Altoona, PA (WWBT)- The Richmond Flying Squirrels erupted for nine runs over the last two innings to blow past the Altoona Curve and claim a 15-7 win at Peoples Natural Gas Field on Friday night. Twelve different Squirrels had base hits in the ballgame, as the Squirrels tied the franchise record for hits in a single game. Juan Perez also had five hits, matching the individual franchise record which he already held a share of.
The Squirrels had coughed up a 6-2 lead as they came to bat in the eighth inning trailing 7-6 against right-hander Zach Foster. A one-out single from Tommy Joseph got them started. Jose Flores pinch-ran and stole second base. Daniel Mayora brought him in with a single to tie the game. It was just the beginning of a six-run inning. Perez added an RBI double, Brett Bochy contributed an RBI single and Gary Brown cleared the bases with a triple into the right-field corner. After the uprising, the Squirrels led, 12-7. Foster (0-1) was tagged with the loss for Altoona.
The Curve initially took the advantage against Richmond right-hander Justin Fitzgerald in the bottom of the first inning. Fitzgerald issued a game-opening walk to Robbie Grossman, who advanced to second on a groundout. Adalberto Santos then cranked a run-scoring double into the left-center field alley for a 1-0 lead. A batter later, Tony Sanchez made it 2-0 with a two-out RBI single into right field.
The Richmond response was immediate as they tied the game, 2-2, with a pair of runs in the second against Curve right-hander Aaron Pribanic. Mayora got the Squirrels started with a double into the left-field corner. Perez followed with a single to put runners at the corners. Perez stole second base and Eliezer Zambrano walked to load the bases with one out. Fitzgerald then aided his own cause with an RBI single to left field. It marked just the second professional hit and first RBI for Fitzgerald. It kept the bases loaded with one out and Brown tied the game with a deep sacrifice-fly to left field that brought home Perez.
Pribanic's problems continued to the third inning, as his wildness would cost him four runs. After falling behind Tommy Joseph 3-1, the righty grooved a fastball which Joseph leveled over the left-field bleachers for a 3-2 Richmond lead. The blast was Joseph's first home run at the Double-A level. It was just the beginning for the Squirrels in the inning. A batter later, Mayora singled. Perez followed with his second single of the night and Ehire Adrianza singled to load the bases. Eliezer Zambrano then cracked a single into right field to score Mayora. Fitzgerald made the second out, but Brown was hit by Pribanic to push in a run. Pribanic concluded his evening by walking Cavan to force in another run. The Curve starter departed to a no-decision, trailing 6-2.
Fitzgerald settled in through the third inning, but conceded a run in the fourth. He was chased in the fifth as Altoona closed to within a run. A one-out walk issued to Grossman started the Curve. With two outs in the inning, Santos delivered his second RBI double of the night to left field. Matt Curry walked and Sanchez cracked an RBI single back through the middle to pull the Curve back within one, 6-5. Left-hander Chris Gloor came on to clean up the inning.
Fitzgerald did not factor in the decision, working 4.2 innings. He was charged with five earned runs on six hits, walked three and struck out three.
Gloor returned for the sixth inning, and the Curve seized the lead with a pair or runs. Quincy Latimore led off with a single and Kelson Brown followed with a single to put two aboard. Zach Foster failed in his bid to lay down a sacrifice-bunt, but reached at first base. Gloor walked Grossman before striking out Brock Holt for the second out. The Squirrels went to right-hander Brett Bochy. Santos flared a two-run single with two outs into right field to put the Curve in front, 8-7.
Bochy (1-0) earned his first Double-A win over 2.1 scoreless innings of relief. He also collected his first professional hit and RBI. Richmond tacked on three more runs in the ninth inning against right-hander Matt McSwain.
Mayora and Zambrano each had three hits in the ballgame. Mayora and Perez each scored four times, while Brown drove in four runs.
The Squirrels and Curve continue their four-game series Saturday night at Peoples Natural Gas Field. First pitch is scheduled for 6:00 PM as RHP Craig Westcott (0-2, 6.89) will make the start for the Squirrels against Altoona RHP A.J. Burnett (Rehab).