RICHMOND, VA – The Richmond Flying Squirrels (22-22) used five pitchers and barely hung on for a, 5-4, victory over the Trenton Thunder (24-22) in front of 7,181 at The Diamond on Wednesday night. The Squirrels were covering for the absence of right-hander Craig Westcott, who fell ill and was scratched from his scheduled start.
The Thunder jumped on top first with a run against righty Fabio Castillo in the top of the second inning. Kyle Roller singled and Neil Medchill immediately followed with a double through the alley in left-center field. Roller scored for a 1-0 Trenton lead.
It was the only run that Castillo allowed over four innings, as the righty made a spot-start, his first start of the year. He conceded just four hits, walked none and struck out a season-high seven. He also tossed a season-high 72 pitches, but departed ineligible for the win.
The Squirrels got to Trenton right-hander Jose Ramirez in the bottom of the second inning, grabbing a lead they would never relinquish. Ramirez was uncharacteristically wild in the outing, and he walked Ryan Lollis to start the inning. An out later, he also walked Andrew Susac to put two aboard. Brett Krill followed the walks and punched a two-run double down the first-base line. Lollis and Susac both scored for a 2-1 lead. Ramirez eventually walked Joe Panik later in the inning. He was then removed from the ballgame, not surviving the second inning.
Ramirez (0-2) took the loss in his shortest outing of the season, lasting just 1 2/3 innings. He was charged with two earned runs on two hits. He matched his season total for walks entering the ballgame with five. Ramirez struck out just one.
Richmond took control after left-hander Jeremy Bleich entered for Ramirez. In the fourth inning, Krill and Panik each contributed singles. Adam Duvall – in his second game back from the disabled list – then crunched a triple off the wall in right-center field. The two-run triple extended Richmond’s lead to 4-1.
In the fifth inning, Susac started the Squirrels with a double to deep left field. Krill followed, and was at it again. He cranked another double – his third hit of the night – into the alley in right-center field. Susac scored and Richmond led 5-1.
Right-hander Taylor Rogers entered for Castillo in the fifth and worked a scoreless frame. However, with one out in the sixth, Rogers was struck by a comebacker from Medchill. He was able to throw out Medchill at first base, but was removed from the ballgame. Rogers (2-2) was awarded his second victory of the season.
Lefty Tom Vessella was forced into action when Rogers exited, and he responded by recording the final two outs of the sixth inning and working a scoreless seventh inning. Vessella returned in the eighth inning and surrendered a pair of singles. Roller then smacked a ball to left field that the wind carried over the wall for a three-run home run. Roller’s sixth of the year trimmed the Richmond lead to a lone run, 5-4.
Lefty Phil McCormick came on and finished the eighth inning. He got the first two outs of the ninth inning as well, but also allowed Ali Castillo and Jose Pirela to reach base. Right-hander Edwin Quirarte was summoned for the final out with the tying and go-ahead runs in scoring position. He needed just one pitch to ground out Tyler Austin, securing the win for Richmond. Quirarte earned his third save of the season, pitching for the third consecutive ballgame.
The finale of the four-game series is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. at The Diamond on Thursday night. Richmond LHP Chris Gloor (2-1, 4.95) will make the start against Trenton LHP Nik Turley (4-2, 4.46). Pregame coverage begins on Sports Radio 910, SportsRadio910.com and IHeart Radio at 6:05 p.m.
# SQUIRRELS #