ALTOONA, PA – The Richmond Flying Squirrels (17-17) and Altoona Curve (15-21) split a double header at Peoples Natural Gas Field in front of 4,604 on Saturday night. The Squirrels grabbed the opener, 5-0, and the Curve responded in the second game, 5-3.
Jarrett Parker gave the Squirrels a quick 1-0 lead in game one with his fourth home run of the season in the top of the second inning. The low-flying opposite-field solo-shot crashed into the left field bleachers off of Altoona righty Casey Sadler.
Richmond starting pitcher Craig Westcott aided his own cause when he drew a walk from Sadler to lead off the third inning. He advanced to second base on a ground out and scored for a 2-0 advantage when Joe Panik flared a single into left field.
Ryan Lollis put game one out of reach when he launched a three-run home run to right field off Sadler in the fourth inning. The blast – his second of the season – followed an error on Neil Walker that allowed Parker to reach and a single from Ehire Adrianza.
Westcott (2-3) earned his second win of the season. He was brilliant over six scoreless innings, conceding just four hits. He walked none and struck out seven. It marked a season-high for strikeouts, and the first time he hadn’t walked a batter in a start this season.
Sadler (4-3) went the distance, but was saddled with the loss for the Curve, surrendering five runs – four earned.
Squirrels’ right-hander Edwin Quirarte finished the third shutout of the season for the Richmond staff. He worked a scoreless seventh inning, fanning two including Carlos Paulino to end the ballgame.
The Curve struck first in game two, plating a run in the first inning off of Richmond righty Taylor Rogers for a 1-0 lead. The run scored when Andrew Lambo lifted a sacrifice fly to plate Andy Vazquez. However, the damage could have been much more substantial as Altoona had the bases loaded with nobody out.
Rogers got even and pulled the Squirrels level in the second inning. Curve right-hander David Bromberg issued an inning-opening walk to Parker and two outs later walked Mark Wagner to put two aboard. Rogers then pushed his first professional hit – a single – through the right side of the infield. Parker came around to tie the ballgame, 1-1, and Rogers was also credited with his first professional RBI.
Altoona hurriedly reclaimed their lost lead with a run in the bottom of the second. Kelson Brown singled with one out and was bunted to second by Bromberg. Vazquez made the sacrifice pay off with a single into left-center that scored Brown for a 2-1 advantage.
The Squirrels caught up in a hurry, striking again off Bromberg in the top of the third. Once again the Squirrels made an inning-opening walk hurt for Bromberg. He walked Panik to start the inning. Panik advanced to third on a single from Ricky Oropesa and scored on a two-out double from Adrianza into left-center.
The Curve grabbed firm control of the second game when they plated three runs with two outs in the third inning. Charlie Cutler provided an RBI double and Brown contributed a two-run double to left field. The runs were conceded by Rogers, who called it a night after the inning, trailing in the ballgame, 5-2.
Rogers (1-2) took the loss for the Squirrels, surrendering five earned runs over three innings. He was touched for seven hits, walked two and struck out two as he suffered his second defeat of the year.
Bromberg (1-4) settled in after his early troubles and earned the win over five innings plus three batters. He allowed three earned runs, walked four and struck out five.
Richmond got their final run before Bromberg departed in the top of the sixth inning. Lollis knocked in the run with a single and knock Bromberg out of the ballgame. The Squirrels had the bases loaded with nobody out, but couldn’t push across any more runs against Altoona right-hander Zach Thornton. Thornton came back in the seventh and held off the Squirrels to earn his first save of the year.
The finale of the four-game series is scheduled for 1 p.m. at Peoples Natural Gas Field on Sunday afternoon. Richmond LHP Chris Gloor (1-1, 6.75) will make the start against Altoona RHP Jameson Taillon (2-4, 3.26). Pregame coverage begins on Sports Radio 910, SportsRadio910.com and IHeart Radio at 12:30 p.m.
# SQUIRRELS #