Richmond Flying Squirrels rally falls short in front of Saturday sellout
The Richmond Flying Squirrels loaded the bases with nobody out to put the potential winning run at first base in the ninth inning but failed to tie the game, falling, 7-6, to the New Hampshire Fisher Cats on Saturday at The Diamond in front of a sellout crowd of 9,560 fans.
It was the second sellout of the season for Richmond (23-42) and the second-largest crowd of the season. The Flying Squirrels sold out Opening Night for the 10th consecutive season, welcoming 9,845 fans on April 4.
Trailing 7-5 in the ninth, the Flying Squirrels loaded the bases against Jackson McClelland with a single and back-to-back walks. Following a pitching change, Jacob Heyward grounded into a double play, scoring a run but putting Richmond down to its final out. With the potential tying run at third base, Zach Houchins lined out to right against closer Bryan Baker (Save, 5).
New Hampshire (30-35) built an early lead. Two pitches into the game, Forrest Wall hit a solo home run off of Brandon Beachy (Loss, 1-3) to give the Fisher Cats a 1-0 lead. New Hampshire added four runs in the third on four straight two-out hits from Santiago Espinal, Alberto Mineo, Vinny Capra and Brock Lundquist, who drove home two with a double to cap the scoring.
Richmond responded in the bottom of the third against reliever Willy Ortiz, who entered after starter Nate Pearson tossed two perfect innings. With runners on first and second after back-to-back walks, Johneshwy Fargas crushed his third home run of the season, a three-run shot over the left-field fence to bring the Flying Squirrels back within two.
The Fisher Cats extended their lead in the fourth with two doubles. Two batters after Wall doubled to right, Nash Knight tucked an RBI double inside the right-field line to make it a 6-3 game.
The Flying Squirrels battled back again in the bottom of the fourth. Heyward singled to lead off the inning, moved to second on a balk and eventually scored on a single by Jonah Arenado. Next, Gio Brusa split the gap in right-center for an RBI double to cut New Hampshire’s lead to 6-5.
Beachy retired seven of the final eight batters he faced, finishing his night with back-to-back strikeouts. He completed a season-high six innings for the first time in since August 14, 2015, allowing six runs on nine hits while striking out a season-high eight and walking one on 100 pitches.
Fisher Cats’ reliever Dany Jimenez (Win, 1-0) struck out three and walked one in two innings his Double-A debut, keeping the Flying Squirrels from tying the game.
New Hampshire added an insurance run in the ninth on an RBI double from Josh Palacios over Heyward’s head in left.
The Richmond Flying Squirrels series against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats concludes on Sunday with right-hander Alfred Gutierrez (3-3, 4.58 ERA) on the mound against right-hander Yennsy Diaz (4-5, 3.92 ERA). First pitch is slated for 1:35 p.m., and coverage begins with the Flying Squirrels Pregame Warmup presented by Air Force Reserve at 1:05 on Sports Radio 910 the Fan and 105.1 FM.
As part of the 10 memorable past players series, the first 1,000 fans 14 and younger to arrive at The Diamond on Sunday will receive a mini-bat featuring former Flying Squirrels slugger and National League All-Star Adam Duvall presented by Kings Dominion. Gates open at Noon.
Families are invited down to the field to play catch in the outfield prior to the game from 12:15-12:35 p.m. presented by Nesquik. Fans can enter the field through the Section 107-108 field gate near the first base dugout.
Kids 14 and younger can run the bases following Friday and Sunday home games (except May 19) in Funnville presented by Richmond Family Magazine. Kids wanting to run the bases are asked the line up at the Section 107-108 field gate near the first base dugout at the conclusion of the game.
Tickets are on sale now for the 2019 Eastern League All-Star Week presented by Genworth. The All-Star Week festivities begin on Sunday, July 7 with Mayor Levar Stoney’s All-Star Week Kickoff on Brown’s Island, followed by the All-Star Country Music Jam on Monday, July 8, headlined by Big & Rich with special guests Cowboy Troy and DJ Sinister at Virginia Credit Union LIVE! at Richmond Raceway. The Celebrity Home Run Derby is Tuesday, July 9 and the festivities wrap up with the 2019 Eastern League All-Star Game on Wednesday, July 10.
For tickets or more information, call 804-359-3866 (FUNN), visit SquirrelsBaseball.com/Tickets or stop by the Flying Squirrels box office.