AKRON, OH (WWBT) - The Richmond Flying Squirrels blanked the Akron Aeros, 6-0, behind six strong innings from left-hander Mike Kickham on Sunday afternoon at Canal Park. The win is the first of the season against the Aeros, who had taken the first four meetings, all played in Ohio.
Kickham (6-6) was outstanding over six innings in his 16th start of the season. He shut down the Aeros on five hits, walking two and striking out seven. He earned his sixth victory of the season and earned payback for a loss at Canal Park in May.
After squandering lead-off hits in the first two innings, the Squirrels finally broke through in the third against lefty Giovanni Soto. Ryan Cavan led off with a single and Joel Weeks drew a walk to put two aboard. Gary Brown reached when Juan Diaz, the Akron shortstop, misplayed his ground ball. With the bases loaded and nobody out, Nick Liles grounded into a double play. Cavan scored on the play for a 1-0 lead.
Soto's wildness cost him another two runs in the fourth, as he issued back-to-back walks to start the inning to Juan Perez and Russ Mitchell. Perez successfully stole third base, and Akron catcher Michel Hernandez threw wildly into left field. Perez hopped up and scored for a 2-0 lead. Mitchell took second base on the play. He scored two batters later on an RBI single from Joel Weeks for a 3-0 advantage.
Soto (5-5) labored through five innings and was doomed to the loss. He surrendered three runs on six hits, walked five and struck out four. He dropped to 1-1 on the season against the Squirrels.
The Squirrels picked up another tally against right-hander Loek van Mil in the seventh inning for a 4-0 lead. Brown opened the frame with a single, his third hit of the day. He advanced to second base on a wild-pitch from van Mil and scored when Mark Minicozzi rifled a single to left-center field. Minicozzi's run-scoring single came on the 10th pitch of a battling at-bat with van Mil.
Richmond added two runs in the ninth to cap the scoring against right-hander Kyle Landis. Brown doubled to open the inning, his fourth hit of the day. Liles followed with a triple to the right-field corner to plate Brown. Tommy Joseph grounded out to bring in Liles.
Daryl Maday, Tom Vessella and Brett Bochy combined to finish the eighth shutout of the season for the Squirrels. Bochy earned his 10th save of the season, working the final inning and a third.
Game three of the four-game series is scheduled for 7:05 PM at Canal Park on Monday night. Richmond RHP Justin Fitzgerald (3-5, 4.34) will oppose Akron RHP Steven Wright (6-5, 1.98).