Richmond comes up short at Akron
The Richmond Flying Squirrels (37-44) erased an early 3-0 lead only to fall late to the Akron Aeros (49-32), 6-4, on Saturday night at Canal Park. The Squirrels have now dropped four straight games to the Aeros and have dropped eight of their past nine ballgames. Richmond is also a season-worst seven games below .500.
Akron picked up the decisive runs by breaking a 4-4 stalemate in the bottom of the eighth inning. Lefty Ari Ronick came on in relief and walked the lead-off man, Matt Lawson. Lawson was bunted to second base and Ronick was lifted in favor of right-hander Edwin Quirarte. Quirarte got the second out of the inning, but Juan Diaz laced an RBI double to the left-field corner to plate the winning run. Chun Chen added an RBI single to ice the victory. It was Chen’s third hit of the night. Ronick (0-2) was hit with the loss for the Squirrels.
The Aeros got to Richmond right-hander Chris Heston in the second inning, plating two runs for a 2-0 lead. Jeremie Tice got Akron started with a one-out double to the alley in right-center field. Kyle Bellows then looped a single into center field. Tice raced in on the play for a 1-0 lead and Bellows took second base on the throw home. Richmond native Davis Stoneburner squibbed a swinging-bunt in front of the plate. Heston fielded and threw high to first base. Mark Minicozzi left the bag to reel it in, and Stoneburner reached safely. Bellows alertly tore around third and scored on the play for a 2-0 advantage.
Akron tacked on a third run in the third when Chen opened the inning with a single. Two batters and a wild-pitch from Heston later, Tice cracked an RBI single to left-center field for a 3-0 lead.
Richmond responded against Akron lefty T.J. House in the fourth inning. Tommy Joseph opened the inning with a single into left field. An out later, Russ Mitchell singled into center field to put two men on. Ehire Adrianza followed and pulled a double just fair inside the third-base bag. Joseph scored to put the Squirrels on the board. Ryan Cavan then lined a sacrifice fly into right field. Nick Liles followed and golfed a single into right field to tie the ballgame, 3-3. House plunked Gary Brown to move Liles to second base, and Daniel Mayora gave Richmond the lead with an RBI single, 4-3.
Heston worked a clean fourth, but struggled again in the fifth. He conceded the tying run to the Aeros before being lifted after 4 1/3 innings. He allowed four runs – three earned. He conceded eight hits, walked one, struck out two and didn’t factor in the decision.
House also didn’t factor in the decision, working six innings. He surrendered four earned runs on eight hits, walked one, hit one and struck out four.
Right-hander Jake Dunning worked 2 2/3 scoreless innings of relief for Richmond and Akron right-hander Jose De la Torre followed House with two scoreless frames. De la Torre (6-0) earned the victory after the eighth-inning uprising. Right-hander Preston Guilmet picked up his 10th save of the season with a clean ninth inning.