanced on the play and came around to score the winning run when Hinojosa smashed a liner to first base. The win gives Richmond their third consecutive series win.

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