Richmond completes doubleheader sweep of New Hampshire

richmond-squirrelsThe Richmond Flying Squirrels (70-54) swept a doubleheader from the new hampshire Fisher Cats (59-65)on Thursday night at Northeast Delta Dental Stadium.  The Squirrels took the opener, 6-2, before battling from behind to claim the nightcap, 4-3.  With the wins, the Squirrels maintain their 1 ½ game lead on Akron in the Western Division.  They also increased their cushion for a playoff spot to nine games over Bowie.

Richmond got started hurriedly against right-hander P.J. Walters, stringing together three consecutive hits to start game one.  Tyler Graham opened the first inning with a single to left field.  Kelby Tomlinson followed with a hit-and-run single to put runners at the corners.  The Squirrels then executed a successful double-steal of second base and home plate.  Graham streaked in for a 1-0 lead.  Blake Miller then made it 2-0 when he cracked an RBI double into the left-center field alley.

The Fisher Cats got their first run of the ballgame off lefty Jack Snodgrass in the second inning.  Kevin Nolan singled off the wall in right field to lead off the inning.  He advanced to second on a wild-pitch.  Mike McDade then sent a groundball to Tomlinson – the shortstop.  Nolan headed to third and Tomlinson tried unsuccessfully to throw him out there.  The fielder’s choice put runners at the corners with nobody out.  Snodgrass struck out Michael Crouse, but Yusuf Carter lifted a sacrifice-fly to left field to cut the Richmond lead to one, 2-1.

The Squirrels got the run back in the third.  Miller was the catalyst, cracking his second double of the night with one out.  Miller then advanced to third on a throwing error assessed to Walters.  He scored when Devin Harris sent a ball trickling to the right side of the mound.  Walters committed his second throwing error of the inning on the play, allowing Richmond to take a 3-1 lead.

new hampshire once again trimmed the lead to a lone run in the bottom of the third.  Snodgrass hit the first man to the plate, Jorge Flores.  Flores the broke for second base.  Snodgrass had him picked off, but threw wildly past first base.  Flores advanced to third on the error and scored when Andy Burns shoved a double into right field.

Richmond tacked the run back on to their lead in the fourth.  Eliezer Zambrano sparked the inning with a lead-off single to right field.  He moved to second on a groundout and scored when Tomlinson sent a single to right-center field.

Walters (1-1) called it a night after four innings.  He was charged with four runs – three earned – on six hits.  He walked two and struck out nine.

Righty Justin Jackson came on in relief to begin the fifth inning and promptly walked Mario Lisson.  Harris then yanked a double into the left-field corner.  Lisson raced around for a 5-2 lead.

Snodgrass (10-5) got stronger as he went along, earning the win over six solid innings.  He allowed two runs on three hits, walked one and struck a season-high matching seven.  The win was his 10th of the season.

Elliott Blair notched an RBI single in the top of the seventh inning as the Squirrels capped the scoring in game one.  Righty Hunter Strickland had no trouble finishing the win, facing the minimum in the seventh.

The Fisher Cats grabbed the early lead in game two, plating a first-inning run against right-hander Chris Stratton.  Jon Berti started the inning with a single.  With Berti running, Matt Newman then lashed a double off the left-center field wall.  Berti scored easily for a 1-0 lead.

Myles Schroder led off the third inning and smacked a solo-home run to right field off of right-hander Mike Lee.  His fourth of the season pull the Squirrels even, 1-1.

new hampshire grabbed the lead right back in the bottom of the third.  Jorge Flores and Berti recorded back-to-back singles to start the inning, putting runners at the corners with nobody out.  Newman then knocked in his second run of the ballgame with a sacrifice-fly to left field.  Flores scored for a 2-1 advantage.

Ricky Oropesa pulled the Squirrels even again in the fifth inning.  He led off with a solo-shot to right field off of Lee.  Oropesa’s fifth of the season tied the game, 2-2.

The Fisher Cats once again worked in front in the fifth inning, plating their third run off of Stratton.  Andy Fermin opened the inning with a single and Flores followed with his second single to put two aboard.  Berti bunted up the pair, and Newman knocked in his third run of the game with his second sacrifice-fly to left field.

Lee worked into the sixth inning and found trouble there.  Tomlinson started the Squirrels towards the lead with an inning-opening double.  Lee then walked Miller before being lifted in favor of Randy Boone.  Lisson forced Miller, but Harris blistered a two-run double to left field to put Richmond in front, 4-3.

Stratton (1-1) was lifted after five innings and earned his first Double-A win.  He was charged with three earned runs on seven hits.  He walked none and struck out three.  Lee (0-1) worked five innings plus two batters to take the loss.  He permitted four runs on five hits, walked one and struck out six.

Lefty Steven Okert worked the final two innings to earn his fourth save with the Squirrels.

The Squirrels continue their New England road trip as they travel to Portland, ME, to open a three-game series with the Portland Sea Dogs at Hadlock Field on Friday night.  The opener is scheduled for 7 p.m. as Richmond LHP Ty Blach (7-6, 3.25) will make the start against Portland LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (4-7, 4.31). The Flying Squirrels Pregame Warmup begins at 6:30 p.m. on Sports Radio 910 and SportsRadio910.com.

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