Squirrels fly into second place

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Just a few weeks away from wallowing away in last place, the Flying Squirrels are now in playoff position.  Daniel Mayora went 4-for-4 with a double and three RBIs and Mike Kickham allowed five hits and two earned runs in seven innings pitched as the Richmond overwhelmed the Curve 10-2 in game two of a three-game series at The Diamond Tuesday night.

With the win, Richmond overtook Harrisburg for sole possession of second place in the Eastern League Western Division standings. The Flying Squirrels now have four consecutive wins and nine victories in their last ten games.

The Flying Squirrels drew first blood with a run in the opening frame. Gary Brown drew a leadoff walk and he stole second base moments later. After advancing to third base on Mayora's single, Brown scored on Tommy Joseph's RBI groundout, which put Richmond in front 1-0.

Two innings later, Richmond broke the game open. Ehire Adrianza drew a leadoff walk from Curve starter Tim Alderson and he advanced to third base on Mayora's second single of the night. Following a groundout from Joseph, Mark Minicozzi and Juan Perez hit back-to-back RBI singles. Nick Liles followed with an RBI groundout and Alderson issued a walk to Ryan Cavan. Then, Kickham delivered an RBI single and Alderson gave up a single to Brown before being removed from the contest. Curve reliever Nathan Baker entered the game and immediately issued a bases-loaded walk to Adrianza and a three-run double to Mayora.

By the end of the inning, the Flying Squirrels had scored eight runs - a new franchise record - on six hits and three walks and held a commanding 9-0 lead.

Although Altoona scored a run in the top of the fourth on an RBI double from Quincy Latimore, Kickham (8-7) was in control for most of the night. The southpaw allowed five hits and two earned runs along with one walk and five strikeouts in seven innings pitched. As a result, he earned his eighth win of the season and his third in four July starts.

Brown added an exclamation point to the Squirrels' victory with a solo home run - his fifth of the season - that cleared the left field wall in the top of the fifth.

Alderson (4-4) took the loss after allowing seven hits and eight earned runs in two and 2/3 innings of work.

The Squirrels will attempt to tie their season-high with a fifth straight win when they take on Altoona in the finale of the three-game series on Wednesday night at The Diamond. First pitch is slated for 7:05 PM. Richmond will send RHP Justin Fitzgerald (5-6, 3.95) to the mound. Altoona is expected to counter with RHP Kyle McPherson (1-4, 4.40).

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