Eastern League ERA leader and Richmond ace right-hander Chris Heston confounded the Binghamton Mets for seven innings as the Richmond Flying Squirrels claimed a 4-0 shutout victory on Saturday night. The win is the third straight for the Squirrels as they remain four games behind the red-hot Bowie Baysox, who won their sixth straight ballgame on Saturday night.
The Squirrels cracked the scoreboard first, plating a third-inning run against Binghamton right-hander Cory Mazzoni. With one out, Ryan Cavan singled into right-center field. Heston followed and chopped a double over the head of the third baseman, Wilmer Flores. Cavan motored around from first base for a 1-0 lead. It marked the first professional RBI for Heston.
Wes Hodges got Richmond started again the fourth inning with a one-out single off Mazzoni. Johnny Monell followed and blasted a 2-2 fastball from the right-hander over the right-field wall. The two-run home run increased the Richmond lead to 3-0. It marked the ninth home run of the season for Monell.
Mazzoni called it a night after seven innings, doomed to the loss. He allowed three runs on six hits, walked none and struck out seven.
Meanwhile, Heston put it in cruise-control over the final three innings of his seven-inning night. Heston blanked the B-Mets on three hits, earning his ninth win of the season. He walked three and struck out six, lowering his league-leading ERA to 2.08. It marks the third straight start that Heston has lowered his ERA. He retired the final nine batters he faced in the outing and has now allowed just one earned run over his last three starts (20.2 IP).
The Squirrels finished the scoring with an insurance run in the ninth inning off right-hander Jeff Kaplan. Ehire Adrianza knocked in Hodges with an RBI bounce out to cap the scoring for the evening.
Right-handers Edwin Quirarte and Brett Bochy finished the shutout, with Quirarte working a perfect ninth and Bochy handling the ninth. The Squirrels have now authored a league-best 15 shutouts on the season.
The finale of the three-game series is scheduled for 1:05 PM on Sunday afternoon at NYSEG Stadium. Richmond LHP Mike Kickham (10-9, 2.79) will make the start opposite Binghamton RHP Gonzalez Germen (6-10, 4.81).