Squirrels drop series finale: Streak snapped at four
The Altoona Curve (33-28) pulled ahead of the Flying Squirrels with a pair of four-run innings to avoid a series sweep 9-3 on Sunday evening at Peoples Natural Gas Field. The loss snapped Richmond’s season-high four game winning streak. Jose Flores suffered the loss for Richmond, despite lasting a season-high 5.1 innings. The Flying Squirrels (27-35) concluded the seven-game road trip with five wins and two losses. Richmond will have an off day on Monday before beginning a three-game homestand on Tuesday.
The Squirrels got of to a solid start on Sunday against Altoona’s Tanner Anderson with a pair of runs over the first two innings. Miguel Gomez launched a two-out double into the gap and Jerry Sands singled him home for a 1-0 advantage.
After the Curve tied the game with a run in the bottom of the first inning, Richmond quickly regained the lead in the second. With one out, Brandon Bednar lofted a soft fly ball down the right field line on a ball that should have been caught. Right fielder Jerrick Suiter misread the ball and dove at the last moment, missing the catch, allowing Bednar to streak into third base. Ryan Lollis then lined a single into center field for a 2-1 lead.
Richmond’s Jose Flores continued his transition from reliever to starter and he managed to go a season-high 5.1 innings in the outing. Flores allowed an RBI double to Edwin Espinal in the first inning after walking Pablo Reyes with one out. Flores issued another walk in the second, but picked up his first two strikeouts to avert trouble. The righty also worked around an error in the third inning .
The Flying Squirrels struck for another run off of Anderson in the fourth inning. Sands drilled his sixth double of the season to begin the stanza and came around to score on a pair of groundouts.
Flores pitched well through five innings. He retired the side in order in the fourth inning and worked around a base hit in the fifth to keep Richmond up, 3-1.
Altoona eventually broke through in the sixth inning to take the lead and force Flores from the game. The Curve loaded the bases off of Flores on three base hits. Elvis Escobar then lined a base hit to score a run and turn Richmond to the bullpen. Carlos Alvarado replaced Flores and allowed all three inherited runners to score, giving Altoona their first lead of the series, 5-3. Flores (1-1) allowed five runs on seven hits and suffered the defeat.
Yordy Cabrera entered to pitch the seventh inning and allowed four more runs to fall behind, 9-3. Cabrera walked three batters in the inning and allowed a three-run homer to Jerrick Suiter. Christian Jones entered with the bases loaded and ended the inning without any further damage. Jones tossed a 1-2-3-eighth inning as well.
Richmond will return to The Diamond for a brief three game series starting on Tuesday against New Hampshire. RHP Sam Coonrod is scheduled to make the start for Richmond agains New Hampshire RHP Glenn Sparkman. Individual tickets, mini plans and group packages are on sale by contacting the Richmond box office at 804-359-FUNN or online at www.squirrelsbaseball.com