RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - The Richmond Flying Squirrels (3-1) earned a trip to the Eastern League Championship Series with a, 5-1, win over the Akron RubberDucks (1-3) on Saturday night at The Diamond. 4,893 witnessed the Squirrels gain entry to the ELCS for the second time in franchise history (2011). They will meet either the Portland SeaDogs or Binghamton Mets in the ELCS, which will begin at The Diamond on Tuesday night at 6:35 p.m. Portland and Binghamton will play game 5 of the EDCS on Sunday afternoon.
Right-hander Chris Stratton and lefty Shawn Morimando traded zeroes through the first three innings. Stratton held off the RubberDucks again in the fourth, and the Squirrels struck first in the bottom of the inning. Morimando started the inning with a walk issued to Mario Lisson. Devin Harris followed and cracked a two-run home run to left field. Harris' first of the postseason, and 14h overall, put Richmond in front, 2-0.
Morimando (0-1) worked solidly through five innings. He was charged with two runs on just three hits. He walked four and struck out four. He took the loss for the Ducks.
Stratton (1-0) breezed through six scoreless innings, allowing the RubberDucks just two hits. He did walk four, but struck out six, and left with a 2-0 lead. Stratton was the deserving winner for the Squirrels.
Akron finally got on the board in the seventh inning against lefty Phil McCormick. McCormick walked the lead-off man, Joey Wendle. Alex Lavisky followed and pushed an RBI double into the right-field corner. Wendle scored to slice Richmond's lead in half, 2-1.
For the first time in the series, the Squirrels were able to pull away. They did so in the bottom of the eighth. Right-hander Trey Haley got them started with back-to-back one-out walks. Tyler Horan – in his first at-bat of the night – then ripped a two-run triple to right-center field. The triple came off of Haley's replacement, righty Josh Martin. Angel Villalona knocked in the final run of the night when he sent a grounder to short.
The Squirrels used a trio of right-handers to close out the RubberDucks. Jose Casilla got the first two outs of the eighth, but left with the bases loaded. Tyler Rogers came on and calmly ended the Akron threat. Cody Hall then handled the ninth in order in a non-save situation.