Richmond finishes the season 6-0 against Sea Dogs
Joe Panik and Craig Westcott guided the Richmond Flying Squirrels (58-59) to a, 4-1, victory over the Portland Sea Dogs (56-61) on Thursday afternoon at Hadlock Field. The win completed a sweep of the three-game series for Richmond, and also allowed the Squirrels to sweep the six-game season series with Portland. Richmond has won five straight and nine of their last 10 ballgames. Panik knocked in all four runs for the Squirrels on the day, while Westcott worked seven innings for the win.
After two scoreless innings, the Squirrels opened the scoring against Porland right-hander Terry Doyle in the top of the third. Tyler LaTorre sparked the Squirrels with a one-out single to left field. An out later, Ryan Lollis sent a single back through the middle to put two aboard. Joe Panik capitalized as he looped a single into center field for a 1-0 lead.
Doyle settled in and worked through the sixth inning without further incident. However, the Squirrels took control of the ballgame in the seventh. LaTorre was again the catalyst, leading off with a single to right field. Skyler Stromsmoe attempted to bunt him to second. Portland catcher Christian Vazquez threw wildly to second base however, and the Squirrels had two aboard with nobody out. Lollis bunted the runners up to second and third with one out. Panik then stepped in and delivered the knockout blow to the Sea Dogs. He launched a 1-2 pitch over the right-center field wall. The three-run shot stretched the Richmond lead to 4-0.
Meanwhile, Westcott held off the Sea Dogs through six innings. Portland mounted their first challenge in the seventh inning when Adam Duvall misplayed an inning-opening ground ball. J.C. Linares followed with a double to the left-field corner to put two in scoring position with nobody out. Westcott bore down and allowed just a lone run to score. He finished his day in style, fanning the last two batters that he faced.
Westcott (5-11) earned the win for the Squirrels over seven innings. He allowed just one unearned run on five hits. He did walk four, but also struck out four. He earned just his second win since May 29th.
Doyle (1-4) took the loss for the Sea Dogs. He conceded four runs – three earned – on eight hits. He walked one and struck out four.
Richmond needed three pitchers in the eighth inning. Right-hander Drew Bowlin started the inning and retired the first batter. However, he walked the second and allowed a single to Vazquez to put two aboard. Lefty Phil McCormick entered and struck out Travis Shaw for the second out. Richmond went back to the bullpen for righty Edwin Quirarte, who started with a walk to load the bases. He recovered and bounced out Linares to end the threat, with the Squirrels still leading 4-1.
Quirarte returned in the ninth inning. He had a much easier road, conceding a single, but nailing down the win to earn his eighth save of the season.
The Squirrels continue their six-game road trip as they open a three-game series against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Toronto Blue Jays) at MerchantsAuto.com Stadium on Friday night. First pitch of the series opener is set for 7:05 p.m. as Richmond LHP Edwin Escobar (3-2, 2.32) will make the start against New Hampshire RHP Marcus Walden (6-12, 3.67). The Flying Squirrels Pregame Warmup will begin on Sports Radio 910, www.sportsradio910.com and IHeart Radio at 6:35 p.m.