Squirrels slug Phils, snap four-game slide
The Flying Squirrels (15-12) countered Reading’s four home runs on Friday with three long balls Saturday in an 8-4 win over the Fightin Phils (10-15) at FirstEnergy Stadium. Luigi Rodriguez, K.C. Hobson and Aramis Garcia all launched home runs as part of an 11-hit attack for the Flying Squirrels. The win snapped Richmond’s season-long four game losing streak.
The red-hot Luigi Rodriguez opened Saturday’s festivities with a solo home run in the top of the first inning. Rodriguez, batting leadoff, drilled the third pitch of the night from Franklyn Kilome into the seats in right field for a 1-0 Richmond lead. Rodriguez went 2-4, with three RBI in the contest to raise his average to .414.
Working with the early 1-0 lead, Richmond RHP Shaun Anderson moved though the first two innings. Anderson evaded a one out single in the first and then retired the side in order in the second. The Florida-product used 28 pitches over the first two innings and was in control until Reading dinked and dunked their into a 3-1 lead in the third inning. Austin Bossart opened the rally with an infield single and was advanced to second base on a sacrifice bunt. With two outs, Malquin Canelo walked and Kyle Martin flared a single into shallow right field, loading the bases for Zach Green. Greene connected on an RBI single and Cornelius Randolph bounced a singled through the middle, plating a pair of runs for a 3-1 Reading lead.
Despite the leadoff homer for Rodriguez Richmond was stymied by Reading’s Kilome. The righty cruised after the home run in the first, retiring the next 12 batters. Kilome racked up six strikeouts through the first four innings but was lifted when his turn in the batting order was up on the bottom of the fourth. Kilome tossed just 52 pitches and allowed the one run on one hit in a no-decision.
With Kilome out of the game, the Flying Squirrels offense went to work. Facing reliver Tyler Viza, Hobson unloaded his first home run of the year into the right field bleachers. Ryan Howard and Dillon Dobson followed with base hits and Ronnie Jebavy tied the game with a single into right field. Richmond poured on two more runs when Rodriguez’ single snuck under the glove of the second baseman Emmanuel Marrero for a 5-3 lead.
Anderson was able to overcome the frustrating third inning and lasted six frames to earn the win. Anderson (4-1) tossed six innings and allowed a season-nine hits in the victory. The fourth and final run allowed by Anderson was touched up for one more run in the fifth on a Malquin Canelo homer. It was the second homer of the series for Canelo and pulled Reading to within a run, 5-4.
The Flying Squirrels pulled away with a three-run seventh off of reliver Tim Berry. Pinch-hitter Jerry Sands reached on a walk to open the inning. Sands came around to score on a missed flyball in right field, resulting in an RBI triple for Miguel Gomez. Aramis Garcia then drilled a two-run homer over the left centerfield fence to pull away, 8-4.
Jake McCasland, Dan Slania and Ray Black each tossed a scoreless inning of relief for the Squirrels to secure the win.