Flying Squirrels get Shawsome walk-off win over Altoona, 4-3 in 10

The following comes directly from the Richmond Flying Squirrels:

RVA – Richmond first baseman Chris Shaw ended a peculiar contest on Tuesday night with a game-winning single in the bottom of the 10th inning to defeat the Altoona Curve (3-3), 4-3 in front of 5,021 fans at The Diamond. A depleted Squirrels bullpen forced Richmond (3-3) to use a pair of position players on the mound, including the winning pitcher Tyler Horan. Squirrels infielder Rando Moreno tossed a scoreless ninth inning to send the game to extra innings, before Horan scooped up the win by tossing the 10th. Richmond will close out the homestand and seek the series win on Wednesday night at 6:35 p.m.

Altoona dissolved the 2-2 stalemate against Horan (1-0) in the top of the tenth inning. After Horan recorded the first two outs, Elvis Escobar walked and pinch-hitter Wyatt Mathisen was hit by a pitch. Kevin Newman then followed with an infield single and Horan walked the next hitter Pablo Reyes to bring in Escobar with the go-ahead run 3-2.

Richmond countered in the bottom of the 10th as Altoona also was forced to summon a position player due to playing consecutive extra inning games. With two outs, Brandon Bednar drew a walk from third baseman-turned pitcher Chase Simpson. Miguel Gomez added an opposite field double to set up Shaw for the game-winning hit. Shaw drilled a ball deep to the alley in left center field to plate both runners and win the game, 4-3.

At the outset, Flying Squirrels starting pitcher Jordan Johnson evaded trouble in the top of the first inning, but needed 29 pitches to get through it. The righty picked up a double play to end the frame and kept Altoona off the board. Altoona starter Yeudy Garcia also had issues in the first inning, but unlike Johnson, failed to get through. Brandon Bednar worked a walk to get the ball rolling for the Squirrels and Miguel Gomez followed with a towering two-run home run to right field. Garcia finished his outing with a walk and a strike out and was removed from the game with two outs in the first due to reaching his pitch count.

Altoona chopped the lead to 2-1 with a run on the top of the second inning when Jordan Luplow homered on a fly ball to deep left center field. Squirrels center fielder Slade Heathcott tracked the ball to the wall and got his glove on it as it glanced off his mitt and fell beyond the fence.

 With the Curve starting pitcher Garcia knocked out in the first inning, Virginia Tech product Sean Keselica bailed out Altoona with 3 1/3 innings of stellar relief. Keselica yielded a pair of hits and struck out three to take the game into the fifth inning.

Richmond’s Johnson was able to navigate around runners on base throughout the game and received a no-decision in his first start of the year. Johnson tossed four innings and allowed one run on six hits. He struck out four and walked one on 84 pitches. Lefty Matt Lujan replaced Johnson to start the fifth and worked around an error and a single by striking out the side. Lujan returned for the sixth inning and added another pair of strikeouts, along with a game-tying home run to Luplow. Luplow cracked his second homer of the game to lead off the sixth inning and even the score, 2-2.

Both clubs had opportunities to snap the deadlock throughout, but fell short. Chris Shaw lead off the bottom of the sixth inning with a double but was stranded at third base. The Curve loaded the bases in the top of the seventh and were turned aside when Hunter Cole made a diving catch for the final out of the inning.

 Lujan carried the game through five innings and allowed just the one run on five hits in the effort. Lujan used 82 pitches to save the rest of the pen before handing the ball over Moreno in the ninth. Altoona’s pen was also superb, as Miguel Rosario and Jared Lakind tossed three and two scoreless innings respectively before having to use third baseman Simpson in the tenth.   Richmond committed four errors and were out-hit 13-8 in the win.

The Flying Squirrels conclude their season-opening homestand on Wednesday evening against Altoona at 6:35 p.m.