RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - You really had to be a die-hard fan to make it through the game at the Diamond on Friday night. The Squirrels left that group cold, wet, and heart-broken.
With light-rain falling throughout the night, the Richmond Flying Squirrels (6-9) lost the longest game in franchise history, 11-5, to the Altoona Curve in 15 innings on Friday night at The Diamond. The official game time of 4:41 eclipsed the previous franchise record of 4:18, established on July 28th, 2010 vs. the Reading Phillies. 15 innings also established a new franchise record. The Flying Squirrels needed 14 innings on two occasions during their inaugural season.
With the game tied, 5-5, the Curve erupted in the 15th inning for six runs to claim victory. Richmond right-hander Osiris Matos (1-2), who had tossed 3 1/3 scoreless innings prior to the 15th, was tagged with four runs during the game-winning uprising and his second loss of the season. The inning included an RBI single for Quincy Latimore, an RBI double for Eric Fryer and a three-run triple for Starling Marte. Fryer's triple came off of left-hander David Quinowski, who was also charged with two runs in the inning. Right-hander Anthony Claggett (1-0) earned the win for the Curve after working a scoreless 14th inning.
After two scoreless innings, the Squirrels broke on top against Curve starter Jared Hughes in the bottom of the third. Mike McBryde sparked the inning with a bunt-single to the left side of the mound. Johnny Monell followed with a single to put two aboard with nobody out. After Hughes recovered to strike out his mound-counterpart Clayton Tanner, Juan Perez singled to load the bases. Nick Noonan then gave Richmond their first lead with an infield-single to the right side, scoring McBryde. The bases remained loaded a batter later when Hughes walked Joe Koshansky to force home a second run. Jose Flores capped the inning with a two-run single to center field and the Squirrels led, 4-0.
Richmond got back after Hughes in the bottom of the fifth inning, tacking an additional run onto their lead. With one away, Charlie Culberson pulled a double just fair inside the third-base bag. Koshansky followed with a single into right field to plate Culberson for a 5-0 lead.
Hughes departed following the fifth inning and did not register a decision. He was charged with five earned runs on seven hits. He walked two and struck out four.
Meanwhile, Tanner cruised through the first five innings. He shutout the Curve on just one hit while striking out four. Altoona finally got to him in the sixth, rallying for a pair of runs after Marte drew a walk to start the inning. Two batters later, Miles Durham laced an RBI single to put Altoona on the board for the first time. Latimore followed with a double up the left-field line and Durham was chased all the way around from first base to trim the Richmond lead to 5-2.
Altoona inched closer when Squirrels' reliever Edwin Quirarte walked Fryer and pinch-hitter Brad Chalk back-to-back to start the seventh inning. A batter later, Marte made it a 5-3 ballgame with an RBI infield-single.
In the top of the ninth inning, Squirrels' closer Jason Stoffel struck out the first two Curve batters to put Richmond an out away from victory. But with two outs, Fryer dribbled a slow-roller to the left of the mound. Noonan fielded and threw to first, but Fryer was judged safe on a bang-bang play. The game continued and Stoffel walked pinch-hitter Kris Watts to put the tying runs aboard. Brock Holt then sent a sharp ground-ball to Noonan at short. He fielded it cleanly, but lost his footing and threw errantly to second base. Everybody reached safely on the error and the bases were loaded. Marte evened the game with a line-drive single into left field, scoring Fryer and Watts.
The finale of the three-game series is scheduled for 6:35 PM on Saturday night at The Diamond. LHP Ryan Verdugo (1-0, 1.74) will make the start for Squirrels against RHP Aaron Pribanic (1-0, 2.25) for the Curve.