Richmond Flying Squirrels improve to 3-0 with doubleheader sweep
The Richmond Flying Squirrels held the Hartford Yard Goats to just one run across the two games of Saturday’s double-header, picking up a 2-1, walk-off win in extras in the day’s first game and a 3-0 shutout in the nightcap.
The two wins give the Flying Squirrels a 3-0 record to start the 2019 season, marking the best start to a season in franchise history.
The Flying Squirrels secured the walk-off win in the eighth. With the bases loaded, Heath Quinn drove the first pitch he saw from Hartford pitcher Alexander Guillen (Loss, 0-1) to right, bringing home Johneshwy Fargas with a sacrifice fly.
The game was scoreless until the top of the sixth. Right-hander Rodolfo Martinez relieved Menez, but walked three straight batters to load the bases before exiting in favor of right-hander Kieran Lovegrove. On a 2-2 pitch, third baseman Colton Welker hit a fielder’s choice ground ball to third base to bring home Rubago as the game’s first run. Third baseman Jonah Arenado nearly threw out Rubago at the plate trying to score after stepping on third, but his throw hit Rubago in the back.
The Flying Squirrels tied the game in the seventh. After Brock Stassi led off with a double down the right-field line and Jalen Miller entered the game as a pinch-runner, Arenado singled up the middle to put runners on first and third with no outs. Two batters later, Jacob Heyward laced a pinch-hit, RBI single to left to bring home Miller and tie the game, forcing extra innings.
Richmond native right-hander Connor Overton (Win, 1-0) pitched the eighth inning for the Flying Squirrels, working out a jam with Arenado’s help. With a runner on third and one out, Arenado fielded a ground ball from Rubago and dove across the third base line to tag out Alan Trejo, who began the inning on second as the placed runner. Overton struck out pinch-hitter Scott Burcham to end the inning.
Richmond left-hander Conner Menez retired the first seven batters he faced in Game One en route to tossing five scoreless innings. The southpaw struck out five, walked one and allowed just one hit, a sun-aided double to Hartford (0-3) catcher Chris Rubago, in his first start of the season.
The second game of Saturday’s doubleheader featured more strong pitching from the Flying Squirrels, with left-hander Garrett Williams, right-hander Ryan Halstead (Win, 1-0) and right-hander Melvin Adon (Save, 1) combining for Richmond’s second shutout through the first three games of the season.
All three of the Flying Squirrels’ runs came in the third inning. After Arenado led off with single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt from Williams, Heyward walked and Miller singled to load the bases for Levi Michael, who stroked a sacrifice line-out to right field to bring home Arenado to give Richmond a 1-0 lead.
Next, outfielder Dylan Davis walked to re-load the bases for Quinn. However, Quinn had to leave the game with an apparent injury after fouling back the first pitch of the at-bat. Fargas entered the game for Quinn and promptly delivered. He hit a ground ball up the middle to bring in Heyward, while Miller crossed the plate behind him thanks to a throwing error by second baseman Ryan Metzler to make it a 3-0 game.
Williams finished his four innings with five strikeouts allowing just two hits and walking none. Halstead struck out four in two hitless and scoreless innings, while Adon walked one and struck out one in a clean ninth inning to earn the save.
The Flying Squirrels’ opening homestand continues on Sunday against the Yard Goats at 1:05 p.m. Right-hander Brandon Beachy will start for Richmond against Hartford left-hander Ty Culberth.
The first 1,000 fans through the Squirrely Gates on Sunday receive a gold 10th Season Fleece Blanket presented by Pepsi. Every Sunday in Funnville, families are invited down to the field to play catch in the outfield from 12:15-12:35 PM presented by Nesquik. Fans can enter the field through the Section 107-108 field gate near the first base dugout. Kids 14 & younger can run the bases following Friday and Sunday home games (except May 19) in Funnville presented by Richmond Family Magazine.
For tickets or more information, call 804-359-3866 (FUNN), visit SquirrelsBaseball.com/Tickets or stop by the Flying Squirrels box office.