The Richmond Flying Squirrels lost a 4-0 lead in the bottom of the ninth inning, but recovered to drop the Harrisburg Senators, 5-4, in 10 innings. With the win, the Squirrels take the series and improve to 10-2 in extra-inning ballgames on the season. Richmond now sits 2 ½ games behind the Senators for second place in the Western Division.
Each starter worked two perfect innings to start the ballgame, but Richmond broke through first against right-hander Paul Demny in the third. Daniel Mayora led off with a single back through the middle. Ryan Cavan followed and lifted his ninth home run of the season over the right-field wall for a 2-0 lead. Cavan is the Richmond club leader in home runs on the year.
An error on Harrisburg shortstop Zach Walters opened the door for the Squirrels in the fourth and they capitalized with two runs. The error occurred with one out and allowed Russ Mitchell to reach base. Juan Perez followed with a single to put two aboard. Mayora then worked the count to 3-1 before cracking a fastball through the alley in right-center field. Both runners scored on the double for Mayora and Richmond held a 4-0 advantage.
Demny departed during the sixth inning. He allowed four runs - three earned - over 5 2/3 innings of work. He conceded six hits, walked one and struck out seven. He didn't factor in the decision.
Meanwhile, Squirrels' left-hander Chris Gloor was cruising. He worked into the seventh inning, allowing Harrisburg just three hits. For the second straight start, he posted his career long outing, posting 6 2/3 scoreless innings. He walked none and struck out five. Over his four starts, Gloor has allowed just one earned run over 21 1/3 innings.
Left-hander Tom Vessella finished the seventh inning for Gloor and then worked a perfect eighth. He returned for the ninth and lost an 11-pitch battle with Jeff Kobernus, who led off the inning with a single. Jimmy Van Ostrand then sent a ground ball to Richmond shortstop Ehire Adrianza. Adrianza misplayed what should have been a double play, and both runners reached on the error. Walters then punched an RBI double into the right-field corner. Vessella was lifted in favor of right-handed closer Brett Bochy. Sean Nicol lofted a sacrifice-fly to center field to make it 4-2, and Destin Hood brought Harrisburg within a run with a single into left-center field. Bochy struck out Sandy Leon for the second out, but Jose Lozada recorded a bloop single into right-center field that moved Hood to third. He scored on a wild-pitch from Bochy to tie the game, 4-4.
Bochy struck out Tim Pahuta to send the game to the 10th inning, and wound up earning his sixth win of the season when the Squirrels rallied in the 10th.
Senators closer Hector Nelo came on for the 10th. His first pitch hit Gary Brown in the left elbow, putting Brown aboard. Adrianza bunted him to second base. Mark Minicozzi then sent a ground ball to the shortstop Walters. He opted to try and cut down Brown at third base. He didn't get Brown, leaving runners at the corners with one out. Tommy Joseph then lifted a fly ball to right field. It was deep enough for Brown to tag and score the winning run.
Nelo (1-3) was tagged with the loss, conceding a run without a hit to the Squirrels.
The finale of the five-game series is scheduled for 2 PM on Sunday afternoon at Metro Bank Park. Richmond RHP Craig Westcott (8-6, 3.71) will make the start opposite Harrisburg LHP Danny Rosenbaum (7-6, 3.54).
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