Richmond, VA (WWBT)- The Richmond Flying Squirrels claimed a four-game series win over the Altoona Curve with a 3-1 triumph in the series-finale at The Diamond on Sunday afternoon.
Squirrels' starter Justin Fitzgerald started with a pair of scoreless innings, and the Richmond offense staked him to the lead in the bottom of the second inning. Chris Dominguez continued his hot start to the season with a lead-off single off of Curve starter Aaron Pribanic. Juan Perez followed and cracked a single through the hole on the left-side of the infield. Daniel Mayora bunted the runners up, and Wes Hodges gave the Squirrels a 1-0 lead with an RBI groundout.
Fitzgerald continued to cruise, working through a jam in the third and keeping the Curve at bay through five innings. Pribanic also settled in, but the Squirrels notched a second run against him in the bottom of the fifth inning. Pribanic issued his third walk of the day to start the inning, putting Ryan Cavan aboard. Fitzgerald followed and bunted him to second base. A groundout from Wendell Fairley moved Cavan to third base and Ehire Adrianza came through with a two-out RBI single to right field to double the Richmond advantage, 2-0.
Pribanic departed to the loss following the fifth inning. He conceded two earned runs on four hits, walked three and struck out two. Fitzgerald started the sixth inning, but left after the first two batters in the inning reached base. Left-hander Ari Ronick cleaned up the inning, and Fitzgerald was credited with his first win of the season over five-plus scoreless innings. He allowed just three hits, walked two and struck out five.
Ronick came back for the seventh inning, but found trouble and was lifted in favor of Tom Vessella. Vessella allowed one of the inherited runners to score, but ultimately kept the Squirrels in front, 2-1. Vessella returned to the mound in the eighth inning, recording an out but also walking two batters. Right-hander Edwin Quirarte was summoned and he quickly ended the threat.
The Squirrels insured the victory with a run against Altoona right-hander Kyle Cofield in the eighth. The inning was sparked when Cofield walked Dominguez with one out. Dominguez alertly took second base on a wild-pitch and came home to cap the scoring when Mayora scorched a single up the third-base line.
Right-hander Brett Bochy had no trouble nailing down the win, firing a perfect ninth inning. He earned his first save of the season in his first save opportunity. After enduring an 0-3 start to the season, the Squirrels are 6-2 since.
As for Fitzgerald, it was a solid win against a team he struggled against in 2011. The right-hander was 1-2 with a 5.27 ERA in five starts against the Curve last year, and Altoona hit .333 against him on the season.
The Squirrels open a three-game series against the Reading Phillies (Philadelphia Phillies) at The Diamond on Monday night at 6:35 PM. RHP Craig Westcott (0-1, 6.23) will make the start for the Squirrels against Reading RHP Tyler Cloyd (1-0, 3.00).