Richmond Flying Squirrels win with walkoff
Flying Squirrels third baseman Dillon Dobson drilled a walk-off, two-run homer in the bottom of the ninth inning to complete a thrilling 3-1 win over the Trenton Thunder (20-12) on Thursday night at The Diamond. Dobson’s first Diamond dinger energized a crowd of 6,218 and set off an ensuing In-Your-Face Fireworks celebration. The Flying Squirrels (18-14) late inning surge spoiled an outstanding start for Trenton’s Erick Swanson (7.0IP, 3H, 0R, 9K).
Tied 1-1 entering the bottom of the ninth, K.C. Hobson ripped a one-out single into right field. Hobson was replaced on the bases by pinch-runner Matt Lipka, who was subsequently thrown out attempting the steal second. Jerry Sands kept the inning alive via a walk and Dobson then delivered the game-winning shot. It was Dobson’s second home run of the year and his first at The Diamond.
Trenton reliver Jordan Foley (1-1) suffered the loss. Foley entered with runners on in the eighth inning and induced a crucial double play to keep the game tied at one. The excitement in the ninth inning negated a tremendous pitching performance from Thunder starter Erick Swanson. Both Swanson and Richmond’s starting pitcher Shaun Anderson were superb despite both hurlers receiving no-decisions.
The Thunder managed to plate the game’s first run off Anderson in the fourth inning. Abiatal Avelino opened the fourth with a single into centerfield. First baseman Chris Gittens followed Avelino with an RBI double into the gap in right centerfield for a 1-0 Trenton lead. Poised for a bigger inning, Trenton was limited to just the one run as Gittens was picked off of second and Anderson struck out Gosuke Katoh. Anderson issued a two-out walk to Jhalan Jackson before ending the inning with a fly ball out.
The run in the fourth inning was all that Anderson would allow in his seventh start of the year. Anderson finished his outing with a strikeout of Tim Amburgey, his career-high tying eighth of the night. The righty allowed four hits and walked two, tossing 90 pitches in the no-decision. Anderson has lasted at least five innings in all seven of his starts this season.
Until Dobson, Swanson was the story of the night. Swanson shutout the Flying Squirrels over seven innings of work. The right-hander entered the contest on Friday with a league-leading 0.65 ERA and lowered that mark to 0.52 by the end of the night. The Squirrels managed to put more than runner on base once against Swanson. That occurred in the seventh inning when he walked a pair of batters.
With Swanson out of the game to start the eighth inning, Richmond capitalized on the Trenton ‘pen and lefty James Reeves. Ronnie Jebavy reached on a one-out single and advanced to second on a walk. Miguel Gomez finally put Richmond on the board with a base hit into left field, tying the game, 1-1. Reeves lasted just one out and was replaced by Jordan Foley with two runners on and one out, Foley picked up an inning-ending double play.
The Squirrels bullpen closed out the game with four scoreless innings. Dan Slania (IP, H, K) worked the sixth inning and Jake McCasland (2.0IP, H, K) tossed the seventh and eighth. Right-hander Ryan Halstead pitched around a pair of hits in the ninth to earn the win. Halstead (2-1) struck out one and walked none in the victory.