reading phils fight off richmond in extras
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Reading Phils fight off Richmond in extras

richmond-squirrelsThe Reading Fightins (5-3) grabbed a 10-inning, 6-5, win over the Richmond Flying Squirrels (3-5) on Saturday night at FirstEnergy Stadium.  The win netted the Fightins the series, and marked the third loss in a row for Richmond, their longest slide of the young season.  The Squirrels did their share to help along the Fightins, committing three errors in the ballgame.

The Fightins walked off in the bottom of the 10th off of right-hander Jose Casilla, the seventh pitcher of the night for Richmond.  Gabrielle Lino opened the inning with a single before a throwing error on Casilla put two aboard with nobody down.  Brock Stassi then delivered the game-winner, a long single off the wall in right field.  Lino scored to end the ballgame.  Casilla (0-1) was saddled with the loss.

Both prospect starters faltered in the first inning, as Kelby Tomlinson opened the ballgame with a double into the right-center field alley off of lefty Jesse Biddle.  Biddle recorded the first two outs without Tomlinson unable to advance, but Mac Williamson cracked a two-out single into left field.  Tomlinson scored for a 1-0 lead.  Biddle then walked Javier Herrera, and Blake Miller made it 2-0 when he plated Williamson with a single poked into right field.

Right-hander Kyle Crick also had his issues in the bottom of the first inning.  He issued a one-out walk to Carlos Alonso that came back to haunt him.  Aaron Altherr doubled following the walk, and Art Charles lifted a sacrifice fly to center field to trim Richmond’s lead to 2-1.

Both hurlers settled in after their rocky firsts, as Biddle retired the next nine batters following Miller’s RBI single in the first.  Crick nearly matched him, as he set down six in a row to take the game through the third.

Reading forged ahead in the fifth, as Biddle sparked an uprising with a lead-off single off of Crick.  Crick’s defense let him down from that point, as Ricky Oropesa committed a throwing error on what would have been the second out of the inning.  An out later, Crick induced what should have been an inning-ending ground ball.  However, Tomlinson laid back on the ball, and Art Charles reached with an infield-single.  Crick was lifted due to pitch count, and lefty Kelvin Marte entered.  He enticed a ground ball from Gustavo Pierre that should have been the final out.  But, second baseman Blake Miller couldn’t handle it, and two runs scored on the second error of the inning.  The runs were charged to Crick, and were unearned, but gave Reading a 3-2 lead.

Crick was charged with three runs – one earned – over 4 2/3 innings.  He allowed four hits, walk two, hit one and struck out seven.  He did not register a decision.

Biddle was  brilliant after his suspect first inning, working through six innings.  He allowed just the two runs in the first inning on five total hits.  He walked one and struck out eight.  He did not factor in the decision.

The Squirrels charged back in front in the seventh.  With lefty Ethan Stewart on in relief, Jackson Williams cranked a one-out double off the wall in left-center field.  Stewart then walked Devin Harris before Tomlinson launched a three-run  home run to left field.  Tomlinson’s first of the year gave Richmond a 5-3 lead.

Reading rallied in the bottom of the eighth against a trio of Richmond relievers.  Lefty Phil McCormick started the inning and walked Cam Perkins – the only batter that he faced.  Right-hander Joan Gregorio was summoned and walked the first batter he faced, Lino.  He stuck around for a sacrifice-bunt from KC Serna and gave way to lefty Josh Osich.  Osich entered and conceded a two-run single to Stassi that tied the ballgame, 5-5.

Right-hander Stephen Shackleford (1-0) worked the top of the 10th inning for the win, his first of the season.

The finale of the three-game series is scheduled for 1:35 p.m. on Sunday afternoon at FirstEnergy Stadium.  LHP Matt Lujan (0-1, 3.18) will make the start for Richmond against RHP Zach Eflin (1-0, 0.00) for Reading.  The Flying Squirrels Pregame Warmup will begin at 1:05 p.m. on Fox Sports 910 and FoxSportsRichmond.com.

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