READING, Pa.---Richmond Flying Squirrels reliever Cody Hall looked to intentionally walk Reading Fightin Phils infielder Matt Tolbert in the ninth inning with Jim Murphy and Maikel Franco on second and third, respectively, but the plans went awry. Hall sailed a pitch to the Fightins (60-78) backstop, allowing Franco to score the game-winning run in the team's 9-8 win over the Flying Squirrels (69-69) Thursday night in front of 7,614 fans in the team's home season finale at FirstEnergy Stadium. Each of Reading's three wins against Richmond this series have come in the final at-bat of the game.
The two teams entered the ninth inning tied following a four-run rally by Reading. Franco and Murphy both singled to start things off. Anthony Hewitt laid down a sacrifice bunt to third base to move the pair of base runners up a base. Following his bunt, Franco scored the game-winning run on Hall's wild pitch.
The Fightins fell behind to a three-run deficit early after scoring a run in the second and adding three runs in the third behind a pair of RBI doubles and a run-scoring single. They started to claw back in the third inning when Troy Hanzawa scored a run as Albert Cartwright was caught in a 3-6-3-4 double play. An inning later, Franco and Murphy hit back-to-back solo home runs for the second time this season.
Reading continued to chip away at Richmond's lead in the fifth inning, even after the opposition tallied a run in the fifth inning on Ryan Lollis' run-scoring double. Albert Cartwright hit a two-out single and scored an at-bat later when Zach Collier tripled him home on his ninth of the season.
Murphy singled for his second hit of the game in the sixth inning and then scored after a throwing error by pitcher Chris Gloor. Hewitt had his final hit of the game in the sixth inning and then scored on Sebastian Valle's RBI single.
The Flying Squirrels tacked on their eighth run in the seventh inning, but the Fightins wiped away the two-run deficit in the bottom of the eighth inning. Murphy, Tolbert, and Valle helped load the bases on a trio of singles. The Fightins MVP scored the inning's first run when Hanzawa was plunked. Pinch-hitter Kelly Dugan then evened the score up with a single to right field.
Starting pitcher Perci Garner had a rough five inning outing where he allowed seven runs, six earned, on nine hits and four walks. He struck out three in on 65 strikes in 104 pitches.
Tyler Knigge and Austin Wright combined to throw two perfect innings to keep Reading in the game. New to the bullpen this month, Wright picked up his sixth win of the season after striking out one in the ninth.
Reading heads out on the road for its final four games this weekend in New Britain. RHP Ryan Demmin (1-1, 3.29 ERA) will start for the Fightins against LHP Pedro Hernandez (1-0, 0.82 ERA). Tune into Oldies 1340 WRAW-AM or
MiLB.TV for the game broadcast with Fightins play-by-play announcer Anthony Oppermann at 6:05 p.m.
Season tickets, mini-plans, and group orders for the 2014 season at FirstEnergy Stadium are available by visiting Fightins.com, calling the Fightin Phils Ticket Office at 610-370-BALL, or by visiting the Fightin Phils Ticket Office in person at FirstEnergy Stadium. Follow the Fightin Phils on Twitter at @ReadingFightins and like them on Facebook via www.facebook.com/fightins.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.