Phils complete sweep of Richmond Flying Squirrels

richmond flying squirrelsDespite a strong six-inning start from Conner Menez, the Richmond Flying Squirrels allowed five runs in the seventh inning and lost, 7-2, on Wednesday as the Reading Fightin Phils completed a three-game sweep at The Diamond.

The Flying Squirrels (7-10) lost for the fifth straight game, the team’s longest losing streak of the season, and have now dropped seven of the last eight games.

Menez was perfect through his first four innings and finished the game with a season-high nine strikeouts over his six innings of work.

Richmond struck for two runs in the bottom of the second to take an early lead. With runners on second and third and nobody out, Jin-De Jhang smacked an RBI single to bring in Dylan Davis from third. Later in the inning, Menez laid down a sacrifice bunt to move Jhang to second. On the play, Fargas got caught between third and home but was able to score when catcher Austin Bossart’s throw to third sailed by Arquimedes Gamboa, giving Richmond a 2-0 lead.

Menez retired the first 12 batters he faced before running into trouble in the fifth. After issuing a leadoff walk, back-to-back doubles from Ali Castillo and Grenny Cumana tied the game. Menez struck out three of the last five batters he faced.

Right-handers Melvin Adon and Ryan Halstead added a combined five strikeouts to establish a new season-high of 14 combined strikeouts for Flying Squirrels pitching.

Reading (9-7) took the lead in the seventh against right-handers Kieran Lovegrove (Loss, 1-2). Lovegrove walked the first two batters he faced and later allowed a two-run single to Cumana, giving the Fightin Phils a 4-2 lead. Two batters later, with runners on second and third and Adon in to pitch, pinch-hitter Josh Steven lined a double down the right field line to bring in two more runs. Mickey Moniak finished off the five-run inning for Reading with an RBI single.

Reading relievers Aaron Brown (Win, 1-2), Jeff Singer and Jakob Hernandez combined to hold Richmond hitless over the last five innings, including retiring the final 11 batters of the game in order.

Following an off day Thursday, the Flying Squirrels return to action Friday when they begin a six-game road trip with the first of a three-game series against the Altoona Curve. Left-hander Garrett Williams (0-1, 3.46 ERA) starts for Richmond against Altoona right-hander James Marvel (2-1, 1.99). First pitch is set for 6 p.m., and coverage begins with the Flying Squirrels Pregame Warmup presented by Air Force Reserve at 5:30.

Richmond returns to The Diamond to begin a six-game homestand on Thursday, May 2. As part of the 10 memorable past promotions series, fans in attendance can enter to win a gently-used car. The winner will be announced on the field postgame before In-Your-Face Fireworks.

For tickets or more information, call 804-359-3866 (FUNN), visit SquirrelsBaseball.com/Tickets or stop by the Flying Squirrels box office.

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