Squirrels salvage finale in Portland
For just the second time on the season, the Richmond Flying Squirrels (29-34) rallied late for a 4-3, come-from-behind win over the Portland Sea Dogs (27-35) on Sunday afternoon at Hadlock Field. The win allowed the Squirrels to avoid a three-game sweep in Portland.
Trailing 3-0 into the eighth inning, the Richmond offense finally came to life. Tommy Joseph sparked the inning with a one-out single lined off the wall in right field. The single came against Portland right-hander Chorye Spoone. Spoone was lifted in favor of fellow right-hander Josh Fields. Fields opened with a walk to Juan Perez that brought the tying run to the plate. Mark Minicozzi represented that tying run, and he promptly drilled his first home run as a Squirrel over the Maine Monster in left field. Minicozzi’s blast tied the ballgame, 3-3, but the Squirrels weren’t done there. Fields followed with a walk to Ehire Adrianza, and a batter later Ryan Cavan supplied the game-winner with an RBI double to the right-field corner. Fields (1-3) was touched up for three runs in just a third of an inning and took the loss.
Richmond right-hander Craig Westcott helped the Sea Dogs get off to a quick start when he walked Jeremy Hazelbaker to start the first inning. Hazelbaker advanced to second base on a passed ball charged to Johnny Monell and scored when Juan Carlos Linares doubled off the Maine Monster in left field. Westcott walked an additional batter, and with two outs, Matt Spring made it 2-0 with an RBI single into left-center field.
The two runs in the first were the only allowed by Westcott, as he battled to a no-decision through five innings. He surrendered five total hits, walked three and struck out three.
Meanwhile, Portland lefty Drake Britton had the Squirrels off balance into the sixth inning. The Sea Dogs’ starter worked 5 1/3 scoreless innings, but was denied the win when Richmond rallied in the eighth inning. He allowed just three hits, walked two and struck out five.
Portland tacked on a run in the sixth after Westcott’s departure. With left-hander Tom Vessella on in relief, Derrik Gibson opened the inning with a double to the right-field corner. Two batters later, Hazelbaker muscled a broken-bat single into right field to plate Gibson for a 3-0 advantage.
Richmond right-hander Brett Bochy (4-2) earned the win in relief, working two scoreless innings. Right-hander Austin Fleet worked a perfect ninth inning for his third save of the season.