Richmond, VA (WWBT)- The Richmond Flying Squirrels recorded five double-plays en route to a, 5-3, victory over the New Britain Rock Cats at The Diamond on Saturday night. The win is the third straight for the Squirrels and also nets them the victory in the three-game series.
The Squirrels broke a scoreless stalemate with a pair of runs off of New Britain right-hander Steve Hirschfeld in the fourth inning. Ehire Adrianza got Richmond started with single into right-center field. Daniel Mayora followed and sprayed a double just fair down the right-field line. Adrianza advanced to third on the two-bagger. Wendell Fairley bounced out without advancing the runners, but Gary Brown delivered a two-run single with two outs to left-center field.
Hirschfeld harmed his own cause in the fifth inning as the Squirrels doubled their advantage. Tommy Joseph led off and tapped a ball to the first-base side of the mound. Hirschfeld couldn't handle it cleanly, and his miscue opened the door for Richmond. Hirschfeld followed with a walk to Johnny Monell, and two strikeouts later, walked Adrianza to load the bases. Mayora battled the righty before crisply rapping a two-run single into right field for a 4-0 lead. Both runs in the inning were unearned against Hirschfeld.
Meanwhile, Squirrels' right-hander Craig Westcott cruised through five scoreless innings with the aid of four double-plays behind him. He used just 53 pitches as he faced just one over the minimum. However, he was lifted due to back tightness after conceding a lead-off single to James Beresford in the sixth inning. Right-hander Andy Reichard came on in emergency relief and struggled in the inning. After recording the first out, he conceded back-to-back singles to Pedro Florimon and Chris Herrmann to plate the first Rock Cats run of the night. Two more came home to cut the Richmond lead to a lone run when Evan Bigley blasted a double off the wall in left field. Westcott was charged with the first run in the inning and Reichard the final two as New Britain closed to 4-3.
Brown got the momentum immediately back for the Squirrels as he opened the bottom of the sixth with a perfect bunt-single. Ryan Cavan followed with his second single of the night to put two aboard. The pair pulled off a double-steal to move up to second and third. Joseph lined out, but Monell sent a sacrifice-fly to center field to bring in Brown and cap the scoring for the evening, 5-3.
Westcott (1-2) earned the win, ultimately allowing a run on three hits. He walked two and struck out two, picking up his first victory of the season. Hirschfeld (2-2) took the loss over six innings. He was charged with five runs - three earned - on 10 hits. He walked two and struck out five.
Right-hander Brett Bochy was again stout in relief, working two scoreless innings through the eighth inning. Left-hander Tom Vessella earned his first save of the season with a perfect ninth, inducing three straight ground balls to Adrianza at short.
The Squirrels complete their three-game series with the New Britain Rock Cats (Minnesota Twins) on Sunday afternoon at 2:05 PM. Richmond LHP Jason Stevenson (1-3, 7.08) will oppose New Britain LHP Logan Darnell (2-0, 5.21).