Taylor blanks Erie: Squirrels win series opener
Richmond right-hander Cory Taylor blanked the Erie SeaWolves (47-45) over seven solid innings, leading the Flying Squirrels (39-53) in a 4-0 victory at UPMC Park on Monday. Taylor allowed just four hits in the win and relievers Cody Hall and Jarret Martin finished of the second shutout of the season for Richmond. The Squirrels compiled nine hits, including three apiece from Slade Heathcott and C.J. Hinojosa. Richmond will attempt to make it three straight wins on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m.
Richmond faired slightly better in facing Tigers No. 3 prospect Beau Burrows in his second start against the Squirrels. Burrows escaped trouble in the first inning after C.J. Hinojosa singled and Jerry Sands walked, K.C. Hobson struck out to end the threat. Burrows punched out the side, but used 20 pitches in the inning.
The Squirrels turned to Cory Taylor to start the series opener in his first outing since the All-Star break. Taylor was in control from the outset, facing the minimum through the first three innings.
The Squirrels grabbed a 1-0 lead off of Burrows in the fourth inning, in part due to a head’s up base running play from Hinojosa. With two outs, Hinojosa singled to right field and then caught the defense off guard with a straight steal of second base before the pitch was thrown. Myles Schroder followed – after taking a close two-strike pitch – then socked a double that bounced off the track and over the wall. The automatic double was ruled and scored Hinojosa from second base for a 1–0 lead.
Taylor continued to cruise for Richmond, albeit he did run into difficulty in the fourth inning. With two outs, Taylor walked Dominic Ficociello and Christin Stewart. The righty escaped the jam by whiffing the powerful Steven Moya. Taylor mowed the side down in order in the fifth inning, using just 64 pitches in the first five frames.
Richmond added a run and forced Burrows from the game in the top of the sixth. With Jerry Sands on first base, Brandon Bednar lined a double into the gap in right center field .Right fielder Steven Moya missed the ball, allowing Sands to score from first base as it reached the wall for a 2-0 lead. The doubled knocked out Burrows and brought in Gerson Moreno from the Erie bullpen. Moreno recorded the final out of the inning, stranding a runner in scoring position.
Burrows (2-3 ) tossed 5.2 innings and allowed the two runs on six hits in the defeat. The former first-round pick struck out a Double-A high six batters and walked two on 96 itches.
Pitching with the lead, the day belonged to Taylor. The right-hander completed his longest outing of the season by hurling seven solid innings to earn the win. Taylor worked with more than one runner on base just twice in the outing and struck out six. He scattered four hits and did not allow a run on 98 pitches.
Cody Hall picked up where Taylor left off, striking out two in the bottom of the eighth inning. Jarret Martin tossed the ninth to finish the win.