Richmond Flying Squirrels split two with Harrisburg

richmond flying squirrelsThe Richmond Flying Squirrels (21-17) exploded for six runs in the bottom of the fifth inning on their way to an 8-6 win over the Harrisburg Senators (16-23) in game one of the doubleheader. The Squirrels hit three home runs in the seven-inning contest including back-to-back home runs from Jeff Arnold and Dillon Dobson in the fifth inning. Caleb Simpson completed his seventh save of the season to secure the Squirrels victory. The Flying Squirrels will honor all first responders during tomorrows game with law enforcement, fire department and EMS vehicles on display in front of the gates. Stick around after the game for the annual Guns & Hoses charity softball game. First pitch is at 1:05 p.m. and gates will open at 12 p.m.

Richmond’s offense came alive in the fifth inning scoring a single-inning, season-high six runs. Both Jeff Arnold and Dillon Dobson hit back-to-back home runs off of Harrisburg’s relief pitcher Jeff Ames in the fifth. Arnold’s first and Dobson’s fourth home runs were the first consecutive home runs hit this season for the Squirrels. Ames allowed four runs, three earned in his 1.2 innings of relief.

Harrisburg got on the board first in the top of the first inning on an RBI single from Juan Soto. After allowing the run in the top of the first inning, Squirrels starter Jordan Johnson would go on to retire 12 batters in a row between the first and fifth innings.

Trailing 1-0 entering the bottom of the third inning, Ali Castillo got the offense going with a leadoff single into left field. A sacrifice bunt from starter Jordan Johnson moved Castillo to second base. Ronnie Jebavy drove a 2-2 pitch over the left field wall to give the Squirrels a 2-1 lead. The two-run home run was Jebavy’s second of the season.

After allowing one run to score in the top of the first inning, Squirrels starter Jordan Johnson (5-3) retired 12 batters in a row between the end of the first inning and the top of the fifth. Johnson would find a rhythm in the middle parts of the game until Harrisburg’s Kelvin Gutierrez brought in two runs on an infield single in the fifth inning. Gutierrez would come in to score on an RBI double from Juan Soto to make it 4-2 Harrisburg after four and a half.

The Squirrels started off slow against Harrisburg’s Logan Darnell (2-2), but eventually erupted for six runs in the fifth inning. An RBI sacrifice fly from Dylan Davis and an RBI single from Jerry Sands evened the game up 4-4 forcing Darnell out of the game leaving runners on first and second with one out. Ames entered the game and gave up both of the home runs to Arnold and Dobson boosting the Squirrels to an 8-4 lead after five innings.

Right-hander Ryan Halstead tossed an inning of relief in the sixth inning giving up two runs on an Osvaldo Abreu triple and a Steven Perez sacrifice fly. Halstead handed the ball off to closer Caleb Simpson in the top of the seventh with a two-run lead and a save situation. Simpson gave up a hit and a walk but would secure all three outs via the strikeout to complete his seventh save of the season.

Game Two

Squirrels starter Garrett Williams (1-3) struck out a season-high nine batters but was hit with the loss as the Harrisburg Senators (17-23) held on to a 2-1 victory over the Flying Squirrels (21-18). The Squirrels had leadoff doubles in both the eighth and ninth innings but could not bring in the runs to score in either inning. Harrisburg’s Brady Dragmire (3-2) held the Squirrels to just one run through 6.0 innings while striking out four.

Harrisburg scored first for the second straight game in the top of the first inning on an RBI triple from Taylor Gushue scoring Kelvin Gutierrez all the way from first base.But the Squirrels battled right back tying the game up in the bottom of the first with an RBI double from Giants 40-man member Aramis Garcia.

In the final inning work for Williams, Harrisburg’s Khayan Norfork drove in the go-ahead run with a single to right field giving Harrisburg a 2-1 lead.. With the bases loaded and two outs, Williams recorded his ninth and final strikeout of the evening to keep the Squirrels within one run. Williams lasted 4.0 innings allowing two runs on three hits and three walks.

Squirrels reliever Jake McCasland struck out three batters in the fifth and allowed one hit in his inning of work and Will LaMarche tossed back-to-back scoreless innings in the sixth and seventh too keep it a one run deficit.

The Flying Squirrels led off the eighth and ninth innings with doubles from Ryan Howard and Ali Castillo respectively, but were not able to convert. Richmond stranded four runners in scoring position in the eighth and ninth innings alone. Harrisburg’s Derek Self picked up his fourth save procuring the final out of the seventh inning stranding runners at first and second.

The Flying Squirrels wrap up their homestand tomorrow afternoon beginning at 1 p.m. Flying Squirrels RHP Chase Johnson (0-1, 7.36) is scheduled to make the start for Richmond against Harrisburg’s RHP Jefry Rodriguez (2-3, 4.35). Tickets for Sunday, as well as the rest of the 2018 season in Funnville can be found at www.squirrrelsbaseball.com.

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