The Richmond Flying Squirrels (42-46) got a spectacular start from right-hander Justin Fitzgerald, who allowed one earned run in eight innings pitched and a big night at the plate from Joel Weeks, who went 3-for-3 with a double and two RBIs, in a 6-1 victory over the Reading Phillies (47-40) in the opener of a three-game series at The Diamond Saturday night.
Reading grabbed the early lead with a run in the top of the second. Darin Ruf doubled to start the frame and Leandro Castro followed with an RBI single that gave the R-Phils a 1-0 advantage.
Richmond answered with a run in the bottom of the second. Russ Mitchell doubled to start the inning and he advanced to third on a single from Daniel Mayora. Ryan Cavan knocked in Mitchell with a sacrifice fly, which evened the score at 1-1.
The Flying Squirrels seized the lead with two runs in the third. Ehire Adrianza smacked a one-out solo home run over the right field wall. Two batters later, Mitchell belted a solo home run - his first since joining the Flying Squirrels last month - to extend Richmond's lead to 3-1.
Richmond added three more runs on four hits in the last of the fourth. Mayora and Cavan hit consecutive singles to start the inning and Weeks drove them in with a two-run double that split the outfielders in right-center field. After Fitzgerald laid down a sacrifice bunt, which enabled Weeks to take third base, Brown followed with an RBI double that pushed Richmond's lead to 6-1.
A five-run cushion was plenty for Fitzgerald (4-6), who enjoyed one of his best outings of the season, by limiting the R-Phils to four hits and one earned run in eight innings. The right-hander issued one walk and recorded six strikeouts. Pettitbone (7-6) yielded nine hits and six earned runs in five innings pitched and was charged with the loss.
The Squirrels will shoot for their second straight win when they square off against Reading in game two of the three-game series Sunday night at The Diamond. First pitch is scheduled for 5:05 PM as Richmond LHP Chris Gloor (1-1, 2.36) is slated to start. The R-Phils are expected to counter with RHP Jordan Whatcott (1-2, 4.19).
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