Richmond, VA (WWBT)- Another masterpiece from ace left-hander Eric Surkamp propelled the Richmond Flying Squirrels to a 2-0 shutout victory over the Akron Aeros at The Diamond on Sunday night.
Surkamp and Akron right-handed knuckleballer Steven Wright engaged in a spirited pitcher's duel through the first seven innings. Each hurler shut out the opposition on just one hit, with just six total base runners in the ballgame. Wright walked the first batter of the ballgame, but not another through seven innings. Surkamp issued three walks through seven innings.
Surkamp again posted a scoreless inning in the eighth, marking the end of his evening. This time, Wright couldn't hold serve, allowing back-to-back singles to start the Richmond eighth inning, bringing in the run that would doom him to the defeat. Wes Hodges led off with a single, and advanced to second base on a throwing-error on the play. Sharlon Schoop pinch-ran for Hodges and advanced to third base on a wild-pitch. Juan Perez then cracked an RBI single through the right-side of a drawn-in infield to score Schoop. Perez logged the only two hits against Wright's knuckleball. Hodges' single came on a rare fastball in a full-count situation. Wright departed following Perez's single in favor of right-hander Cory Burns. Perez advanced to second base on a groundout from Jackson Williams, and took third on another wild-pitch. Skyler Stromsmoe then cracked a single back through the middle to score Perez and cap the scoring, 2-0. It marked the 10th hit of the home stand for Stromsmoe.
The win belonged to Surkampearning his 10th victory over eight sterling innings. He allowed just two hits, walked three and struck out four, as he became the first Squirrel to double-digit victories. Wright took the loss for Akron despite pitching extremely well. He was charged with two runs on three hits, walked one and struck out seven.
Right-hander Heath Hembree came on to work the ninth, and for the second consecutive night, he worked a 1-2-3 inning to earn the save. It was his 15th of the season in his 16th opportunity.
With the victory, Richmond gains ground in the Western Division standings. The Squirrels trail Harrisburg by 1.5 games for the top spot in the division and are just one game out of a playoff spot, which Bowie currently holds.
The Squirrels now embark on an eight game road trip over the next seven days. It will begin Monday night in Altoona against the Curve.