Flying Squirrels ‘pen spoils Suarez gem, Richmond loses 5-4

The following comes directly from the Richmond Flying Squirrels:

RVA – The Binghamton Rumble Ponies (23-15) scored three runs in the ninth inning to come back on Richmond (17-25) and steal the series opener 5-4 at The Diamond. Richmond led 4-0 through the first six innings until the Ponies plated two in the seventh and three more in the ninth. Richmond’s Chris Shaw drilled his sixth home run of the season in the defeat. Game two of the series is on Tuesday at 6:35 p.m. with a Tip of the Cap Tuesday.

Binghamton used a pair of infield hits, coupled with a controversial call to load the bases and start the rally against D.J. Snelten and the Squirrels bullpen in the ninth inning. Reyes Moronta replaced Snelten with the bases loaded and relinquished a game-tying, two-run base hit to Tomas Nido. Moronta then walked the next two batters to produce the game-winning run.

Squirrels lefty Andrew Suarez started the series opener for Richmond against former MLB hurler Blake Beavan. Suarez worked quickly through the lineup in the first two innings, allowing just an infield single to Tomas Nido. Suarez struck out Cody Decker to end the first inning and Kevin Kaczmarski to close out the second.

Richmond forged ahead on Beavan and the Ponies with a three-run bottom of the second inning. C.J. Hinojosa grounded out toopen the inning prior to Hunter Cole, Brandon Bednar and Ali Castillo connecting in consecutive singles to load the bases. Andrew Suarez followedwith an infield single that kicked off the pitcher and rolled into shallow left field to plate the first two runs of the day. Slade Heathcott brought in the third run of the inning on a ground ball, avoiding a double play to allow Castillo to score from third.

The Rumble Ponies could not take advantage of a few base runners in the third and fourth innings due to double plays. Suarez induced Luis Guillorme into an inning-ending double play in the third. LJ Mazzilli did the same to keep Suarez’ pitch count down to 54 over the first four frames.

Chris Shaw made it a 4-0 Richmond lead in thefifth inning by launching his sixth home run of the season. Shaw drilled a ball over the right center field wall for his second such home run of the homestand.

Suarez continued to deal through the middle innings and retired seven consecutive batters until a two-out base hit disrupted the rhythm in the sixth. Suarez then punched out Cody Decker to end the inning and pick up his fifth strikeout in the outing.

The Rumble Ponies finally scuffed up Suarez in the seventh to get him to exit the contest. Kevin Taylor and LJ Mazzilli opened the inning with consecutive doubles to score Binghamton’s first run of the game. Mazzilli advanced to third and scored on David Thompson’s base hit. Richmond then replaced Suarez with Carlos Alvarado to finish off the inning and strand an inherited runner. Suarez lasted 6.1 innings and allowed two runs on seven hits. He walked two and struck out five in the no-decision.

Beavan was also lifted (for a punch hitter) in the top of the seventh inning. The righty allowed four runs on eight hits in his first start with Binghamton. He walked three and struck out six in the no-decision.

Alvarado took the game past the eighth inning and worked around a pair of walks to keep the 4-2 lead intact. Snelten (4-1) started the ninth and suffered his first loss of the year.

The Flying Squirrels continue the homestand at The Diamond on Tuesday night with Tip of the Cap Tuesday at 6:35 p.m. RHP Sam Coonrod (1-4, 5.19) is scheduled to start the series opener against Binghamton LHP P.J. Conlon (4-2, 3.47).