The Richmond Flying Squirrels (39-44) lost a five-run lead to the Akron Aeros (49-34), but jumped up off the canvas to claim an 11-inning, 9-5, victory on Monday night at Canal Park. With the win, the Squirrels improved to 9-2 in extra-inning ballgames.
After losing a 5-0 advantage, the Squirrels came up against right-hander Bryce Stowell in a 5-5 deadlock in the 11th. Ehire Adrianza sparked the game-winning uprising with a single. Johnny Monell walked, and Joel Weeks bunted the runners up to second and third. The Aeros walked Gary Brown intentionally to load the bases and Nick Liles drilled a two-run single to center field for a 7-5 lead. Stowell suffered an injury while working to Mark Minicozzi and departed for right-hander Bryan Price. The Squirrels got two more runs including an RBI single for Tommy Joseph. Stowell (1-1) took the loss for the Aeros.
Brown got Richmond started immediately, lashing the first pitch of the ballgame from knuckleballer Steven Wright for a double. A batter later, Brown scored for a 1-0 lead on a groundball from Minicozzi.
Brown again sparked the Squirrels when he opened the third inning with a single. It was Brown's sixth hit in his last seven at-bats and triggered a three-run inning. Minicozzi had an RBI double in the inning, while another run scored when third baseman Kyle Bellows committed an error. Daniel Mayora made it 4-0 with an RBI groundout.
Johnny Monell tacked on a run in the fourth, belting his fifth home run of the season. Monell led off and laced a 3-2 pitch from Wright on a low-line into the right-field bleachers. With the blow, the Squirrels held a 5-0 lead.
Wright worked six innings and departed to a no-decision. He surrendered five runs – four earned – on seven hits. He walked three and struck out six.
Richmond right-hander Justin Fitzgerald held off the Aeros over his first five innings on the hill. He surrendered an inning-opening double to Matt Lawson in the sixth as the Aeros finally got to him. Lawson scored a batter later on a sacrifice fly from Nick Weglarz, trimming Richmond's lead to 5-1.
It was the only run Fitzgerald allowed over six sterling innings. He didn't factor in the decision, conceding four hits, walking four and striking out four.
Akron continued to chip away at the Richmond lead with a run off of right-hander Austin Fleet in the seventh inning. Richmond native Davis Stoneburner knocked in that run with an RBI double.
Fleet had more trouble in the eighth, as Akron came all the way back to tie the ballgame, 5-5. Adam Abraham, Juan Diaz and Roberto Perez each notched RBIs in the inning. Fleet was charged with all three runs in the inning, although right-hander Brett Bochy was on the hill when the final two runs in the inning scored.
Left-hander Tom Vessella (3-2) recorded the final out of the ninth inning and worked a scoreless 10th inning to earn his third win of the season. Right-hander Edwin Quirarte handled the 11th inning, but didn't earn a save due to the four-run lead.
The finale of the four-game series is scheduled for 1:05 PM at Canal Park on Sunday afternoon. Richmond LHP Chris Gloor (1-1, 2.65) will oppose Akron RHP Brett Brach (3-3, 3.49).
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