Richmond Flying Squirrels race past Erie, 5-2
The surging Richmond Flying Squirrels (30-24) earned a, 5-2, win over the reeling Erie SeaWolves (31-23) in front of a second consecutive sellout crowd of 9,560 at The Diamond on Saturday night. Richmond has now won seven of their last eight games, closing to within a game of Erie, who have lost five straight. It marked the first time since July 3rd and 4th of 2010 – the inaugural season in Richmond for the Squirrels – that they have hosted consecutive sellout crowds. It is the third time that the Squirrels have hosted back-to-back sellouts; the prior occasions both occurring in 2010.
The Squirrels grabbed a quick lead in the bottom of the first inning against Erie right-hander Victor Larez. Adam Duvall served a single with two outs into right field. That allowed Mark Minicozzi, who hit .427 in the month of May, to come to the plate for the first time in June. He promptly kick-started the new month with a massive two-run home run to left-center field. His sixth of the year put the Squirrels in front, 2-0. It was also the league-leading 11th home run of the season conceded by Larez.
Richmond righty Taylor Rogers, starting in the place of the promoted Fabio Castillo, worked easily through the SeaWolves in the first three innings. However, he hit Eugenio Suarez to start the fourth inning. Suarez stole second base and scored when Daniel Fields doubled up the right-field line.
The run in the fourth was the only allowed during a fine showing for Rogers (4-2). He worked five innings, conceding just two hits. He walked none, struck out two and claimed his fourth victory of the year.
Larez met his end in the fifth inning as the Squirrels padded their lead with two more runs. Javier Herrera sparked Richmond with a lead-off double to left-center field. Jarrett Parker bunted Herrera to third and Joe Panik sent a triple off the wall in right field. Herrera came in easily from third. Duvall followed and rifled a single into left field to plate Panik for a 4-1 Richmond advantage. Minicozzi followed with a single that chased Larez from the ballgame.
Larez (5-2) worked 4 1/3 innings, allowing four earned runs on eight hits. He walked one and struck out three as he took his second loss of the season.
The Squirrels tacked on a run against the Erie bullpen in the seventh inning. With right-hander Tyler Clark on the hill, Ehire Adrianza drew a lead-off walk. He stole second base and was bunted to third by Ryan Lollis. Herrera then looped a single into right field. Adrianza strolled in for a 5-1 lead.
Erie capped the scoring with a run against left-hander Phil McCormick in the eighth inning. That was the only blemish for the Richmond bullpen, who worked four innings to secure the win. Lefty Tom Vessella worked a scoreless sixth inning, McCormick turned in an inning-and-two-thirds and right-hander Edwin Quirarte nailed it down with a perfect inning-and-a-third. Quirarte earned his fourth save of the season, retiring all four batters that he faced.
The finale of the three-game series is scheduled for 2:05 p.m. on Sunday afternoon at The Diamond. Richmond LHP Chris Gloor (4-1, 4.29) will make the start against SeaWolves LHP Kyle Lobstein (5-3, 3.07). Pregame coverage begins on Sports Radio 910, SportsRadio910.com and IHeart Radio at 1:35 p.m.