Squirrels nip Senators in finale, 8-7
The Richmond Flying Squirrels (48-47) outlasted the Harrisburg Senators (49-45), 8-7, in a wild series-finale on Sunday afternoon at Metro Bank Park. With the win, the Squirrels ascend above .500 for the first time since May 13th. They take four of five games with the Senators and pull within a game and a half of second place in the Western Division.
The ballgame stood tied, 5-5, heading to the ninth inning. Harrisburg brought on right-hander Erik Davis and he hit Daniel Mayora to start the inning. Juan Perez followed with a single and Russ Mitchell bunted the runners up. Harrisburg elected to intentionally walk Ryan Cavan to load the bases. It proved costly, as Davis then walked Ehire Adrianza to force home Mayora. Juan Ciriaco then clubbed what appeared to be a grand slam to left field. However, it was ruled to have stayed in the ballpark, and Ciriaco was credited with a two-run single as the Squirrels went ahead, 8-5. Davis (7-3) was doomed to the loss for the Senators.
But the Senators were far from done. They plated two runs and placed the tying run at third base and the winning run at second with nobody out in the bottom of the ninth inning. Left-hander Ari Ronick then performed a Houdini-esque escape routine, retiring the next three hitters without the tying run scoring to close out the win. Ronick earned his first save of the season.
Right-hander Edwin Quirarte (3-0), who had finished the eighth inning on the hill, earned his third win of the season.
For the first time in the series, the Senators struck first with a run in the first inning. Eury Perez led off with a single off of Richmond right-hander Craig Westcott. He advanced on a ground out and scored from second on a two-out single from Jimmy Van Ostrand.
The Squirrels answered with a run off of Senators’ lefty Danny Rosenbaum in the third inning. Gary Brown started the inning with a single and promptly swiped second base. Nick Liles bunted Brown to third and he scored to tie the game on a single from Juan Perez.
After a rain-delay, the Senators forged back ahead in the bottom of the fifth inning. Sean Nicol opened the inning with a single, and Kris Watts followed with a single on Westcott’s first pitch. Rosenbaum came to the plate with the Squirrels expecting bunt. Instead, Rosenbaum swung away and cracked a single back through the middle. The single scored Nicol from second base for a 2-1 lead. Westcott managed to escape the inning without incurring further damage.
Rosenbaum scattered nine hits over six innings, allowing just a lone run. He walked one, struck out five and didn’t register a decision.
Westcott conceded two more runs – both unearned – in the sixth inning as the Squirrels fell behind, 4-1. Westcott called it a day after the sixth, charged with four runs on eight hits. Only two of the runs were earned as Westcott struck out four and walked none.
Richmond’s rally came in the seventh inning against rehabbing right-hander Drew Storen. With one out, Liles cracked a single. Storen walked Daniel Mayora and Perez followed with a two-run triple drilled the alley in right-center field. Russ Mitchell followed with a sacrifice-fly to left field to tie the game, 4-4. Johnny Monell then cracked a solo-home run to center field to give the Squirrels their first lead of the day, 5-4. Storen was charged with all four runs in the inning.
The Senators pulled back even with a run in the bottom of the eighth as Chris Rahl sent a sacrifice-fly to left field to plate Destin Hood. Hood was pinch-running for Kris Watts, who had been plunked by Jake Dunning to start the inning.