READING, PA - The Reading Phillies (60-78) earned their third walk-off win in a four-game series over the Richmond Flying Squirrels (69-69), 9-8, on Thursday night at FirstEnergy Stadium. The winning run scored when Cody Hall sailed a wild pitch over the top of catcher Tyler LaTorre in the bottom of the ninth inning. The pitch was intended to be ball one of an intentional walk. Maikel Franco scored the winning run for the Fightins. The Squirrels also lost a 6-1 lead for the second time in the series.
The Squirrels got on the board first against righty Perci Garner in the top of the second inning. Angel Villalona led off with a single back through the middle. Jarrett Parker followed with a single to right-center field to put two aboard. Ryan Lollis grounded into a fielder's choice, but moved Villalona to third base. Tyler LaTorre brought him in with a groundout to the shortstop.
Richmond got back after Garner in the third inning. Garner walked Kelby Tomlinson to start the frame. Joe Panik followed and rifled a double through the alley in right-center field. Tomlinson came all the way around for a 2-0 lead. An out later, Adam Duvall laced a double into the left-field corner. Panik strolled to the plate for a 3-0 advantage. Garner then walked Villalona and Parker made it 4-0 with his second single of the night.
Reading got an unearned run back in the bottom of the third inning against lefty Chris Gloor. Troy Hanzawa singled to start the inning. He was bunted to second base by Garner. Albert Cartwright followed and reached on an error to put runners on the corners with one out. Zach Collier grounded into an inning-ending double play. But, Villalona went to first base for the first out, negating the force on the second out. That allowed Hanzawa to score.
The Squirrels tacked on two more runs off Garner in the fourth inning. Gloor started the inning with his first hit of the season. Tomlinson reached on an error and Panik cracked a two-run triple into the right-field corner for a 6-1 lead.
The Fightins trimmed the Richmond lead to three runs in the bottom of the fourth as Maikel Franco and Jim Murphy cranked back-to-back solo-home runs off Gloor. Both shots were to left field, Franco's high-arching and Murphy's low-flying.
Richmond got the run back immediately in the fifth inning. Parker walked and Ryan Lollis rocketed a double to right field. Parker galloped all the way around from first base the Squirrels took a 7-3 advantage.
Garner retired for the evening after five innings. He was charged with seven runs - six earned - on eight hits. He walked four and struck out three.
Gloor registered the first two outs of the fifth inning hurriedly. However, Cartwright registered a two-out single. Collier followed and cracked a triple into the right-field corner. Cartwright came around to make it 7-4.
Reading chased Gloor and got back within a lone run in the sixth inning. Murphy opened the inning with a single. Anthony Hewitt followed with his third single of the night. Matt Tolbert bunted the runners up and Gloor threw errantly to first base. Murphy scored on the play and Gloor was lifted in favor of right-hander Edwin Quirarte. Sebastian Valle greeted him with a single that brought in Hewitt, shaving the Richmond lead to one run, 7-6.
Gloor was charged with six runs - five earned - over five innings. He conceded nine hits, walked none and struck out five. He did not factor in the decision in his final start of the season.
The Squirrels once again answered, collecting a run in the seventh inning of right-hander Colby Shreve. Lollis walked and was doubled home by Tomlinson for an 8-6 lead.
Quirarte worked a scoreless seventh inning and returned for the eighth. He found trouble there, conceding a lead-off single to Murphy. Quirarte recovered to strike out Hewitt, but then conceded back-to-back singles to Tolbert and Valle to load the bases. Quirarte then hit Hanzawa to force in a run. He was lifted in favor of lefty Phil McCormick. Pinch-hitter Kelly Dugan cracked his first pitch for a single into right field to tie the game, 8-8. Both runs in the inning were charged to Quirarte.
Left-hander Austin Wright (6-5) earned the win after working a perfect top of the ninth inning. Hall (2-2) took the loss for Richmond. Both of his losses occurred during the Reading series.
The Squirrels return to Richmond to meet the Harrisburg Senators (Washington Nationals) in the final four-game series of the regular season. Richmond LHP Edwin Escobar (5-3, 2.59) will make the start against Harrisburg LHP Robbie Ray (4-2, 3.91). The Flying Squirrels Pregame Warmup will begin on Sports Radio 910, www.sportsradio910.com and IHeart Radio at 6:35 p.m.
# SQUIRRELS #