Ninth-Inning Surge Pushes Squirrels to Win in Season Finale
ERIE, Pa. - Three runs in the ninth inning and a dominating performance for Akeel Morris propelled the Richmond Flying Squirrels to a 3-0 win against the Erie SeaWolves in the final game of the season Sunday afternoon at UPMC Park.
The Flying Squirrels (57-56) finished the season with their first winning record since 2015.
After eight innings of scoreless baseball, Mitchell Tolman led off the ninth with a single and Diego Rincones walked against Jesus Rodriguez (Loss, 2-5). David Villar smashed an RBI double that put Richmond in front, 1-0. Sandro Fabian made it a 3-0 lead with a two-RBI double two batters later.
In the bottom of the ninth, Andrew Navigato launched a solo home run off Patrick Ruotolo (Save, 11) to break the shutout and make it 3-1. Ruotolo fired in a strikeout to close out the game and secure the win for Richmond.
Morris held the SeaWolves (64-55) scoreless through five innings while striking out 10 batters. The 10 strikeouts matched a career high for Morris, even with a mark previously set in 2011.
Erie looked to crack the scoreboard in the fourth after Andre Lipcius and Dane Myers reached to lead off the inning, but Morris fired in three consecutive strikeouts to strand the runners. Morris struck out five of the final eight batters he faced.
Richmond were held to two hits through the first eight innings and had 13 consecutive batters retired from the fourth through eighth innings.
Ryan Walker produced a three-up-three-down sixth inning with two groundouts and a pop out. In his eight total appearances with Richmond this season, Walker allowed one earned run over 9.1 innings and did not surrender a walk.
In the seventh inning, Joey Marciano allowed one hit but put up three strikeouts to hold the SeaWolves scoreless. R.J. Dabovich (Win, 1-1) pitched a scoreless eighth inning with two looking strikeouts.
Erie starter Elvin Rodriguez allowed two hits and one walk over 5.0 scoreless innings with four strikeouts.
The team opens next season on April 8, 2022 at Bowie and will host their home opener on April 12, 2022 at The Diamond against Altoona.
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