RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The Flying Squirrels gave their ace some run support, to the tune of a four run sixth inning, as Richmond beat Erie Tuesday night 5-1 at The Diamond.
Both teams battled through five scoreless innings. Erie finally broke through with an unearned run in the sixth inning. Eric Surkamp issued his first walk of the ballgame to Brandon Douglas with one out. Rawley Bishop followed and sent a ground ball to the shortstop, which Nick Noonan misplayed. The error left two aboard with one out in the frame. A batter later, Bryan Holaday put the SeaWolves in front, 1-0, with a single that snuck back through the middle, eluding a diving Noonan.
After the five innings of futility, the Squirrels' offense erupted against Gagnier in the sixth. Snapping a string of 11 consecutive batters retired by the right-hander, Aaron Lowenstein led off the inning with a single to right field. A batter later, Justin Christian singled to put two aboard. Both runners moved up on a wild-pitch, and Charlie Culberson tied the game, 1-1, when he tapped a swinging-bunt to the left of the mound. The play was ruled a fielder's choice as Gagnier attempted to throw out Lowenstein at the plate, but Culberson was credited with an RBI. Juan Perez followed and gave the Squirrels the lead, cracking a two-run double just fair up the third-base line. Kieschnick then capped the rally with a towering-double off the wall in center field to bring in Perez for a 4-1 advantage.
Surkamp completed his seven-inning night with a perfect seventh inning, retiring the side in order. He permitted just a lone unearned run as he earned his third victory of the season. The lefty conceded seven hits, walked one and struck out five. With his performance, he lowered his ERA to 1.53, which now leads the Eastern League. His five strikeouts also matched Harrisburg's Brad Peacock for the league lead with 66.
Richmond capped the scoring and chased Gagnier in the bottom of the seventh. Johnny Monell doubled to start the inning, and Ryan Lormand singled home the final run of the night for either club. Gagnier endured his third loss of the year over 6 1/3 innings, allowing five earned runs on seven hits. He walked none and struck out two.
Right-hander Osiris Matos faced little adversity over the final two innings of the ballgame. He held the SeaWolves at bay, running his personal scoreless-innings streak to 15.
Game three of the four-game series is scheduled for 7:05 PM on Wednesday night at The Diamond. RHP Justin Fitzgerald (3-3, 3.67) will make the start for the Squirrels against RHP Luke Putkonen (0-5, 8.15) for the SeaWolves.