Richmond, VA (WWBT)- In front of a capacity crowd of 9,560, the Flying Squirrels (38-35) defeated the Erie SeaWolves, 6-2, on Saturday night at the Diamond. The victory gives the Squirrels the series win, their sixth series triumph in their last seven series. The win also sends the Squirrels to a new high-water mark for the season at three games above .500.
The SeaWolves got on the board first in the second inning, capitalizing on an inning-opening error on Squirrels' third baseman Chris Dominguez. Bryan Pounds led off the inning against Richmond left-hander Clayton Tanner and sent a high-hopping ground ball to the left of Dominguez. He misplayed it, allowing Pounds to reach. Rawley Bishop followed with a single, moving Pounds to second base. He advanced to third on a fielder's choice and scored an unearned run on a wild-pitch from Tanner for a 1-0 lead.
Dominguez made amends immediately as he cracked a double on one hop off the left-field wall on the first pitch of the bottom of the second from Erie right-hander Jacob Turner. A batter later, Justin Christian walked to put two aboard. The runners moved up on a bounce out from Juan Perez. With Aaron Lowenstein at the plate, a pitch from Turner dribbled away from Erie catcher Bryan Holaday. Dominguez bolted for the plate, and scored just ahead of a tag attempt to tie the score, 1-1. The pitch was ruled a wild-pitch against Turner.
Richmond forged ahead with a pair of runs against Turner in the third inning. Nick Noonan started the inning with a single through the right-side of the infield. Francisco Peguero then shot a ball back to the mound that deflected off of Turner toward the first-base line. He chased after it, fielded and threw wildly past first base. Peguero reached safely, and Noonan advanced to third on the throwing error. A batter later, Roger Kieschnick waged a spirited-battle with Turner before hitting a sharp-ground ball to the right side. It kicked off the mitt of a diving Brandon Douglas at second base and rolled into right field. Noonan scored easily on the play, and Peguero scored all the way from first base for a 3-1 lead.
Tanner settled in nicely after the second, holding off the SeaWolves through the fifth inning. However, they scratched a run across and chased him in the sixth. Rawley Bishop rifled a double to left field with one out, and scored to make it a one-run ballgame a batter later when Douglas singled up the middle.
Tanner (3-7) departed after 5 2/3 innings, leaving with the lead. He surrendered two runs - one earned - on six hits. He walked one and struck out four as he earned his third victory of the season.
Turner (2-2) worked through seven effective innings, doomed to his second loss of the season. He allowed three earned runs on five hits, walked two and struck out eight.
The Squirrels put away the win, stretching their lead to four runs against left¬-hander Austin Wood in the eighth inning. Charlie Culberson led off the inning with his fifth home run of the season, a solo-shot to left field. With two outs in the inning, Wes Hodges blistered a double off the wall in left-center field. Christian followed and laced a double to center field, plating Hodges for a 5-2 lead. Christian scored when Martinez made his second error of the night on a ground ball from Juan Perez.
For the fourth consecutive ballgame, the Squirrels' bullpen did not allow a run. Right-hander Hector Correa followed Tanner and worked a scoreless 1 1/3 inning. Wilmin Rodriguez then turned in a perfect eighth before right-hander Heath Hembree closed out the win by striking out the side in the ninth.