Walkoff lifts Richmond past Reading, 3-2

richmond flying squirrelsRicky Oropesa smashed his fifth homer of the season to complete a 3-2, walk-off win for the Richmond Flying Squirrels over Reading in the bottom of the 11th inning on Wednesday afternoon.

With one out in the 11th, Oropesa took a 3-2 pitch deep over the right centerfield wall, allowing theSquirrels to avoid the series sweep. Richmond (5-9) reliever Pedro Rodriguez (1-1) earned the win with a pair of scoreless innings worked. The win marked the second victory for the Squirrels in the last at bat to open the first homestand of the season. The Squirrels will travel to Altoona to begin a seven-game roadtrip on Thursday.

The Squirrels grabbed the lead, 1-0, for the first time in the series against Reading starting pitcher Ricardo Pinto in the second inning. Ryder Jones worked his way aboard in the frame on a swinging bunt to the third base side. Pinto fielded quickly but threw the ball past first to allow Jones to take second. Tyler Horan then hit a sharp line drive directly off the glove of second baseman Jesmuel Valentin to plate Jones. Valentin was charged with an error on the play.

Reading charged right back off Richmond starting pitcher AdalbertoMejia to open the top of the fourth. With one out, Angelo Mora doubled down the right field line. The next batter, Jake Fox, lofted a two-run homer over the right field wall for a 2-0 Reading advantage. Mejia was sharp through most of the outing.

Pinto was solid for Reading through the first seven frames. He benefited from a line out double play to end the third and worked around a Ricky Oropesa single in the fourth. Pinto and Mejia both rolled through the middle innings, turning in solid efforts in the contest. Mejia hurled six innings and allowed two runs on five hits with seven strikeouts in the no-decision.

A rather mild game heated up as tempers flared on a contact play at second base in the top of the sixth inning. Reading centerfielder Roman Quinn was in the middle of the melee as he singled to open up the sixth inning. Mejia then caught Quinn heading to second and Quinn slid hard into shortstop Rando Moreno. The altercation led to both benches and bullpens emptying out onto the field

Pinto finally departed after the seventh and the Squirrels pounced on the first man out of the Reading bullpen Joely Rodriguez. Rando Moreno instigated the rally with a base hit and moved to second when pinch hitter Ali Castillo worked a walk. Myles Schroder advanced the runner to second and third on a sacrifice bunt and then Reading opted to intentionally walk Christian Arroyo to load the bases. Austin Slater then drew a walk with an embattled at bat to tie the game, 2-2. The Squirrels were on the verge of taking the lead in the inning but a double play ended the frame to keep the game tied.

Neither team could pull ahead in the ninth and tenth with Jake Smith and Pedro Rodriguez pitching the late innings for Richmond. Smith retired the side in the ninth and Rodriguez worked around a single in the tenth and again in the eleventh. The solid relief work, including two frames from Dan Slania, allowed the Squirrels to win it in walk-off fashion in the home half of theeleventh inning. With one out, Oropesa launched his fifth homer of the season, a no doubter to right centerfield for the 3-2 win.

The Flying Squirrels hit the road on Thursday to begin a four-game series in Altoona when RHP Chase Johnson (0-1, 5.63) faces Altoona LHP Cody Dickson at 6:00 PM.  Season tickets, mini plans, and group packages are currently available by contacting the box office at 804-359-FUNN or online at www.squirrelsbaseball.com.

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