River City Blues
(Richmond, VA) - It felt good to get out in 82 degree heat on Friday night at The Diamond, where the Fightin Phils played before the largest crowd to ever attend a Flying Squirrels game. Starters JoJo Romero and Jordan Johnson were front and center for most of the night, and while the teams finished with five hits apiece, the Squirrels hung on for a 3-1 win to kick off this first seven-game roadtrip of the season.
Reading couldn't generate much the first time through the lineup, and didn't collect the first hit until Malquin Canelo got to second to open the fourth inning on an infield single and throwing error from shortstop Ryan Howard. Damek Tomscha then sent a slow grounder back to the mound, and after Johnson recorded the out at first, Jerry Sands whipped a throw across the infield to nab Canelo at third for a double play. Kyle Martin prolonged the inning with a single, but Johnson would only let up one more hit during his six innings of work.
The Flying Squirrels broke the scoreless tie against Romero in a third inning that started with a walk to right fielder Matt Lipka, the first of three straight walks in the ballgame. After stealing second, Jebavy singled him home with a poke into right field. Another single by Howard brought up Miguel Gomez, whose fielder's choice groundout gave Richmond a 2-0 lead that would stand up.
Johnson (1-0) helped his cause with a one out homer to left off Suarez (0-2) in the fifth inning. The first longball of his career extended the lead to 3-0, and both bullpens kept the game close for the rest of the night. Edgar Garcia pushed his scoreless innings streak to nine straight, working around jams in the sixth and seventh by stranding a total of five baserunners. Luke Leftwich also kept his scoreless innings streak intact with a 1-2-3 bottom of the eighth with a pair of strikeouts.
Reading's resilience paid off against hard throwing righthander Dusten Knight as they got low on outs to work with in the top of the eighth. With one away, Austin Bossart crushed a 2-0 offering over both fences in left to get the Fightins on the board at 3-1. Facing Caleb Simpson in the ninth, a two-out rally kicked into effect on a walk by Martin and a single from Jiandido Tromp on a 1-2 pitch. With the tying runs on base, Cornelius Randolph grounded out to end the ballgame as the Fightin Phils (3-5) look to get one back in the middle game of three on Saturday night at 6:05 PM.
America's Classic Ballpark is proud to be a part of Pennsylvania's Americana Region. Season tickets for the 2018 season are available online at Fightins.com, by phone at 610-370-BALL, and in-person at FirstEnergy Stadium. Follow the Fightin Phils on Twitter at @ReadingFightins and like them on Facebook via www.facebook.com/fightins.
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Eastern League Stories from April 13, 2018
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