Harrisburg, PA (WWBT)- The Richmond Flying Squirrels (15-17) rode 8.1 masterful innings from right-hander Justin Fitzgerald to a 2-0 shutout of the Harrisburg Senators (17-15) on Monday night. The outing marked the longest of Fitzgerald's career, and netted him his second win of the year.
Fitzgerald (2-1) allowed just four hits on the night, walked two and struck out eight. He faced adversity just once in the fifth inning, but quickly quelled the threat. He departed with one out in the ninth inning. Right-hander Brett Bochy came on and struck out Tim Pahuta and Chris Rahl to complete the third shutout of the season for the Squirrels.
The Squirrels jumped out front first when they plated the first run of the game off of Harrisburg lefty Mike Ballard in the second inning. Chris Dominguez opened the inning with a flare-single to right field. Johnny Monell struck out, but Ehire Adrianza lashed a single into left-center field. Eury Perez overran the ball in center, and Dominguez raced in to score all the way from first base. The run was unearned against Ballard to the error on Perez.
Richmond picked up a second unearned run against Ballard in the fifth inning. Gary Brown led off with an infield-single and advanced to second on a throwing-error charged to second baseman Jeff Kobernus. A batter later, Tommy Joseph single into left field to move Brown to third. Daniel Mayora popped out to Kobernus, but Brown broke for the plate, stunning the second baseman. Brown scored without a throw for a 2-0 lead.
Ballard (1-2) was lifted for a pinch-hitter in the fifth inning, ending his night. He took the loss despite working five solid innings, allowing two runs – both unearned – on seven hits. He walked one and struck out four.
Right-hander Kevin Pucetas followed Ballard with three scoreless innings of relief to keep Harrisburg in the ballgame. Right-hander Christian Garcia worked a scoreless ninth inning for the Senators.
The three-game series with the Senators continues with game two at Metro Bank Park on Tuesday night at 7 PM. RHP Craig Westcott (2-2, 4.78) will make the start for Richmond against Harrisburg RHP Paul Demny (2-1, 4.97).