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Solid start from Hjelle lifts Flying Squirrels past Altoona

Richmond Flying SquirrelsThe Richmond Flying Squirrels pulled ahead early and held off a ninth-inning rally to pick up a 5-3 win over the Altoona Curve on Friday night at The Diamond.

With the win, the Flying Squirrels (16-12) snapped a three-game losing streak.

Richmond starter Sean Hjelle (Win, 3-0) allowed one run over a Double-A-high 6.0 innings with no walks and seven strikeouts.

After the Curve (17-9) took a 1-0 lead on a Mason Martin homer in the second, the Flying Squirrels answered with two runs in the bottom of the inning to take the lead.

Sandro Fabian tied the game with an RBI single into left. Bryan Torres followed with a base hit into center that scored Fabian and put the Flying Squirrels on top, 2-1.

In the fourth, Fabian launched a two-run home run off Altoona starter Trey McGough (Loss, 0-1) to extend the lead to 4-1. It was Fabian’s third home run of the season.

Shane Matheny tacked on another run in the seventh inning off a sacrifice fly that scored Torres and pushed the advantage to 5-1.

The Curve cut the deficit to 5-2 in the eighth inning courtesy of an RBI single from Josh Bissonette off Norwith Gudino. Gudino pitched 1.1 innings with two hits allowed and two strikeouts.

With one runner inherited in the eighth, Frank Rubio allowed a double but responded with back-to-back outs to end the inning.

Curve starter McGough went 3.2 innings in his Double-A debut, allowing four runs (three earned), five hits and two walks with a season-high six strikeouts.

In the ninth inning, Jose Marte entered with the bases loaded and fired two strikeouts to end the game and collect his first Double-A save.

Game five between the Flying Squirrels take and the Curve is Saturday night with left-hander Phil Pfeifer (0-3, 11.25 in AAA) making his season debut with Richmond opposed by right-hander Osvaldo Bido (0-0, 2.70) for Altoona.

Saturday is the Virtual Dance Night at The Diamond with performances from dance groups throughout Richmond. First pitch is at 6:05 p.m. with gates opening at 5:00 p.m.

Tickets are available online at, by phone at 804-359-3866 or in person at the Flying Squirrels offices.

Augusta Health Augusta Free Press Kris McMackin CPA
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