Squirrels fall in storm-shortened game, suffer sweep

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Evan Bigley went 2-for-3 and smacked a three-run home run to lift the New Britain Rock Cats (40-34) to a 6-2 rain-shortened win over the Flying Squirrels (36-40) in the finale of a four-game series at The Diamond Monday afternoon. Strong winds and rain ultimately forced the game to be called as the storm toppled the left field fence with two outs in the top of the eighth inning.

After neither team scored in the first two innings, New Britain struck for four runs in the top of the third. Shawn Roof reached on a one-out bunt single and he later successfully stole second base. Following a ground out by Chris Herrmann, Oswaldo Arcia ripped an RBI double that plated Roof. After Squirrels starter Chris Heston issued a walk to Chris Colabello, Bigley blasted a three-run home run that sailed over the left field wall and gave the Rock Cats a 4-0 advantage.

Richmond had several opportunities to score off Rock Cats starter Brett Jacobson. But the erratic right-hander emerged from his start unscathed thanks to four double plays that ended Richmond scoring threats. Jacobson allowed three hits and issued seven walks in four and 1/3 innings pitched, but he did not allow a run. The Flying Squirrels stranded seven bases runners in the ballgame, six of which were left on base in the first five frames.

The Flying Squirrels finally got on the scoreboard with a pair of runs in the bottom of the sixth off Rock Cats reliever Edgar Ibarra. Tommy Joseph it a one-out single and advanced to second on a ground ball off the bat of Juan Perez, which resulted in a missed catch error by second baseman Shawn Roof on the force attempt at second. Russ Mitchell laced a two-run double to left field, which cut New Britain's lead in half, 4-2.

New Britain immediately answered with a run in the seventh. Flying Squirrels reliever Daryl Maday gave up consecutive singles to start the frame. Colabello followed with an RBI single up the middle, which scored Herrmann and extended the Rock Cats' lead to 5-2.

The Rock Cats tacked on another run in the top of the eighth. Estarlin De Los Santos belted a leadoff double off Richmond reliever Edwin Quirarte. Roof delivered a sacrifice bunt, which enabled De Los Santos to take third. Herrmann followed with an RBI single that made it a 6-2 ballgame. Then, a mix of high winds and rain suddenly engulfed The Diamond. Play was halted and after a 30-minute delay, the game was officially called.

Ibarra (1-0) earned the win in relief after allowing two hits, two runs, one of which was earned, and recording two strikeouts in two and 1/3 innings pitched. Heston (6-3) took the loss for Richmond after yielding five hits and four earned runs in five innings pitched. Bruce Pugh picked up his second save for the Rock Cats.

The Squirrels will hit the road for an eight-game road trip beginning with a four-game series at Reading. Richmond will attempt to snap their four-game skid when they meet the Reading Phillies in the series opener at FirstEnergy Stadium Tuesday night. The Flying Squirrels will send LHP Mike Kickham (5-5, 2.82) to the mound. Reading has not announced a starter. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM.

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