Richmond Flying Squirrels hold off Harrisburg
The Richmond Flying Squirrels (19-19) turned aside a comeback bid and defeated the Harrisburg Senators (18-22), 7-6, on Wednesday afternoon at Metro Bank Park. With the victory, the Squirrels grabbed the series as well, claiming two-of-three from the Senators.
After a scoreless first inning, the Squirrels jumped out front with a pair of runs against Harrisburg right-hander Caleb Clay in the second. Mark Minicozzi ignited the Squirrels with a single to right field. He scored from first an out later as Brett Krill smacked a double off the base of the wall in center field. Krill advanced to third on a bounce out and waited there as Mark Wagner walked. Wagner then successfully stole second base. Harrisburg catcher Sandy Leon threw to second, and as he did, Krill scampered in to score to make it 2-0 Richmond.
Richmond righty Omar Javier was in control over the first three innings, conceding just a lone bunt-single to Jared Head. However, he made a mistake to Anthony Rendon in the bottom of the fourth inning and the prospect took advantage. Rendon drove an opposite-field solo-home run to right field to trim the Richmond lead to a lone run, 2-1.
The Squirrels put a four-spot on the board in the fifth that effectively chased Clay from the ballgame. Jarrett Parker started the dustup with a lead-off single. An out later, Clay hit Javier Herrera to put two aboard. Minicozzi then laced a single into left field, bringing in Parker. Andrew Susac followed and roped a low-flying three-run home run into the Harrisburg bullpen beyond the right-field fence. Susac’s fifth of the season stretched the Richmond lead to 6-1.
Clay departed followed the home run, leaving after 4 1/3 innings. He was touched up for six earned runs on six hits, walked three, hit three others and struck out three. He was spared a decision in the ballgame.
Javier cruised into the fifth inning, but showed signs of fatigue once he got there. He allowed a pair of singles and walked Brian Goodwin to load the bases with two outs. He was relieved by left-hander Tom Vessella, who entered to walk Josh Johnson to force in a run. Vessella recovered to strike out Rendon and keep the Squirrels in front, 6-2.
The Senators erased the Richmond lead in the bottom of the sixth inning, plating four runs – all charged to Vessella. Harrisburg collected three consecutive one-out singles including an RBI single for Destin Hood. Vessella issued a walk to Ricky Hague before leaving with one out in the inning. Right-hander Edwin Quirarte came on and got a soft come-backer to the mound. He threw to the plate for the first out, but catcher Mark Wagner threw wildly past first base, allowing a run to score and the inning to continue. Goodwin and Johnson then contributed RBI singles to tie the ballgame, 6-6.
Javier wouldn’t have been eligible for a win regardless, and settled for a no-decision over 4 2/3 innings. In his first start of the year, he conceded a pair of runs on four hits, walked one and struck out two.
Richmond bounced up off the canvas in the top of the seventh inning, reclaiming the lead with a run against Senators’ right-hander Neil Holland. Javier Herrera sparked the inning with a single and then stole second base. Susac contributed his fourth RBI of the ballgame, yanking a double just inside the third-base bag. Holland (0-1) absorbed the loss for the Senators.
Quirarte (1-3) used a double play to end a Harrisburg threat in the seventh inning and earned his first victory of the season over an inning-and-two-thirds. Lefty Phil McCormick worked a scoreless eighth inning and righty Daryl Maday retired the side in order in the ninth to record his seventh save of the year.
The Squirrels enjoy an off day on Thursday before opening a three-game series with the Altoona Curve (Pittsburgh Pirates) at The Diamond on Friday night. The series opener is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. Pregame coverage begins on Sports Radio 910,SportsRadio910.com and IHeart Radio at 6:35 p.m.