Squirrels catcher smacks walk-off winner

richmond flying squirrelsFlying Squirrels catcher Jeff Arnold smashed a two-run, walk-off double in the bottom of the ninth inning to steal a win away from Portland in a 2-1 contest on Tuesday at The Diamond. Arnold’s second double of the game backed a trio of quality pitching performances from Garrett Williams (6+IP, 3H, R), Patrick Ruotolo (2IP, 0H, 0R) and Caleb Simpson (IP, 0H, 0R). The Flying Squirrels homestand continues on Wednesday in Funnville. Wine Up Wednesday specials will be available from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online or over the phone by contacting the box office at 804-359-FUNN.

Arnold plated the only two runs of the night for Richmond (32-29) with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning. Portland reliver Josh Taylor entered for the save and retired the first batter in Dylan Davis. Jerry Sands then followed with a double, putting the tying run at second base. The next batter Jonah Arenado lifted a flyball into left centerfield in what should have been the second out of the inning. The Sea Dogs outfielders converged and muffed the play, allowing runners to reach second and third. The error set up Jeff Arnold’s game-winning double into right centerfield. It was the fourth walk-off winner for Richmond this year.

Simpson earned the win by tossing a scoreless inning of relief in the ninth. Simpson (3-3) walked one and struck out one. Taylor (1-2) suffered the loss.

The Sea Dogs struck first and took advantage of an erratic Garrett Williams in the second inning on Tuesday. Williams briefly lost his command, noticeably putting on the first three batters of the inning. The lefty walked Tate Matheny, hit Luke Tendler and walked Austin Rye to start the frame. The Next batter Jhon Nunez then dribbled a grounder to third base man Ali Castillo. Castillo was eying a double play but could not grab the ball cleanly and had to settle for the out at first base, relinquishing the run for a 1-0 Sea Dogs lead. Williams quickly locked in and struck out the next two batters to end the inning.

Williams cruised from there on out, retiring the side in order in the third. The lefty yielded a base hit to Danny Mars in the fifth but managed to pick up a double play and a strikeout to face the minimum. Williams was at 77 pitches through five innings of work.

As good was Williams was, Portland’s starting pitcher Matt Kent was slightly better. Kent kept the Flying Squirrels off balance over the course of seven innings in a no-decision The southpaw scattered five hits and was able to navigate around doubles in the fifth (Jerry Sands, leadoff) and again in the fifth (Matt Lipka, one-out)

Williams lasted into the seventh inning for Richmond, recording his longest outing of the year (6+). He ran into trouble after hitting Luke Tendler to begin the inning and allowing a base hit to Austin Rye. Reliver Patrick Ruotolo entered in a tough spot with two on and no one out, however he managed to keep the game 1-0. John Nunez was the first batter Ruotolo faced in the seventh and he popped up an attempted bunt for the first out. Ruotolo then punched out Danny Mars and Jeremy Rivera, saving the line for Williams and keeping the game within reach for Richmond.

Ruotolo tossed a pair of sterling innings to keep Richmond within reach.

The Flying Squirrels continue the current homestand on Wednesday against the Portland Sea Dogs (Red Sox). Right-hander Chase Johnson (0-1, 2.16), will start the series middle game of the series against Sea Dogs RHP Teddy Stankiewicz (5-5, 5.43). Wednesday in Funnville is a Wine Up Wednesday as well as Game of Thrones Night. Wine specials are available from 5:30-7:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online or over the phone by contacting the box office at 804-359-FUNN.

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