Simpson saves the day: Richmond Flying Squirrels win fourth straight series
Closer Caleb Simpson secured the final five outs on Sunday afternoon to preserve a 5-4 Richmond Flying Squirrels win over the Altoona Curve at Peoples Natural Gas Field. Simpson entered with a pair of runners on base in the eighth inning to record his league-leading fifth save off the year. Richmond (12-5) won two out of three over Altoona (8-7) to take their fourth consecutive series and will continue the current six-game road trip on Monday in Bowie, MD.
With the tying and go-ahead runners on base in the eighth, Simpson entered to relieve Ryan Halstead. Simpson stuck out pinch-hitter Ke’Bryan Hays and grounded out Tucker Cole to end the threat. Simpson then came back for the ninth inning, and put a pair of runners on before a sharp line out double play to third ended the game.
Halstead authored 2.1 solid innings of relief to back starting pitched Shaun Anderson and get the ball to Simpson. Halstead entered with a 5-3 lead in the sixth and allowed one run on three straight hits before a double play ended the inning. Halstead earned the hold with two strikeouts and one walk in the outing.
Richmond took an early lead in the contest as they continued their power surge on Sunday afternoon. Jonah Arenado launched a two-run homer in the first inning, his second home run of the year. Arenado connected off of Altoona starting pitcher Taylor Hearn, a top ten prospect in the Pirates system
Cole Tucker trimmed the Altoona deficit in half by creating a run with his speed on the bottom of the first. Tucker lined what appeared to be a base hit into right field to begin the inning and utilized his speed to stretch the play into a double. After a groundout advanced him to third, Richmond’s Shaun Anderson tossed a wild pitch, allowing Tucker to score. Anderson used 20 pitches in the first.
Altoona countered Arenado’s blast with a two-run homer in the second inning to take the lead. Anderson hit Wyatt Mathison with an off-speed pitch and Christian Kelley then belted a his first home run of the season for a 3-2 advantage.
The Squirrels moved back in front with a pair of runs on the fourth inning and scored the eventual winning run in the fifth. Jerry Sands walked to begin the fourth and scored from first on a triple into the gap from Ronnie Jebavy. With the infield in, Ronnie Freeman Brought home Jebavy for a 4-3 Richmond lead.
Shaun Anderson aided himself at the plate in the next inning with a double to right center. Ryan Howard lined a single into left for a 5-3 lead.
Hearn lasted 4.2 innings and allowed five runs on six hits. The power lefty struck out five and walked two on 86 pitches. Hearn was pulled with runners on in the fifth for righty Logan Sendelbach. Sendelbach finished the inning to keep the score, 5-3
Despite working with runners on base throughout the outing, Anderson maneuvered through five innings in the win. With two runners on in the fifth, Anderson recorded his fifth strikeout, setting down Elvis Escobar to end his outing.
Anderson (3-1) allowed three runs on six hits. He walked two and struck out five, using a season-high 92 pitches.
With the bullpen depleted due to short starts in the series, Ryan Halstead was charged with the task to bridge the game into the eighth. Halstead allowed three consecutive hits to start his outing in the sixth including an RBI single to Kelley..