Richmond Flying Squirrels drop opener to Altoona, 2-1
The Altoona Curve (19-22) bested the Richmond Flying Squirrels, 2-1, in a well-played ballgame in front of 8,632 at The Diamond on Friday night. With the win, the Curve improved to 7-4 against the Squirrels as the two teams began their fourth series against each other on the year.
Richmond right-hander Craig Westcott was in firm control through four innings, facing just one over the minimum. He retired the first 11 batters of the ballgame before a single from Adalberto Santos interrupted the string. However, he was matched stride-for-stride by Altoona righty Casey Sadler. In a scoreless affair, Jarek Cunningham belted the first pitch of the fifth inning well over the left-field wall. The solo-home run, the sixth of the year for Cunningham, gave the Curve a 1-0 lead.
Aided by a pair of double play balls – and three runners cut down on the base paths – Sadler (5-3) worked seven scoreless innings. He allowed just five hits – all singles – and walked two. He struck out three and earned his fifth win of the season.
Westcott (2-4) took an extremely hard-luck loss over his longest outing of the year. He worked 7 1/3 innings, allowing five hits, walking two and striking out five. He suffered his fourth setback of the season.
The Curve picked up an unearned run without the benefit of a hit against Richmond righty Edwin Quirarte in the eighth inning.
The insurance run became necessary as the Squirrels avoided the shutout in the bottom of the ninth inning. Jarrett Parker led off with a double – his third hit of the night – off Altoona right-hander Jason Townsend. Parker scored on a sacrifice fly from Javier Herrera, which was also the second out of the inning. Townsend recovered to strike out Mark Minicozzi to end the ballgame, earning his fourth save of the season.
Game two of the three-game series is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. on Saturday night at The Diamond. Richmond LHP Chris Gloor (1-1, 5.22) will make the start against Pirates RHP Jeff Karstens (0-0, —) on Major League rehab for the Curve. Pregame coverage begins on Sports Radio 910, SportsRadio910.com and IHeart Radio at 5:35 p.m.