Slater has career night for Richmond in loss

richmond flying squirrelsFlying Squirrels centerfielder Austin Slater slashed five hits in a tough 7-6 Richmond loss against Harrisburg on Tuesday night at The Diamond. Slater, Ryder Jones and Myles Schroder all delivered home runs for Richmond in the defeat. Richmond outhit Harrisburg 14-10, but were undone by Neftali Soto’s six RBI performance in the win. Richmond (10-21) has dropped five straight and looks to avoid the series sweep on Wednesday at 12:05 PM.

Harrisburg (13-17) grabbed a 1-0 lead to open the game off starter Kyle Crick in the first. Wilmer Difo reached on a chopped infield base hit and advanced to third by stealing a pair of bases. After Cutter Dykstra struck out, Zach Collier produced the run with a base hit past the drawn in infield. Crick did manage to strike out the side in the inning, but threw 26 pitches in the frame.

Richmond nearly retaliated off Senators starting pitcher Austen Williams in the bottom of the first. Myles Schroder leadoff with a base hit and moved to second on a one-out single from Austin Slater. Williams was able to elude trouble by getting Ricky Oropesa to ground into a double play to end the first. The Senators then tacked on a run in the third inning, utilizing a walk from Crick. Collier drew the free pass with two outs and then stole second base to advance into scoring position. Neftali Soto then lined a base hit to score Collier for a 2-0 Harrisburg advantage. It was the first of three, run-scoring hits for Soto.

Crick was able to aid his own cause by lifting a double off Williams to start off the third. Myles Schroder followed with a single and Crick came around to score when Christian Arroyo grounded into adouble play. Through three innings the Squirrels had outhit the Senators 6-3 but trailed, 2-1

Crick’s fifth outing of the year lasted only 4 1/3 innings due to an escalating pitch count. Crick tossed 95 pitches through the first four innings and came back out to begin the fifth. Harrisburg connected on a three base hits, including a two-run single from Neftali Soto to chase Crick. The Squirrels righty allowed four runs on six hits with a pair of walks and five strikeouts in the no decision. Dan Slania was summoned to relieve Crick and finished the fifth inning, trailing 4-1.

The Squirrels battled back with another run off Williams in the home half of the fifth. With tow outs, Christian Arroyo reached on an infield single, extending the inning. Austin Slater then delivered his third hit of the game, a booming double to center field, cutting the deficit, 4-2.

The Squirrels pulled even, 4-4, and forced Williams from the game in the bottom of the sixth inning. Hunter Cole led off with a base hit and Ryder jones followed with a monster home run over the right field wall to tie the contest. Williams lasted five innings and allowed four runs on 10 hits and two strikeouts in his first start off the disabled list

The see-saw affair continued into the seventh with the Senators retaking the lead due to a three-run frame. Cuter Dykstra and Zach Collier singled of Dan Slania and Neftali Soto added a three-run homer to give Harrisburg a 7-4 lead. Soto had six RBIs in the contest. Slania (3-2) was hit with the loss and pitched two innings in the contest.

Richmond continued to battle back, connecting on a pair of homers in the seventh inning. Myles Schroder blasted his first long ball of the year and two batters Austin Slater crunched his third homer over the center field wall to make it a 7-6 affair. Squirrels relievers Christian Jones and Ray Black kept the score where it was, allowing Richmond an opportunity in the ninth. Koda Glover entered in the ninth and recorded thefirst two outs without incident. Austin Slater then stepped to the plate and kept the game alive with his five hit of the night, a base hit to right. Glover managed to pick up the save with Ricky Oropesa flying out to deep center field to end the game.

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