RubberDucks sinks Squirrels in opener

richmond flying squirrelsThe Akron RubberDucks (19-11) jumped on the Flying Squirrels (16-13) early and held on late in a 6-3 victory Monday night at The Diamond. Richmond out-hit the ‘Ducks 10-8, but stranded 11 men on base in the defeat. Akron knocked out Richmond starter Garrett Williams in the second inning and extended their winning streak to six games. Game two of the series is Tuesday at 6:35 p.m. at The Diamond.

Richmond made some noise late in the contest against closer Leandro Linares. Representing the winning run with the bases loaded in the ninth inning, Jerry Sands bounced into a double play to end the game. Linares closed out the win to earn his first save of the year.

The RubberDucks utilized three walks, a base hit and a wild pitch to disrupt Squirrels lefty Garrett Williams in the first inning. Tyler Krieger started the game by walking on four pitches and was eliminated on the bases when Todd Hankins grounded out. The next batter Joe Sever connected on a base hit, moving Hankins to third. Williams then unloaded a wild pitch for a 1-0 Akron advantage. Williams walked two more in the inning before escaping the frame with the bases loaded. Williams threw 29 pitches in the inning.

Akron opened up a 4-0 lead and forced Williams from the game in the second inning. Ka’ai Tom and Dorssys both walked to start the inning. Krieger followed win an RBI single into right to make it 2-0 ‘Ducks lead. Williams punched out the next batter before Joe Sever delivered a sacrifice fly and Bobby Bradley ripped an RBI single to end Williams’ night. Reliever Ryan Halstead entered and stranded an inherited runner, .

Williams lasts just 1.2 innings in his shortest start of the year. The lefty walked five and struck out one on 53 pitches.

The Squirrels offense struggled to solve Taiwanese right-hander Shao-Ching-Chiang. Chiang needed just eight pitches to retire the side in the first and struck out four of the first seven batters he faced.

Chiang eventually was touched up for a run in the bottom of the third. The Squirrels got on the board with two outs and Luigi Rodriguez at first base. Miguel Gomez hit a line drive into right field where Tom made a diving effort. The ball rolled past him to the track, scoring Rodriguez from first.

Richmond trimmed the deficit with a Chiang’s fifth and final inning. Luigi Rodriguez singled, moved to second on a ground out and took third base on a Aramis Garcia single. Dylan Davis grounded out to second with one out to score Rodriguez for a 4-2 contest.

Chiang (3-0) lasted five innings and allowed just two runs on six hits. He walked one and struck out five, using 90 pitches in the win.

The Squirrels continued to chip away at the Akron lead with a run in the bottom of the sixth. Facing lefty reliver David Speer, K.C. Hobson flipped an opposite field single into left and Ronnie Jebavy ripped a double into the right field corner. Rodriguez pulled the Squirrels to within a run, 4-3 on a sacrifice fly to deep left field. However, with the tying runs in scoring position, Speer grounded out Aramis Garcia to keep the ‘Duck in the lead.

Richmond’s Halstead worked three sterling innings of relief, keeping the Squirrels in the game through the middle innings. Newcomer Carlos Diaz tossed 1.2 innings and Jake McCasland followed with 1.2 innings pitched. Akron created some space with a pair of run in the seventh off Diaz. Bobby Bradley delivered his second RBI hit of the night for a 6-3 Akron lead.

Caleb Simpson faced the minimum in the top of the ninth.

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