RICHMOND, Va - The Richmond Flying Squirrels (11-11) recorded five double-plays en route to a, 5-3, victory over the New Britain Rock Cats (13-9) in front of 3,037 at The Diamond on Saturday night. The win is the third straight for the Squirrels and also nets them the victory in the three-game series.
The Squirrels broke a scoreless stalemate with a pair of runs off of New Britain right-hander Steve Hirschfeld in the fourth inning. Ehire Adrianza got Richmond started with single into right-center field. Daniel Mayora followed and sprayed a double just fair down the right-field line. Adrianza advanced to third on the two-bagger. Wendell Fairley bounced out without advancing the runners, but Gary Brown delivered a two-run single with two outs to left-center field.
Hirschfeld harmed his own cause in the fifth inning as the Squirrels doubled their advantage. Tommy Joseph led off and tapped a ball to the first-base side of the mound. Hirschfeld couldn't handle it cleanly, and his miscue opened the door for Richmond. Hirschfeld followed with a walk to Johnny Monell, and two strikeouts later, walked Adrianza to load the bases. Mayora battled the righty before crisply rapping a two-run single into right field for a 4-0 lead. Both runs in the inning were unearned against Hirschfeld.
Meanwhile, Squirrels' right-hander Craig Westcott cruised through five scoreless innings with the aid of four double-plays behind him. He used just 53 pitches as he faced just one over the minimum. However, he was lifted due to back tightness after conceding a lead-off single to James Beresford in the sixth inning. Right-hander Andy Reichard came on in emergency relief and struggled in the inning. After recording the first out, he conceded back-to-back singles to Pedro Florimon and Chris Herrmann to plate the first Rock Cats run of the night. Two more came home to cut the Richmond lead to a lone run when Evan Bigley blasted a double off the wall in left field. Westcott was charged with the first run in the inning and Reichard the final two as New Britain closed to 4-3.
Brown got the momentum immediately back for the Squirrels as he opened the bottom of the sixth with a perfect bunt-single. Ryan Cavan followed with his second single of the night to put two aboard. The pair pulled off a double-steal to move up to second and third. Joseph lined out, but Monell sent a sacrifice-fly to center field to bring in Brown and cap the scoring for the evening, 5-3.
Westcott (1-2) earned the win, ultimately allowing a run on three hits. He walked two and struck out two, picking up his first victory of the season. Hirschfeld (2-2) took the loss over six innings. He was charged with five runs - three earned - on 10 hits. He walked two and struck out five.
Right-hander Brett Bochy was again stout in relief, working two scoreless innings through the eighth inning. Left-hander Tom Vessella earned his first save of the season with a perfect ninth, inducing three straight ground balls to Adrianza at short.
The Squirrels complete their three-game series with the New Britain Rock Cats (Minnesota Twins) on Sunday afternoon at 2:05 PM. Richmond LHP Jason Stevenson (1-3, 7.08) will oppose New Britain LHP Logan Darnell (2-0, 5.21). Tickets are available and can be purchased at SquirrelsBaseball.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.