Squirrels Zipped by Zeuch; 'Cats Take Opener
Funnville - The Richmond Flying Squirrels (54-61) were held to just one run in the series opener against New Hampshire (67-47) on Friday night at The Diamond. In front of 8,261 fans, New Hampshire controlled for most of the way and held on in a 4-1 win. Fisher Cats starting pitcher T.J. Zeuch (pronounced: Zoik) shutout the Squirrels over six innings to earn the win. Game two of the series is set for Saturday at 6:05 p.m. Saturday in Funnville features In-Your-Face Fireworks following the game presented by Columbia Gas of VA.
Luigi Rodriguez provided the lone run for Richmond with a solo homer in the bottom of the eighth inning. Rodriguez (2-4, HR, RBI) and CJ Hinojosa (2-4) tallied four of the six hits in the loss. New Hampshire pounded out 12 hits.
Flying Squirrels starting pitcher Chase Johnson looked good at the outset and went six up and six down to start his outing. Johnson then sputtered in the third as New Hampshire struck for three runs on three hits in a sloppy inning. Santiago Espinal and Connor Panas opened the inning with consecutive singles. The Squirrels devolved in the inning as an errant pickoff throw and wild pitch plated the first run of the game. Forest Wall then made it a 2-0 contest with a ground out to second and Bo Bichette - who walked with one out - scored on an RBI single from Harold Rodriguez. The base hit for Rodriguez made is a 3-0 contest. The lengthy inning bumped Johnson's pitch count to 51 after three frames.
Working with the lead, Zeuch maintained control for the Cats. Zeuch zipped the Flying Squirrels over six solid frames to earn his eighth win off the year. Zeuch allowed multiple runners on base in an inning just twice over the six shutout frames. Zeuch (8-4) struck out five and did not walk a batter while using 82 pitches.
The Fisher Cats powerful offensive attack loaded the bases and forced Chase Johnson from the game with one out in the fourth inning. Jon Berti and Espinal each singled and Johnson grazed the jersey sleeve of Panas. The Squirrels turned to the bullpen and summoned Taylor Hill who struck out Gunner Heidt and grounded out Bo Bichette to end the threat and close the line on Johnson (3.1IP, 5H,3R, BB,2K, 77p).
Max Pentecost launched the first pitch of the sixth inning over the centerfield wall for a 4-0 New Hampshire advantage. The homer was the only run allowed by Hill as he worked 2.1IP in relief. Hill allowed three hits and struck out three.
Lefty Garrett Williams worked 1.2 innings and bridged the game into the eighth. The 'Cats loaded the bases again on a pair of walks and a single, ending the outing for Williams. Slania came on and stranded all three runners. He then returned for the ninth and struck out the side.
The Flying Squirrels continue their six-game homestand with game two of three against the New Hampshire Fisher Cats (Toronto Blue Jays). Flying Squirrels RHP Logan Webb (0-0, 5.40) will make his Diamond debut for Richmond against New Hampshire LHP Tayler Saucedo (3-1, 5.9). Saturday in Funnville features In-Your-Face Fireworks following the game presented by Columbia Gas of VA. Tickets and information can be found atwww.squirrelsbaseball.com or by calling 804-359-FUNN.
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