RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - Chris Heston took a no-hitter into the eighth inning and Juan Perez went 2-for-5 and drove in the only run of the game as the Richmond Flying Squirrels (61-60) earned a 1-0 walk-off win over the Bowie Baysox (62-58) in ten innings at The Diamond Sunday night. With the win, Richmond avoided a sweep in the three-game set and now sits a game and a half behind Bowie in the race for the Western Division wild-card spot.
Heston allowed just one hit and matched his career-high with 11 strikeouts in seven and 2/3 scoreless innings. Perez extended his current hit streak to 17 games, which ties him for the second-longest hit streak in the Eastern League this season. The Flying Squirrels own a league-best 13-2 record in games decided in extra innings this season.
The game quickly developed into a pitchers' duel between Heston and Bowie starter Jake Pettit. Heston issued leadoff walk to Antoan Richardson in the opening frame, but he picked Richardson off first base and retired the next two Baysox batters to end the frame. Pettit gave up two singles in the first inning, but he did not allow a run to score in the frame.
After the opening frame, Heston continued to baffle Bowie's hitters. He retired 20 of the next 22 batters he faced with only Richardson reaching on a leadoff walk in the fourth and Zelous Wheeler reaching on a leadoff walk in the sixth. Heston's bid for a no-hitter was thwarted when Wheeler singled to left field with two outs in the top of the eighth inning. Heston was immediately removed from the contest and he received a warm standing ovation from the crowd as he walked off the field. Brett Bochy came on in relief of Heston and he struck out Jai Miller to end the inning.
Meanwhile, Richmond's offense collected six hits off Pettit in six innings, but failed to score against the Bowie left-hander. The Flying Squirrels squandered a scoring opportunity against Pettit in the top of the sixth. Johnny Monell hit a two-out double off Pettit and Daniel Mayora was hit by a pitch. But Pettit recovered and struck out Russ Mitchell to end the Richmond threat.
Baysox reliever Andy Loomis came on in the top of the seventh and he proceeded to retire all nine Richmond batters he faced in three innings of work.
With the game still scoreless in the bottom of the tenth inning, Jason Gurka came on to pitch for the Baysox. He gave up a leadoff double to Ryan Cavan and Nick Liles' bunt attempt resulted in a fielders' choice that left Richmond with runners at the corners and no outs. After hitting Gary Brown with a pitch to load the bases, Gurka struck out Ehire Adrianza. Then, Perez hit the game-winning single to deep right field that scored Cavan and gave Richmond a 1-0 walk-off win.
Bochy (7-3) earned the win after tossing two and 1/3 innings of scoreless relief. He struck out three batters and issued one walk. Gurka (2-2) took the loss after giving up two hits and one run in 1/3 of an inning pitched.
Following an off-day Monday, the Squirrels will look for their second straight win when they take on the New Britain Rock Cats (Minnesota Twins) in the opener of a three-game series at New Britain Stadium Tuesday night. Richmond will send LHP Mike Kickham (10-8, 2.61) to mound. New Britain is expected to counter with LHP Logan Darnell (8-10, 5.12). First pitch is slated for 7:05 PM.