Squirrels hold off Curve in pitchers' duel

Richmond, VA (WWBT)- Johnny Monell's fourth-inning home run was the difference as the Richmond Flying Squirrels turned the tables on the Altoona Curve, posting a 1-0 shutout at The Diamond on Saturday night.

Left-hander Mike Kickham for Richmond and Altoona right-hander Brandon Cumpton engaged in a spirited pitchers duel in the early portion of the ballgame. Kickham escaped a mini-jam in the second inning, while Cumpton faced no adversity through his first three innings.

In the fourth inning, Cumpton finally made a mistake. Monell took advantage, belting his first home run of the season to right field, putting the Squirrels in front, 1-0.

The run was all the Squirrels needed as Kickham earned his first Double-A win thanks to six scoreless innings. He allowed just three hits, walked three and struck out six. Cumpton took a hard-luck loss over seven sterling innings for Altoona. He allowed the lone run in the ballgame on four hits, walked one and struck out four.

Right-hander Austin Fleet worked a scoreless seventh inning before the Squirrels utilized three pitchers to escape the eighth inning. Fleet started the frame, but left after allowing an inning-opening single to Kelson Brown. Left-hander Chris Gloor came on but found further difficulty as he was lifted with the bases loaded and one out. Right-hander Daryl Maday was then summoned, and he answered the call by inducing and inning-ending double play from Jarek Cunningham.

Maday returned in the ninth inning and earned his third save of the season. He had to work to get there as the Curve put two runners aboard including the tying run at second base. Maday got Ramon Cabrera to bounce into a fielder's choice to end the ballgame, improving to a perfect 3-for-3 in save chances.

The series finale is scheduled for 2:05 at The Diamond on Sunday afternoon. RHP Justin Fitzgerald will make the start for the Squirrels against RHP Aaron Pribanic for the Curve.

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