Richmond goes extras to top Harrisburg, 5-4

richmond-squirrelsIn the longest game of the season, the Richmond Flying Squirrels (60-41) defeated the Harrisburg Senators (40-60), 5-4, in 15 innings at The Diamond on Sunday afternoon.  The Squirrels claimed the series from the Senators and improved to a franchise-record 19 games above .500.  They lead the Western Division by 3 ½ games.  Richmond improved to 15-1 on Sundays on the season.

With the game tied, 4-4, the Squirrels finally manufactured the game-winning run in the 15th inning.  jarrett parker led off against right-hander Colin Bates and singled back through the middle.  An out later, Eliezer Zambrano pinched a single into right field to put runners at the corners.  Reliever Edwin Quirarte had to bat for himself due to a lack of options and worked a walk to load the bases.  Kelby Tomlinson then delivered the game-winning single, past the dive of shortstop Jason Martinson.  It was the fifth hit of the ballgame for Tomlinson.

The Senators handed the Squirrels the lead in the bottom of the first inning.  Tomlinson led off and punched a ball towards the right-field corner.  Harrisburg right fielder Drew Vettleson made an ill-fated dive towards the ball, allowing it the wall for a triple.  Right-hander Scott McGregor recovered to record the first two outs of the inning and should have worked it through it when he popped up Devin Harris back to the mound.  However, the Senators communicated poorly on the pop up and the ball was dropped by third baseman Matt Skole.  The error allowed Tomlinson to score for a 1-0 Richmond lead.

The Squirrels tacked on a run against McGregor in the third inning.  McGregor issued a two-out walk to Ryan Lollis to give Richmond their start.  Matt Duffy then served a double up the first-base line.  Lollis raced around from first base for a  2-0 lead.

Harrisburg tallied their first run off lefty Ty Blach in the fifth inning.  Martinson got the Senators started with a one-out single to right field.  Vettleson followed with a single to put two aboard.  Quincy Latimore lined out, but Cole Leonida looped a single into left-center field to plate Martinson and cut the Richmond lead to one run, 2-1.

Richmond responded immediately in the bottom of the fifth.  Eliezer Zambrano opened the inning with a single to center field.  Blach struck out, but Tomlinson slapped a perfect hit-and-run single through the right-side of the infield to put runners at the corners.  Lollis then flared an RBI single to left-center field.  Duffy followed and yanked the first pitch from McGregor into left field to score Tomlinson for a 4-1 lead.

McGregor retired after five innings having allowed four earned runs on eight hits.  He walked one, struck out three and was spared the decision late in the ballgame.

Vettleson delivered a one-out triple in the seventh inning to help the Senators pull within a pair, 4-2.  Vettleson was brought home when Quincy Latimore lofted a sacrifice-fly to center field.

Blach lasted seven innings.  He allowed two runs on seven hits, walked none and struck out seven.  It marked the first time in 11 starts that Blach had worked more than six innings.

Harrisburg pulled even against lefty Steven Okert in the eighth inning.  Okert walked the lead-off man, Ricky Hague.  Michael Taylor followed and launched a game-tying two-run home run to left field.  It marked Taylor’s 20th of the season.

The Squirrels used six pitchers in the win.  Quirarte (7-4) was the last and earned the win after two scoreless innings.  Bates (1-2) took the loss for Harrisburg.

         
 

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