Squirrels Sweep Double Header to Finish Dominating Series

Richmond, VA (WWBT)- The Richmond Flying Squirrels swept a doubleheader from the Harrisburg Senators on Sunday night at The Diamond. The Squirrels claimed game one, 4-1, and backed that up with a, 7-5, triumph in the second game. Richmond took five of six games over the weekend from the Senators closing to within 1.5 games of the division front-runners.

Pitching dominated the early portion of game one, as Squirrels' left-hander Eric Surkamp and Harrisburg left-hander Evan Bronson traded three scoreless innings. Surkamp blanked the Senators again in the fourth, and Richmond finally broke through against Bronson in the bottom of the inning. Bronson walked Roger Kieschnick to open the inning. Kieschnick moved to second base on a groundout from Chris Dominguez and to third when Johnny Monell singled. Juan Perez sent a double off the wall in left field to give the Squirrels the lead, 1-0.

The Senators scratched a run across against Surkamp in the top of the fifth inning to tie the game, 1-1. Devin Ivany led off the inning and legged out an infield-single to third base. He was bunted to second, took third on a groundout and scored to even the ballgame on another infield-single from pinch-hitter, Tim Pahuta.

Kieschnick gave the Squirrels the lead right back in the bottom of the fifth inning, blasting an 0-2 curveball from left-hander Cory VanAllen over the wall in right field. His team-leading 12th home run of the season was the game-winner, putting the Squirrels in front, 2-1.

It was all Surkamp would need, as he coasted the rest of the way, turning in a complete-game for his eighth victory of the season. He allowed just one run on three hits over seven innings. He walked two and struck out 10, registering double-digit strikeouts for the seventh time on the season.

Richmond put game one on ice with two more runs in the sixth inning against VanAllen. Perez sparked the inning with a one-out triple down the first-base line. The Senators elected to intentionally-walk Sharlon Schoop to pitch to Skyler Stromsmoe. Stromsmoe responded with an RBI double to the left-field corner for a 3-1 lead. Squirrels' skipper Dave Machemer then called for the suicide-squeeze with Schoop at third base and Surkamp at the plate. Surkamp did the job, dropping the bunt down effectively, as Schoop scampered in to cap the scoring in the ballgame, 4-1.

VanAllen was tagged with his second loss of the season over two innings of relief. He conceded three earned runs on three hits.

Bronson, a Midlothian native, returned to his old stomping grounds for his first start in Class AA.  He tossed four innings, giving up just one earned run.

Harrisburg came out swinging in the second game, recording three hits and a run against Richmond left-hander Wilmin Rodriguez in the first inning. Derek Norris got the Senators started with a one-out single, which was followed by a single from Bill Rhinehart. Tyler Moore put the Senators on the board with a single up the third-base line. Moore was thrown out at second base trying to stretch his hit into a double, but the Senators took a 1-0 lead.

The Squirrels responded immediately in the bottom of the inning. Wendell Fairley got Richmond started with a lead-off opposite-field double. A batter later, Kieschnick singled home Fairley to tie the game, 1-1. With two outs, Francisco Peguero sent a liner into left field that Bryce Harper misplayed. The ball wound up at the wall, with Kieschnick streaking around to score from first base for a 2-1 lead. The play was ruled an error on Harper, making one of the two runs unearned against Harrisburg right-hander Shairon Martis.

Rodriguez and Martis each settled in, and the ballgame remained 2-1 through the fifth inning. Rodriguez departed there for the win, allowing a lone run on six hits. He walked two and struck out two.

Martis returned in the sixth inning, and walked both Kieschnick and Dominguez to start a Richmond uprising. Right-hander Pat Lehman relieved Martis and Peguero beat out a bunt-single to load the bases. Harrisburg pulled the infield in and Schoop cracked a single back through the middle for a 3-1 advantage. Stromsmoe then walked with the bases still loaded to force in another run. Eliezer Zambrano followed with a sacrifice-fly to left field, and Squirrels' closer Heath Hembree capped the inning with a two-run single into left-center field. The hit came in the first professional plate-appearance for Hembree.

Richmond needed the insurance as Hembree struggled to close out the ballgame in the seventh. The Senators scored four runs against him to close within two runs, 7-5. The rally included an RBI double from Derek Norris and a two-run home run off the video board in left-center field from Tyler Moore. Hembree did record the first two outs in the inning before departing in favor of left-hander Alex Hinshaw. Hinshaw struck out Harper looking to end the ballgame and earn his first save of the season.

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