Richmond Flying Squirrels lose opener at New Britain
The New Britain Rock Cats (11-10) overtook the Richmond Flying Squirrels (10-12) and grabbed a series-opening, 7-4, victory in front of 3,474 at New Britain Stadium on Friday night. The loss drops the Flying Squirrels to 1-7 away from The Diamond on the year.
The Squirrels parlayed a one-out walk to Mark Minicozzi into a pair of second innings runs to take a 2-0 lead. New Britain left-hander Logan Darnell walked Minicozzi on five pitches and Jarrett Parker followed with a single to left field. Andrew Susac then loaded the bases with an infield-single chopped along the third-base line. Darnell recovered to strike out Ryan Lollis, but Brett Krill blasted a two-run single back through the middle, plating both Minicozzi and Parker.
The Rock Cats got one of those runs back off of Richmond left-hander Ryan Bradley in the bottom of the second inning. Bradley issued a walk to Reynaldo Rodriguez with one out in the inning. A groundout moved Rodriguez to second base and James Beresford shot a single to left field to cut the Squirrels’ lead to 2-1.
A quick two-out rally got the Squirrels their two-run lead back in the top of the third inning. Ricky Oropesa lined the first pitch he saw from Darnell into left-center field for a single. Darnell’s next pitch was blasted by Minicozzi through the alley in right-center field for a double. Oropesa motored home all the way from first base for a 3-1 Richmond lead.
The Squirrels carried their two-run advantage into the bottom of the sixth inning. But things went south in the frame. Bradley returned and walked the lead-off man, Antoan Richardson. A bunt moved Richardson to second base and Mark Sobolewski chased Bradley with an RBI single that cut the Richmond lead to a lone run. Right-hander Edwin Quirarte came on and allowed a muscled single into right field to Josmil Pinto. The single put runners on the corners with one out. Rodriguez followed and sent a groundball to third base. Minicozzi tried to throw to the plate, but the home plate umpire shielded Andrew Susac from making a play on the ball. It went to the backstop as Sobolewski scored to tie the game, 3-3. Dan Rohlfing then capped the inning with an RBI single for a 4-3 lead.
Bradley worked 5 1/3 innings, and was charged with three earned runs on four hits. He didn’t factor in the decision in his longest outing of the year, walking two and striking out two. Quirarte (0-3) took the loss for the Squirrels, allowing a run in two-thirds of an inning. It marked Quirarte’s third setback of the season.
Darnell (2-1) was turned into the victor when the Rock Cats rallied in the sixth inning. He worked six innings, allowing three earned runs on seven hits. He walked two and struck out five as he earned his second win of the season.
The Rock Cats padded their lead with a run off of righty Jose Valdez in the seventh inning. The Squirrels got a run back when Ryan Lollis doubled home Jarrett Parker in the top of the eighth inning, and pulled back within one run. However, the Rock Cats ensured their victory with a pair of runs off of left-hander Phil McCormick in the eighth inning. Jonathan Goncalves sent a solo-home run to left field and later in the inning Sobolewski added his second RBI single of the evening.
Right-hander A.J. Achter struck out the side in a perfect ninth inning to earn his first save of the season.
Game two of the three-game series is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. at New Britain Stadium on Saturday night. RHP Craig Westcott (1-1, 3.63) will make the start for the Squirrels against New Britain RHP B.J. Hermsen (0-1, 9.64). Pregame coverage begins on Sports Radio 910, SportsRadio910.com and IHeart Radio at 6:05 p.m.