READING, PA - Ricky Oropesa homered for the fourth time this season and drove in four runs during a 7-5 win over Reading on Tuesday night. Oropesa connected on a three-run homer to right in the fifth to put the Squirrels ahead. Austin Slater also homered for the second consecutive night to back a solid effort from Squirrels starting pitcher Kyle Crick. Crick (1-0) earned the win in his season debut with five innings worked. Crick gave way to the bullpen in the sixth and closer Ray Black picked up his first save of the season with a run allowed in the ninth. Richmond (2-4) and Reading (3-3) will play the final game of the three game series on Wednesday at FirstEnergy Stadium. RHP Tyler Beede will get the start for the Squirrels.
Richmond staked a 1-0 lead off Reading starter Alec Asher in the first inning. With two outs, Austin Slater doubled into the gap in right centerfield. Ricky Oropesa followed with an RBI single up the middle to plate Slater for the early advantage. Reading returned fired in the bottom of the frame with a solo home run off the bat of right fielder Dylan Cozens.
The Fightin Phils pulled ahead with a run in the third off of Crick. A two-out single landed in the outfield from J.P. Crawford and Cozens brought him in with a double into the alley in left centerfield for a 2-1 lead. Asher then managed to move his way through the lineup in the next few innings but hit a snag in the fifth. Ali Castillo connected on a base hit to start the frame and scored from second when Christian Arroyo singled into center to tie the contest, 2-2. Austin Slater then walked and that opened the door for Ricky Oropesa as he drilled a towering home run over the right field wall, giving the Squirrels a 5-2 edge. Asher (0-2) was saddled with the loss. Asher allowed five runs onseven hits over six innings of work.
Kyle Crick was sharp in his season-debut, walking only one and allowing four runs on five hits over five innings of work in cold conditions. Crick walked two and struck out a pair in the outing. Tyler Rogers entered for Crick in the sixth and recorded five outs to pitch into the seventh but was removed after walking aboard the tying run in Jake Fox. Tyler Mizenko then entered with two runners on and walked the first batter to load the bases. Mizenko induce a ground ball to short to end the inning and keep a 6-4 lead intact.
The Squirrels added a run in the seventh and another in the eighth against the Reading bullpen. Slater knocked a home run to right field in the seventh and Ali Castillo delivered a run-scoring base hit in the eighth for a 7-4 advantage. Ray Black entered in the ninth for the Squirrels and allowed a run on two hits but also struck out the side to earn the save.
The Squirrels and Phils will conclude the series on Wednesday at 6:35 PM. RHP Tyler Beede will start for Richmond against Reading RHP Ben Lively. The Flying Squirrels 2016 home schedule begins April 14th at 6:35 PM against the Altoona Curve with Hall of Fame Running Back Jerome Bettis throwing out the first pitch. Season tickets, mini plans, and group packages are currently available by contacting the box office at 804-359-FUNN or online at www.squirrelsbaseball.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.