RVA – Harrisburg’s All-Star right-hander John Simms out-dueled Richmond’s Sam Coonrod in a 5-2 Senators victory in front of 8,031 fans on Saturday night at The Diamond. Coonrod and Simms kept the game scoreless through the first six innings, until Harrisburg (37-54) struck for three runs in the seventh. Richmond (37-53) plated a pair of runs on a double from Myles Schroder after Simms left the game to avoid the shutout. Following the contest, Flying Squirrels VP & COO Todd “Parney” Parnell announced that the 2019 Eastern League All-Star game will be hosted by the Flying Squirrels at The Diamond.
Coonrod set the tone for the contest with an overpowering first inning. The righty punched out a pair of Senators, setting the side down 1-2-3 on 13 pitches to begin the game. Senators RHP John Simms followed suit, retiring the first five batters he faced on Saturday.
Coonrod worked around a pair of runners in the second – a double from Dan Gamache and a walk to Drew Ward – but managed to strand the duo to end the inning. Following the second inning walk, Coonrod retired nine consecutive batters until his second walk occurred with one out in the fifth.
The Squirrels offense also scuffled against the precision of Simms. Brandon Bednar doubled in the second inning for the first Richmond hit and connected again on a base hit in the fifth. Bednar collected the first two hits for Richmond as Simms motored through the first five innings on 69 pitches.
The pitcher’s duel continued scoreless as Coonrod stuck out Zach Collier to begin the sixth inning. Joseph flew out and Jose Marmolejos grounded out as Coonrod finished the frame with his 79th pitch of the day.
The stalemate was finally disrupted in the seventh inning with Harrisburg taking a 3-0 lead. Raudy Read rolled a broken bat single into center field to begin the inning and advanced to third base on a double. Drew Ward executed a sacrifice fly for the first run of the day and Osvaldo Abreu added an RBI double to take a 2-0 lead. Simms then connected on an RBI single to force the exit for Coonrod.
Coonrod (3-8 ) tossed 6.2 innings and allowed the three runs on six hits in the loss. He stuck out four and walked two, tossing 96 pitches in the outing.
Ryan Halstead relieved Coonrod and finished the seventh, but encountered trouble in the eighth. Marmolejos singled to begin the inning and Reed followed with a low-lining home run over the right field wall for a 5-0 advantage.
Simms was eventually replaced to start the eighth inninng by Ryan Brinley. Simms (4-6) lasted seven innings and allowed just three hits in the win.
Brinley was touched up for a pair of runs in the eight on a two-run double to right field off the bat of Schroder. Andrew Robinson entered to close the door in the ninth, earning his third save of the season.
Richmond concludes their four-game homestand on Sunday at 12 p.m. LHP Nate Reedis scheduled to start for the Squirrels against Harrisburg RHP Wirken Estevez.