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Squirrels rally falls short in series-opening loss to Yard Goats

Richmond Flying SquirrelsThe Flying Squirrels had the tying run at second base in the seventh inning and brought the tying run to the plate in the ninth but failed to complete a comeback, falling, 5-4, to the Hartford Yard Goats on Monday at Dunkin’ Donuts Park.

Richmond (38-58, 10-14) nearly tied the game in the seventh. With Ryan Howard at third base and two outs, Bryce Johnson lined a pinch-hit, RBI single to left to cut Hartford’s (49-42, 12-12) lead to 5-3. Johneshwy Fargas singled and stole second—his league-leading 36th stolen base of the year—to put runners on second and third for Peter Maris.

Maris laced an 0-1 pitch from Rayan Gonzalez down the right field line, but Mylz Jones made a diving catch to retire Maris and end the inning with the tying run at second base.

Johnson’s single extended his on-base streak to 16 games. It is the fifth-longest active on-base streak in the Eastern League.

Trailing, 5-3, in the ninth, Gio Brusa led off with a solo blast over the right field fence against Scott Griggs (Save, 5) to make it a one-run game. It was Brusa’s ninth home run of the season, tying him for the team lead with Jalen Miller. Griggs rebounded to retire the next three batters and end the game.

The Flying Squirrels took an early lead against Matt Whitehouse (Win, 4-2) in the first inning. After Miller singled and moved to second on a wild pitch, Jacob Heyward singled up the middle to put Richmond up, 1-0.

Alan Trejo promptly tied the game for the Yard Goats, lofting a sacrifice fly to right field to plate Manny Melendez in the bottom of the first against Caleb Baragar (Loss, 2-3).

Hartford jumped in front in the third. Two batters after Tyler Nevin singled home Scott Burcham, Bret Boswell crushed a two-run homer to right-center field to put the Yard Goats up by three.

Richmond rebounded with a run in the top of the fourth. After Miller doubled with one out, Zach Houchins singled through the left side to cut the deficit to 4-2.

Baragar yielded four runs on five hits in 5.1 innings, striking out four and walking one. He picked up his first professional hit—a single—in the fifth.

Whitehouse went a season-high six innings, striking out a season-high eight batters while allowing two runs on five hits and walking one.

Hartford padded its lead in the sixth when Jones doubled and later scored on a wild pitch from Chase Johnson.

The Flying Squirrels continue their three-game series against the Hartford Yard Goats on Tuesday at Dunkin’ Donuts Park when right-hander Alfred Gutierrez (6-4, 4.02 ERA) is slated to face left-hander Ty Culbreth (3-8, 4.42 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 12:05 p.m., and coverage begins with the Flying Squirrels Pregame Warmup at 11:35 a.m. on Sports Radio 910 the Fan and 105.1 FM.

After a seven-game road trip, the Flying Squirrels return to Richmond on Thursday, July 18 to open a series against the Erie SeaWolves. Tickets are available now at SquirrelsBaseball.com, by phone at 804-359-FUNN (3866) or in person at the Flying Squirrels offices.