Richmond puts winning run on in ninth, ultimately falls
The Richmond Flying Squirrels (19-16) placed the tying and winning runs on base in the ninth inning, but came up short for the second consecutive game in 3-2 loss to the Trenton Thunder (22-13) on Mother’s Day at The Diamond. The Thunder struck for three runs in the first inning and closer Jordan Foley held off the Richmond attack to secure the save and split the four-game set.
Miguel Gomez collected his first three-hit game of the season to lead the Flying Squirrels offense. Trailing 3-2 entering the bottom of the ninth, Ryan Howard ripped a single into right field off Foley to keep the Squirrels hopes alive. Aramis Garcia also reached, drawing a two-out walk and putting the potential winning runs on base. Foley stepped up and flew out K.C. Hobson and grounded out Ali Castillo to end the game.
Trenton rallied for three runs in the first – all with two outs – and forced Richmond starting pitcher Chase Johnson out of the contest in the first inning. Making his second start since returning from Tommy John surgery, Johnson retired the first two batters of the inning, but then got caught up in a few lengthy at bats, leading to a deep pitch count and departure. Abiatal Avelino started the uprising by grounding an 0-2 pitch into left field. Chris Gittens followed with a two-run homer that skimmed over the right field wall for a 2-0 lead. Gosuke Katoh kept the inning alive with a double and Jhalan Jackson added an RBI single for a 3-0 Trenton advantage. Johnson walked the next batter Bruce Caldwell to end his outing after throwing 31 pitches.
Mike Connolly was summoned earlier than anticipated in the top of the first inning and managed to strand a pair of inherited runners for Johnson. Connolly saved the Squirrels ‘pen by lasting 5.1 innings in the effort. Connolly struck out five and allowed just one hit to, keeping Richmond close, 3-0. Connolly did not walk a batter and did not issue a run in the no-decision.
Trenton starting pitcher Brain Keller used the early 3-0 lead to his advantage and cruise through the first five innings. Keller needed just 62 pitches to record the first 15 outs of the contest before relinquishing a pair of runs in the sixth. Miguel Gomez opened the Squirrels scoring opportunity with a two-out double and Keller then issued his only walk of the game, placing runners at second and third. Dylan Davis continued the inning with a two-run double into the leftfield corner, cutting the Trenton lead to 3-2.
Keller (3-2) was superb for Trenton over seven innings of work. The righty allowed just the two runs on four hits and was rarely in trouble throughout the game. Keller struck out six to earn his second win of the year.
The Richmond bullpen did not allow a run, starting with the 5.1 innings of relief for Connolly. Jake McCasland replaced Connolly to start the seventh and authored three more scoreless innings in the loss.