Squirrels win pitchers’ duel
Richmond left-hander Mike Kickham tossed six no-hit innings at the Altoona Curve, and the Squirrels rolled behind the performance to a, 2-1, victory on Friday night at Peoples Natural Gas Field. Kickham, who was named as the left-handed starting pitcher to the Eastern League Post-Season All-Star team earlier in the day, validated the selection with his performance.
After three scoreless innings from each starter, the Squirrels finally struck first against righty Brandon Cumpton in the top of the fourth inning. Johnny Monell led off with a double yanked to the right-field corner. A batter later, Ehire Adrianza gave Richmond a 1-0 lead with another double crisply rapped on the ground along the first-base line.
Richmond doubled their lead in the top of the sixth inning. Mark Minicozzi took Cumpton deep to left field with one out for a 2-0 advantage.
Cumpton (11-11) retired to the loss after six innings. He conceded a pair of runs on five hits, walked two and struck out three.
Due to an elevated pitch-count, Kickham (11-10) also exited after six innings. He did not allow a run or a hit, and although he walked five, he earned his 11th win of the season. The lefty struck out seven Curve batters and departed having thrown 103 pitches, 58 of which were strikes. His 11th win of the season matched right-hander Craig Westcott for the staff lead and also equaled the franchise record, shared by Westcott and David Mixon
Right-hander Chris Wilson came on for Kickham and immediately conceded a double to Jeremy Farrell as Richmond’s no-hit bid ended abruptly. Jarek Cunningham followed and inadvertently laid down a bunt-single to put runners at the corners. Kelson Brown grounded into a double-play to bring in Farrell, trimming Richmond’s advantage to 2-1.
Left-hander Ari Ronick was summoned to record the first two outs of the eighth inning. He then departed for Edwin Quirarte, who came on and struck out Quincy Latimore to end the inning.
Things got interesting in the ninth inning after a lead-off single for Oscar Tejeda against right-hander Daryl Maday, but Maday nailed down the win and earned his 11th save of the season.