Squirrels break up no-hitter with two outs in ninth in 3-2 loss

Richmond Flying SquirrelsRyder Jones broke up a potential no-hitter with a two-out, two-strike double in the ninth inning, but the Richmond Flying Squirrels stranded the bases loaded and lost to the Erie SeaWolves, 3-0, on Thursday at The Diamond.

Johneshwy Fargas started the ninth inning with a four-pitch walk against Erie (50-52, 19-7) starter Spenser Watkins (Win, 3-1), marking the first baserunner for Richmond (35-59, 12-15) since the first inning. After Watkins retired the next two batters, he faced Jones with a chance to finish a complete-game no-hitter.

Jones took Watkins’ first pitch for ball one before fouling off the next three offerings. On a 1-2 pitch, Jones lined a double down the third-base line for the Flying Squirrels’ first hit of the night. The Flying Squirrels have never been no-hit in franchise history.

Watkins exited in favor of Drew Carlton (Save, 10), who walked Jacob Heyward to load the bases and bring the potential winning run to the plate. Peter Maris struck out swinging to end the game.

The SeaWolves scored the game’s first run in the first inning against Keyvius Sampson (Loss, 0-1). After Derek Hill led off with a double, he moved to third on a sacrifice bunt and scored on a sacrifice fly.

Erie extended its lead in the sixth on a solo home run by Josh Lester before finishing the scoring with a run in the seventh. Jose Azocar was hit by a pitch and later scored on a sacrifice fly from Kody Eaves.

Chase Johnson allowed one run in three innings of relief, striking out a season-high six batters.

Watkins walked two batters in the first inning before retiring the next 23 batters he faced. He allowed one hit across a season-high 8.2 innings, striking out a season-high eight batters and walking three.

The game was delayed 40 minutes for rain between the third and fourth innings.

The Flying Squirrels continue their series against the Erie SeaWolves on Friday, when right-hander Brandon Lawson (3-5, 4.20 ERA) is slated to face left-hander Tarik Skubal (0-1, 0.90 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m., and coverage begins with the Flying Squirrels Pregame Warmup at 6:35 p.m. on Sports Radio 910 the Fan and 105.1 FM.

The first 1,000 fans 15 and older to arrive at The Diamond on Friday will receive a wrestling socks featuring the Flying Squirrels’ new Copa de la Diversión identity, presented by Mountain Dew. Gates open at 6 PM.

Fans can join the Flying Squirrels, Duke Club and RVA Alumni Chapter in celebrating James Madison University at The Diamond, including an appearance by the real-life Duke Dog.

Happy hour drink specials on Friday in Funnville include include $2 12-ounce domestic beers at all concession stands, Beer Express carts and The Thirsty Acorn as well as $2 fountain sodas at the Pepsi Fountain (located on main concourse, first base side).

For tickets or more information, call 804-359-3866 (FUNN), visit SquirrelsBaseball.com/Tickets or stop by the Flying Squirrels box office.

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