Squirrels Split Double-Header with Senators

Richmond, VA (WWBT)- The Richmond Flying Squirrels and the Harrisburg Senators split a doubleheader in front of 7,084 at The Diamond on Saturday night. The Flying Squirrels nabbed game one, 3-1, while the Senators claimed game two, 6-4.

After a day off due to rain, the Squirrels came out swinging in the opener of the doubleheader against right-hander Erik Davis. Francisco Peguero started the eventual onslaught with a single into right field. Peguero promptly swiped second base and scored for a 1-0 lead when Charlie Culberson doubled up the third-base line. Roger Kieschnick then stepped in and crushed his ninth home run of the season. The blast to right-center field put the Squirrels on top, 3-0, and tied Kieschnick with Johnny Monell for the team-lead in home runs. Chris Dominguez and Monell also recorded singles in the first inning as Richmond plated the three runs on five hits.

Davis settled in, but Richmond had all the offense they would need. Right-hander Henry Sosa  was outstanding for Richmond, earning the win over six-plus innings. He allowed just a lone run on four hits, walked two and fanned five as he won for the fifth time.

Harrisburg got their lone run in the seventh inning, as Sosa conceded hits to both Chris Rahl and Archie Gilbert. He departed in favor of Jason Stoffel, who offered a wild-pitch to move the runners up. Stephen King lifted a sacrifice-fly to plate the only run of the ballgame for Harrisburg. Stoffel got the second out of the inning before walking Josh Johnson. Richmond went back to the bullpen for Heath Hembree with the bases loaded and two outs. The right-hander finished the win, lining out Derek Norris to the shortstop Nick Noonan to preserve the 3-1 victory. Hembree earned his fifth save of the season.

Davis endured the loss for Harrisburg, allowing three earned runs on six hits over five innings. He walked none and struck out a season-high 10.

Richmond again got out to a fast start in the second game, notching a first-inning run against Harrisburg right-hander Tanner Roark. Roark walked Peguero to start the inning, and he swiped second base. It was the third stolen base of the evening for Peguero. A batter later, Kieschnick cracked an RBI double into the right-field corner for a 1-0 lead.

The Senators responded against Richmond spot-starter David Mixon. Mixon walked Tyler Moore to begin the frame, and he moved to second on a ground out. Archie Gilbert singled to move Moore to third base, and he scored to tie the game, 1-1, on a sacrifice-fly to right field from Tim Pahuta.

The Squirrels grabbed the lead back in the bottom of the second inning. Juan Perez led off with a single, and Roark walked Noonan behind him. Aaron Lowenstein then laced a single to right field to load the bases with nobody out. Mixon lined out sharply, but Peguero lifted a sacrifice-fly into center field for a 2-1 lead.

A pair of home runs sent the Senators in front for the first time on the night in the third inning. Josh Johnson and Bill Rhinehart each drove solo-shots over the right-field wall off of Mixon for a 3-2 advantage.

Richmond reclaimed the lead and chased Roark in the bottom of the fourth inning. Noonan sparked Richmond with a lead-off single to center field, and Roark issued a walk on four pitches to Lowenstein. Mixon bunted the runners up, but Roark recovered to strike out Peguero. However, with two outs in the inning, Culberson laced a two-run double into right-center field. Roark departed with the Squirrels leading 4-3.

Neither starter factored in the game two decision, as the Senators evened the score in the fifth inning. Mixon struck out Johnson to start the inning, but he reached on a throwing error on Lowenstein. Three batters and two pitchers later, Chris Rahl legged out an infield-single off of right-hander Edwin Quirarte to plate Johnson with the tying-run.

Harrisburg forged back ahead for good in the sixth inning, plating a run against left-hander Wilmin Rodriguez. Johnson drove in the run with an RBI double, scoring Devin Ivany. Rodriguez was saddled with the loss for Richmond. The Senators tacked on an unearned run off of left-hander Alex Hinshaw in the seventh, capping the scoring, 6-4.

Left-hander Cory VanAllen earned the win in relief, while right-hander Pat Lehman closed out the victory to earn his third save of the year.

The two teams resume their series on Sunday with a 5:05 pm match up at The Diamond.

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