Richmond Flying Squirrels stunned in ninth
Down to their final strike twice in the ninth inning, the Bowie Baysox (52-50) stunned the Richmond Flying Squirrels (53-51), 3-2, on a walk-off two-run home run from Rhyne Hughes on Tuesday night at Prince George’s Stadium. The home run prevented the Squirrels from taking a two-game lead on the Baysox in the Western division wild-card race, instead falling into a tie with Bowie.
Right-handed Richmond closer Brett Bochy had Manny Machado down 0-2 in the count with two outs in the ninth inning before hitting him in the hand. That brought Hughes to the plate and Bochy quickly put him in the two-strike hole. However, Bochy hung a slider and Hughes blasted it over the right-field wall for the game-winner. It was just the first home run of the season allowed by Bochy in his 34th appearance of the season.
Left-handed starters Chris Gloor and Rick Zagone battled each other tooth and nail through four scoreless innings. Gloor retired the first 10 batters that he faced, perfect into the fourth inning. Jonathan Schoop singled with one out, but Ty Kelly bounced into an inning-ending double-play. Zagone had issued a pair of walks through the first four innings, but both runners had been taken care of on the bases. He finally conceded his first hit, to Tommy Joseph, who led off the fifth inning. However, Mark Minicozzi quickly grounded into a twin-killing, erasing a third base runner.
For the second consecutive ballgame, the Squirrels broke through first in the sixth inning. With one out, Zagone finally blinked, leaving a changeup up in the zone for Luke Anders. He crushed it into the trees beyond the right-field wall for a 1-0 lead. It marked the first home run at the Double-A level for Anders. With two down, Gary Brown sent a broken-bat single to left field. Zagone then walked Ehire Adrianza to put two aboard. Daniel Mayora followed with a single into center field. The Baysox cut down Adrianza on the bases attempting to take third, but Brown had already scored for a 2-0 lead.
Bowie had an answer as they finally solved Gloor in the bottom of the inning. With one out, Jai Miller singled. Brian Ward followed and pulled a double just fair inside the third-base bag. As it rolled down into the left-field corner, Miller raced around to score. The Richmond lead was trimmed to a lone run, 2-1. The lead held later in the inning when the Squirrels executed an improbable 9-3 double-play on a line-out from Schoop.
Zagone called it a night after seven effective innings. He left trailing despite allowing just two runs on four hits. He walked three and struck out five. With Bowie’s late heroics, he was spared the hard-luck loss.
Gloor bounced back after his trouble in the sixth inning by working a five-pitch seventh. That allowed him to continue into the eighth. He departed after recording the first two outs in the eighth, posting the longest outing of his career – 7 2/3 innings. He allowed just a lone run on six hits. He walked none and struck out three.
Bochy (6-3) endured the loss as well as his sixth blown save of the year. Right-hander Pat Egan (2-1) earned the win over two scoreless innings for the Baysox.