Richmond, Va. - After having to overcome late-inning deficits in the first two games against the Flying Squirrels, the Fightin Phils never trailed in the series finale on Sunday as the club scored three runs in the first on its way to a 5-4 victory in front of 8,040 fans at The Diamond.
Reading (28-39) opened the game with four straight base hits off of Richmond's top starter, Jack Snodgrass. Albert Cartwright drove a ball through the right side of the infield with runners at the corners to drive in Derrick Mitchell with the first run of the game. Two pitches later, Jim Murphy pulled a base hit into left to score Edgar Duran making it 2-0 Fightins. Again with runners at the corners and no out, Anthony Hewitt hit a come-backer to the mound that deflected off of Snodgrass' glove out to short and the Flying Squirrels turned a 1-6-4-3 double play. Cartwright was able to score on the play and Reading had a 3-0 lead after a half inning.
The Fightins added another run in the top of the second as Mitchell singled to left with two outs and Andy Gonzalez at second base. Brett Krill's throw to the plate was in time to get the runner; however, Andrew Susac couldn't hold on to the ball as he attempted to apply the tag on Gonzalez and the Fightin Phils extended their lead to 4-0.
Richmond (34-33) would steadily chip away at the deficit. The Flying Squirrels got their first run of the day in the bottom of the second as Ricky Oropesa made Reading starter Austin Wright pay for issuing a leadoff walk to Mark Minicozzi. The former third-round pick doubled to right field to drive in Minicozzi to make a 4-1 game.
An inning later, an error on Cartwright led to another run for the Squirrels. Ryan Lollis reached base leading off the inning as the Reading second baseman booted a routine grounder his way. A wild pitch moved Lollis to second and he advanced to third on a flyout to deep right. With the runner at third and two outs, Wright fired another wild pitch that allowed Lollis to score, trimming the Fightins lead to 4-2.
The Flying Squirrels pulled within a run in the bottom of the fifth. Krill started the inning off with a double to left-center field. Two batters later, Adrianza drove him in with a base hit to center that made it a 4-3 game. With two on and one out, Adam Duvall hit a drive to deep left, but Mitchell was able to run it down and catch the runners off of their bases to start an inning-ending double play.
Hewitt would add a key insurance run in the top of the sixth as he crushed a leadoff home run to left-center field - his fifth of the season - to put Reading on top 5-3.
Snodgrass (5-3) left on the hook for the loss after 5 2/3 innings, giving up a season-high five runs and eight hits. He also walked a season-high four batters while striking out only two.
Wright (2-3) turned in his longest outing of the year as well as his first quality start. The left-hander allowed three runs, two earned, and three hits in six innings. He struck out four batters and walked one as he left in line for the win.
The Fightin Phils bullpen would make the two-run lead hold up. Richmond got its first run or the series against the Reading bullpen in the bottom the eighth inning. Adrianza singled with one out in the inning, then stole second and advanced to third on a balk on right-hander Hector Neris. Duvall hit a line drive back to the mound that Neris caught; however, his throw in attempt to double up Adrianza at third was wild, and the base runner was able to score to pull the Squirrels back within a run at 5-4. After a base hit from Minicozzi, left-hander Jay Johnson entered the game to get the final out of the inning. A balk on Johnson put the tying run in scoring position, but the Canadian struck out Oropesa on a 3-2 pitch to end the inning.
Right-hander Tyler Knigge entered the game in an attempt to nail down his second save of the season. The 24-year-old struck out the first batter that he faced but then walked the next two. Knigge fell behind pinch hitter Mark Wagner 3-2 before getting him to fly out to right for the second out of the inning. Two pitches later, Lollis popped out to third to end the game as Richmond left the tying run stranded in scoring position and the winning run on base.
The four-game winning streak matches the longest of the season for Reading. It also won four straight in a four-game series sweep of the Altoona Curve May 20th - May 23rd. It was the third series sweep of the season for the club. Richmond, meanwhile, lost its seven straight game - the longest losing streak of the season for the team.
Following a scheduled off day on Monday, the Fightin Phils open a four-game, three-day series at home with the Portland Sea Dogs on Tuesday night beginning with a doubleheader. Right-hander Seth Rosin (3-4) gets the start in game one opposite Portland right-hander Matt Barnes. Left-hander Bobby Bramhall (0-0) gets the start for the Fightins in game two against righty Charlie Haeger (2-3). First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 PM at FirstEnergy Stadium. Pre-game coverage begins at 5:35 PM on Oldies 1340 WRAW.