Squirrels squash Senators in series opener

richmond-squirrelsThe Richmond Flying Squirrels (19-23) used a five-run third inning to defeat the Harrisburg Senators (20-24), 6-3, at The Diamond on Tuesday night.  The opener marked the first of 20 meetings between the two Western Division rivals on the season.

The Senators grabbed the lead against lefty Matt Lujan in the third inning.  A one-out error charged to Rando Moreno sparked the inning.  Lujan followed the miscue with a walk issued to Brian Goodwin.  Drew Vettleson then singled on the infield to load the bases before Kevin Keyes made it, 2-0, with a two-run single to right-center field.

Richmond responded in a large way against righty Dakota Bacas in the bottom of the third.  Daniel Carbonell started the inning and laced a single into center field.  Jackson Williams followed and reached with an infield-single.  Lujan bunted the runners over, but Kelby Tomlinson grounded out without bringing home a run.  However, Moreno made amends for his error with a two-run single back through the middle.  Bacas then walked Mac Williamson before Devin Harris blasted a no-doubt three-run home run to left field.  The third home run of the season for Harris gave Richmond a 5-2 lead.

Harrisburg got a run back in the fourth.  Carbonell committed a two-base inning-opening error on a line-drive from Ricky Hague.  Lujan then walked Bacus and permitted a single to Derrick Robinson to load the bases with nobody out.  Adrian Sanchez then brought in Hague with an infield-single.

The Squirrels tacked the run back onto their lead in the bottom of the fourth as Carbonell atoned with a leadoff double to left-center field.  Williams followed with a single to right field to put runners at the corners.  Lujan struck out, but Tomlinson drilled a deep sacrifice-fly to center field to make it 6-3 for Richmond.

Bacas (1-1) departed after five tumultuous innings, having conceded six earned runs on seven hits.  He walked two and struck out three as he suffered his first Double-A setback.

Lujan (2-4) was lifted after 5 1/3 innings, charged with three runs, only one of which was earned.  He surrendered seven hits, walked four, struck out four and earned his second win of the season.

Right-hander Pedro Rodriguez cleaned up the sixth inning for Lujan, and also handled the seventh.  Right-hander Stephen Johnson started the eighth inning, but couldn’t get through it, leaving two runners behind with one out as lefty Josh Osich was inserted.  Osich had no trouble keeping the Senators off the board and finishing the frame.  He also had no issue with the ninth, retiring the side in order quickly to earn his ninth save of the season.  Osich struck out three of the five batters that he faced.

Game two of the three-game series is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. at The Diamond on Wednesday night.  Richmond RHP Joe Biagini (2-3, 1.76) will make the start against Harrisburg LHP Richard Bleier (3-0, 2.58).  The Flying Squirrels Pregame Warmup will begin at 6 p.m. on Fox Sports 910 and FoxSportsRichmond.com.

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