Kickham smokin' in Squirrels win over Sens

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT)  - Mike Kickham turned in another masterful performance on the mound by tossing seven no-hit innings as the Richmond Flying Squirrels (59-58) defeated the Harrisburg Senators (55-62), 6-0, in the second game of a three-game series at The Diamond Wednesday night. The pitching trio of Kickham, Tom Vessella and Edwin Quirarte combined on a one-hitter of Harrisburg. Juan Perez went 3-for-4 with an RBI to extend his hit streak to 13 games, the longest hit streak by a Richmond batter in 2012.

Richmond drew first blood with a run in the opening frame. Ehire Adrianza hit a one-out double and he advanced to third base on a groundout from Daniel Mayora. Mark Minicozzi followed with a solid single to right field that plated Adrianza and gave Richmond a 1-0 advantage.

The Flying Squirrels added two more runs in the bottom of the fourth. Perez ripped a leadoff double to deep left field to keep his streak alive. Senators starter Kevin Pucetas retired the next two batters he faced before giving up an RBI double to Luke Anders. Then, Kickham laced an RBI double into the right-center field gap that scored Anders and extended Richmond's lead to 3-0.

Richmond pushed another run across in the sixth. Perez hit a leadoff single of Harrisburg reliever Brian Broderick. Moments later, he stole second base and he advanced to third base later in the inning when Russ Mitchell hit a long fly out to left field. Then, Broderick issued an intentional walk to Anders in order to face Kickham. But Kickham foiled Harrisburg's strategy by executing a bunt single that scored Perez and made it a 4-0 ballgame.

The Flying Squirrels tacked on a pair of runs in the seventh. Mayora hit a one-out single and he swiped second base. Minicozzi followed with a single, which gave the Flying Squirrels runners at the corners. Perez drove in Mayora with an RBI double and Johnny Monell delivered a sacrifice fly that scored Minicozzi and extended Richmond's advantage to 6-0.

Meanwhile, Kickham (10-8) cruised through seven hitless innings. The southpaw issued just two walks and struck out eight batters before exiting the contest after the seventh inning. Harrisburg's Jose Lozada broke up Richmond's bid for a combined no-hitter with a double off Tom Vessella in the top of the eighth. It was the Senators' only hit of the night.

Pucetas was charged with the loss for Harrisburg. The veteran right-hander allowed six hits and three earned runs along with a walk and three strikeouts in five innings pitched.

The Squirrels will seek their fourth straight win and a sweep of the three-game series when the two teams square off at The Diamond Thursday night. Richmond will send RHP Justin Fitzgerald (7-7, 3.73) to mound. Harrisburg is expected to counter with RHP Trevor Holder (2-2, 4.73). First pitch is slated for 7:05 PM.

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