The Harrisburg Senators held off the Richmond Flying Squirrels, 4-3, at Metro Bank Park on Friday night in the opener of a three-game series. With the loss, the Squirrels fell under the .500 mark for the season, and remain at least two games back in the wild-card race in the Western Division.
Gary Brown did get the Squirrels started immediately, chopping a lead-off double off of right-hander Trevor Holder in the top of the first inning. A batter later, Mark Minicozzi lined a single into center field for a 1-0 lead.
Right-hander Justin Fitzgerald contained the Senators through the first three innings, but they broke through with his help in the fourth. Fitzgerald issued walks to both Seth Bynum and Kris Watts in the inning. With two outs and runners on the corners, Jonny Tucker sprayed an RBI single into right field. Bynum scored to tie the game, 1-1.
The Senators took their first lead when Fitzgerald again walked the lead off man in the fifth inning. Brian Goodwin was issued the free pass and he promptly stole second base. He moved up on groundout and scored on another for a 2-1 lead.
The Squirrels pulled even with a run against Holder in the sixth inning. With one out, Brown reached on an error. He swiped second base and scored to level the ballgame on a Minicozzi double to left-center field.
Neither starter factored in the decision as Fitzgerald departed after 5.1 innings and Holder after six. Fitzgerald was charged with two runs on four hits, walked five and struck out eight. The five walks for Fitzgerald matched his career high, while his eight strikeouts equaled his season high. He has struck out eight on three occasions - all against the Senators. Holder was also tagged for two runs. He conceded five hits, walked none and struck out four.
Harrisburg forged ahead for good with a pair of runs against Richmond right-hander Chris Wilson in the seventh inning. Goodwin opened the inning with a double to left field. He was bunted to third and Jimmy Van Ostrand followed with a crisp single to center field for a 3-2 lead. Seth Bynum scored Van Ostrand when doubled up the third-base line. It turned into the decisive run in the ballgame, dooming Wilson (1-1) to his first loss at the Double-A level.
Senators' righty Brian Broderick (1-0) came on in relief of Holder and nearly took it the rest of the way. He worked 2.2 innings for the win, despite allowing the Squirrels' final run in the top of the ninth inning. Right-hander Erik Davis came on to strike out Ehire Adrianza to finish the win for the Senators. He earned his fifth save of the year.
Game two of the three-game series is scheduled for 7 PM on Saturday night at Metro Bank Park. Richmond LHP Chris Gloor (2-2, 2.23) will oppose Harrisburg RHP Ryan Perry (1-1, 1.82).