Altoona, PA (WWBT)- The Richmond Flying Squirrels and Altoona Curve split a doubleheader at Peoples Natural Gas Field on Saturday night. The Flying Squirrels shut out the Curve, 1-0, in game one, and the Curve claimed a 3-1 victory in game two.
Right-hander Chris Heston for Richmond and left-hander Nate Baker for Altoona engaged in an early pitchers duel in game one. Each held the opposition at bay through the first five innings. Baker had the easier path, facing just two over the minimum with the aid of two double plays. Heston got the help of left fielder Chris Dominguez in the bottom of the fourth, as Dominguez gunned down a would-be run at the plate.
Heston completed six scoreless innings before departing to a no-decision. He allowed just four hits, walked two and struck out five. Baker lasted an inning longer, posting seven scoreless innings, but also receiving a no-decision. Baker permitted just two hits, walked one and struck out six.
Richmond finally broke through in the top of the eighth inning against Baker's successor, right-hander Kyle Cofield. Jose Flores got the Squirrels started with a double down the right-field line. A batter later, Gary Brown cracked an RBI single into right field, plating Flores with the first and only run of the ballgame. Cofield (0-1) took the loss for Altoona.
Right-hander Brett Bochy (2-0) relieved Heston in the seventh and earned the game one win over two perfect innings. Bochy remains unscored upon in the Eastern League, earning his second win while running his scoreless innings string to 17 1/3.
After being stymied in game one, the Curve got on the board first in game two. They plated two runs in the second inning off of Richmond right-hander Andy Reichard, as Matt Curry flared a double into the left-field corner to start the threat. Following the double, Reichard walked Jeremy Farrell. The first ball to Farrell was a wild-pitch, and Curry took third base. Anthony Norman brought home the first run of the night with a sacrifice-fly to right field. Quincy Latimore capped the inning with a double hooked down the left-field line.
Robbie Grossman decked the first pitch from Reichard in the third inning over the right-field wall. Grossman's second home run of the season extended Altoona's game two lead to 3-0.
Reichard (0-1), making a spot-start, departed to the loss after three innings. He allowed three earned runs on four hits, walked one and struck out none. Meanwhile, Curve right-hander Shairon Martis (1-0) was cruising. He worked five scoreless innings for the win, allowing just two hits.
Richmond scored their only run of game two in the sixth inning off of right-hander Duke Welker. Johnny Monell singled back through the middle to plate Mayora, who had reached on a fielder's choice. Welker did work a quiet ninth inning to finish the game two win for Altoona and earn his third save of the season.
The Squirrels and Curve will complete their four-game, three-day series with the finale from Peoples Natural Gas Field at 1 PM on Sunday afternoon. LHP Mike Kickham (1-2, 3.00) will make the start for the Squirrels against Altoona RHP Brandon Cumpton (3-2, 3.77).