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Squirrels rally in late innings, defeating Altoona, 6-3

Richmond Flying SquirrelsAfter being shut out through the first six innings, the Richmond Flying Squirrels hammered six unanswered runs to take a 6-3 victory over the Altoona Curve Friday night at PNG Field.

The Flying Squirrels (51-49) notched their 24th comeback win of the season and have won seven of their last 10 games.

Trailing by three runs in the seventh, Richmond broke the shutout when Jacob Heyward bounced into a groundout and a Curve throwing error brought home Will Wilson to bring the score to 3-1.

The Flying Squirrels took a 4-3 lead after a three-run eighth inning. Sandro Fabian rocketed an RBI double that brought Simon Whiteman home from second and David Villar blasted a two-run homer to left field that put Richmond ahead.

It was Villar’s 17th home run of the season, which ties him for third in franchise history for home runs in a single season. He is one homer shy of tying the single-season franchise record.

After Patrick Ruotolo exited with a baserunner on in the bottom of the eighth, Raffi Vizcaíno (Save, 3) allowed a base hit but fired three consecutive strikeouts to hold runners on first and third.

After Whiteman and Diego RIncones reached on hit-by-pitches in the ninth, Fabian propelled a two-RBI single that pushed Richmond’s lead to 6-3. Fabian finished with a 3-for-5 performance with three RBIs, one double and a run.

After four scoreless innings, the Curve (51-46) struck with two runs in the fifth inning to take a 2-0 lead. After Trenton Toplikar allowed a leadoff single, Josh Bissonette belted a ground-rule double that brought home Connor Kaiser. Matt Fraizer sent a sacrifice fly to center field to put Altoona ahead by two.

Connor Kaiser followed with an RBI single with two outs in the sixth inning to grow Altoona’s advantage to 3-0.

Toplikar finished the night with 5.0 innings of work and allowed two runs off four hits with three walks. Matt Seelinger (Win, 2-1) allowed one run over 2.0 innings with one walk allowed and one strikeout.

Altoona starter Omar Cruz held the Flying Squirrels scoreless through 5.0 innings with three hits and two walks allowed with four strikeouts. Shea Murray (Loss, 4-2) gave up three runs over 1.0 inning with two walks and three strikeouts.

The series continues Saturday night at PNG Field. Right-hander Aaron Blair (0-2, 3.52) will take the hill for the Flying Squirrels opposed by Curve right-handed pitcher Travis MacGregor (3-7, 6.35). First pitch is scheduled for 6:00 p.m.

The team returns to Richmond for their final home series of 2021 from Sept. 7-12 against the Akron RubberDucks, Double-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians. Tickets are available online at, by phone at 804-359-3866 or in person at the Flying Squirrels offices.