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Top-10 Moments From the 2023 Flying Squirrels Season

Postseason clinch, broken records and Major League callups highlight memorable year
January 5, 2024

RICHMOND, Va. – For the second consecutive year, the Richmond Flying Squirrels clinched a spot in the Eastern League Playoffs. It was the fourth postseason appearance for the team and the second time they reached the playoffs under manager Dennis Pelfrey.

RICHMOND, Va. – For the second consecutive year, the Richmond Flying Squirrels clinched a spot in the Eastern League Playoffs. It was the fourth postseason appearance for the team and the second time they reached the playoffs under manager Dennis Pelfrey.

The playoff push was backed by one of the Eastern League’s hottest stretches, when the Flying Squirrels totaled a 47-29 record over their final 76 games, the best record in the league during that span. The team set franchise records in 2023 for runs scored (658), RBIs (604), walks (552), games scoring 10+ runs (16) and stolen base percentage (81.1).

Here are the 10 most memorable moments from the historic 2023 season.

10. Flying Squirrels welcome five millionth fan

Richmond resident Amie Stumbo was recognized as the five millionth fan in the franchise’s history on May 20 at The Diamond. Stumbo received a customized Five Millionth Fan jersey along with two season tickets for the remainder of the 2023 season and the entire 2024 season. The Flying Squirrels ended the season leading Double-A for the second consecutive year in total attendance at 428,541 fans and an average of 6,396 fans per game.

9. Black slings fifth straight scoreless start in award-winning outing

On July 1 at FirstEnergy Stadium in Reading, Pa., Flying Squirrels starter Mason Black chopped up five perfect innings with eight strikeouts against the Reading Fightin Phils. Following his start, Black was named the Eastern League Pitcher of the Week for June 26-July 2. Black was also named the Eastern League Pitcher of the Month for June, totaling a 1.27 ERA while striking out 25 batters over 21.1 innings. He compiled five consecutive scoreless starts from June 8 to July 1. Black was promoted to Triple-A Sacramento in mid-June and posted a 3.86 ERA over 13 starts with the River Cats.

8. Luciano bashes grand slam and six RBIs in two-homer showcase

Marco Luciano crushed a pair of home runs and stacked six RBIs in an 11-2 win over the Altoona Curve on June 10 at The Diamond. Luciano rocketed a grand slam in the second inning and added a two-run homer in the eighth. It was the fourth two-homer game of his professional career and his first at Double-A. From June 10 until his promotion to Triple-A Sacramento, Luciano held the sixth-best OPS in the Eastern League. He made his Major League debut with the San Francisco Giants on July 26.

7. Seven-run eighth inning caps Independence Day comeback in front of sellout crowd

Three home runs in a seven-run eighth inning drove the Flying Squirrels to an 11-5, come-from-behind victory over the Bowie Baysox on Independence Day at The Diamond. Trailing by one run in the eighth inning, Wade Meckler pushed the Flying Squirrels ahead, 6-5, with a two-run homer. Two batters later, Marco Luciano blasted a solo home run and Shane Matheny crushed a solo shot in the next at-bat to extend Richmond’s advantage to three runs. Later in the eighth with the bases loaded, Hayden Cantrelle brought home two runs and another run scored on a Baysox throwing error to extend the Flying Squirrels’ lead to 11-5. The game totaled 9,810 fans and marked the 13th consecutive sellout on the Fourth of July in franchise history.

6. Squirrels strike out record 21 batters in 5-1 win over Senators

Five Richmond pitchers combined for 21 strikeouts on April 11 at Harrisburg, tying the overall single-game franchise record and setting a new team record for a nine-inning game. Starter Kai-Wei Teng led the charge with 10 strikeouts over four innings. Erik Miller, Chris Wright and Evan Gates each had three strikeouts in their appearances and Michael Stryffeler sprinkled in two strikeouts to help the Flying Squirrels win their fourth consecutive game to open the season, their best start in team history.

5. Meckler’s walk-off single highlights historic five-hit performance

Outfielder Wade Meckler capped a five-hit game with an extra-inning, walk-off single in Game 1 of a doubleheader on June 23 against the Harrisburg Senators. Meckler finished the game with four RBIs, three runs, a double and became the 10th Flying Squirrel in franchise history to record five hits in a game. Meckler was one of five 2023 Flying Squirrels to make his MLB debut with the Giants.

4. Whalen, Bericoto, Wyatt each homer in berserk ninth-inning comeback win

Down to their final out in Game 2 of a doubleheader and trailing by two runs in the top of the seventh, the Flying Squirrels bashed three home runs to steal a 10-8 win against the Portland Sea Dogs on August 26. Brady Whalen kickstarted the rally with a solo home run and Victor Bericoto followed with a solo shot in the next at-bat to tie the score, 8-8. After a walk, Logan Wyatt appeared as a pinch hitter and launched a two-run blast to give Richmond a 10-8 lead. Reliever Tyler Myrick picked up his third Double-A save with a clean bottom of the seventh to secure the win and a doubleheader split. The victory was one of 32 come-from-behind victories by Richmond in 2023.

3. Aldrete mashes three home runs in record-shattering win over Hartford

Carter Aldrete smashed three of the Flying Squirrels’ eight home runs in a 17-10 win over the Hartford Yard Goats on August 31 at Dunkin’ Park. Richmond's eight home runs set a new franchise record for homers in a game and were tied for the most in a minor-league game in 2023. Ismael Munguia started the home run parade with a solo blast to lead off the game and Logan Wyatt crushed a solo homer in the top of the second. Will Wilson hammered a grand slam later in the second inning to give Richmond a 6-0 lead. Aldrete launched a two-run homer in the third inning and hit another two-run homer in the top of the fourth inning. Sean Roby pushed the Richmond lead to 14-0 in the fifth inning on a two-run homer. Aldrete’s third home run of the night was a solo homer in the top of the sixth inning. He became the second player in Flying Squirrels franchise history with a three-homer game, tying Thomas Neal’s performance on June 26, 2010.

2. Squirrels produce five-run ninth inning in thrilling comeback win over Harrisburg

Trailing by four runs entering the bottom of the ninth inning, the Flying Squirrels stacked five runs, including a walk-off single by Victor Bericoto to defeat the Harrisburg Senators, 7-6, on August 17 at The Diamond. After battling through a two-hour rain delay and the score knotted, 2-2, the Senators stormed back with three runs in the top of the eighth inning. Harrisburg added one more run in the ninth to push ahead, 6-2. Will Wilson started the comeback in the bottom of the ninth with a two-RBI single. Wilson and Donovan Walton each scored on wild pitches, evening the score, 6-6. With two outs and runners at the corners, Bericoto punched a ground ball up the middle to bring home Andy Thomas and the Flying Squirrels secured the win. It was one of seven walk-off wins the team had in 2023.

1. Back-to-back: Flying Squirrels clinch playoff spot for second consecutive season

Backed by a stellar start by John Michael Bertrand and a pair of massive offensive innings, the Flying Squirrels captured the second-half Southwest Division title in a 7-3 win over the Erie SeaWolves on September 14 at UPMC Park. Bertrand worked six scoreless innings, holding the SeaWolves to four hits and two walks. Victor Bericoto launched a solo home run in the top of the sixth, followed by a wild pitch to score Logan Wyatt and an RBI single by Will Wilson. Shane Matheny drew a bases-loaded walk in the top of the eighth and Brady Whalen crushed a bases-clearing double to give Richmond a 7-0 advantage. The Flying Squirrels held off a late Erie comeback and snagged the second-half title. Manager Dennis Pelfrey has made two postseason appearances in both years at the helm and now ranks second in franchise history with 140 victories.