Richmond Flying Squirrels rocked in opener with Altoona

richmond-squirrelsThe Altoona Curve (20-27) matched season-highs for both hits (18) and runs (14) as they pounded the Richmond Flying Squirrels (23-23), 14-4, on Friday night at Peoples Natural Gas Field.  With the win, the last-place Curve improved to 8-6 against the Squirrels on the season.

Jarrett Parker started the ballgame with a bang when he took Altoona righty Jameson Taillon deep to left-center field.  The solo-blast, which led off the ballgame, was Parker’s team-leading sixth and put Richmond in front, 1-0.

However, it was all Altoona from there.  After loading the bases with nobody out in the second inning against Richmond righty Craig Westcott and not scoring, the Curve finally broke through in the third.  Charlie Cutler got the Curve started with a one-out infield single.  Andrew Lambo then walked and Jarek Cunningham singled to load the bases, still with one out.  Adalberto Santos then lined a sacrifice fly to right field to tie the ballgame, 1-1.

The Curve loaded the bases against Westcott for the third consecutive inning in the fourth.  This time they took advantage to seize control of the ballgame.  Andrew Lambo delivered a bases-clearing triple through the alley in left-center field.  Taillon, Mel Rojas Jr. and Cutler all scored for a 4-1 lead.

Westcott (2-5) departed to the loss after just four innings.  He conceded four earned runs on seven hits, walked four and struck out four.

Taillon (3-5) hung around just long enough to earn his third win of the season.  He lasted five innings, allowing just the lone run on five hits.  He walked three and struck out six, earning his second win of the season against Richmond and his first in his last seven starts.

The Curve broke the game open with a 10-batter, six-run sixth inning.  The bulk of the damage was done against Richmond righty Taylor Rogers.  Cunningham notched an RBI single and Justin Howard punched a two-run double up the left-field line.  Rogers left on the double, and right-hander Drew Bowlin took over for him.  He allowed a two-run triple to Carlos Paulino and an RBI single to pitcher Ethan Hollingsworth.  When the dust cleared, Rogers had been charged with five earned runs and the Squirrels trailed, 10-1.

Mark Minicozzi, who earlier in the ballgame had extended his personal hit-streak to nine games, belted a three-run home run in the top of the seventh inning.  However, the Cure responded with three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning and capped the scoring for the night with another run in the eighth.  Altoona loaded the bases at least once in five of their eight offensive innings.

Cunningham finished the night with four hits, while Rojas Jr. scored four times on the night.  Cutler also scored three times and collected three hits.

Game two of the four-game series is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Saturday night at Peoples Natural Gas Field.  Richmond LHP Jack Snodgrass (3-0, 2.27) will make the start against Altoona RHP Stolmy Pimentel (2-2, 3.35).  Pregame coverage begins on Sports Radio 910, SportsRadio910.com and IHeart Radio at 5:30 p.m.


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