Squirrels collect 15 hits in win

From Mirror reports

RICHMOND, Va. — The Curve pitching staff has been superb all season, but it had a disastrous evening Tuesday in a blowout loss to Richmond.

The Flying Squirrels pounded 15 hits and took advantage of nine walks — three with the bases loaded — to rout Altoona, 14-6, at The Diamond. The Curve trailed just 5-4 entering the bottom of the seventh, then Richmond erupted for six runs in that inning and three more in the eighth.

The major control issues did in the Curve, who had the fewest walks in the Eastern League entering the night. Their team ERA was 2.77, but after giving up 13 earned runs, that number jumped all the way to 3.15.

The Curve had a golden chance to tie the game in the seventh inning but came up empty, then saw things get out of hand. Kevin Newman tripled home Pablo Reyes, who went 4-for-5, to pull within 5-4, and Altoona had its best hitters, Kevin Kramer and Edwin Espinal, due up with no outs and the tying run at third.

Kramer and Espinal both struck out, though, as did Chase Simpson to end the inning.

The Flying Squirrels used the momentum of escaping that jam and blew the game open in their next at-bat, scoring six runs off reliever Jared Lakind in the seventh. Lakind allowed six hits and two walks, including one with the bases loaded to relief pitcher D.J. Snelten.

Richmond scored its final three runs in the eighth off Curve infielder Chris Diaz, who was called on to pitch and gave up a three-run homer to Slade Heathcott.

Tanner Anderson (2-2) started and took the loss for Altoona, allowing four runs in 32/3 innings. Reliever Buddy Borden walked four and allowed one unearned run in one inning of work.

Andrew Suarez (2-3) picked up the win for Richmond despite giving up four runs on 10 hits in six innings.

Game recap

Key player: CF Slade Heathcott went 3-for-5 with a homer, five RBIs and two runs for Richmond.

Key play: The Curve couldn’t get the tying run in from third with no outs in the seventh, then Richmond erupted for six runs in its half of the inning.

Key stat: The Curve walked a season-high nine and gave up 13 earned runs.

How they scored

Bottom 1st: Crawford singled, scored on Gomez single (0-1).

Top 3rd: Reyes singled, Newman singled, both scored on Kramer double (2-1).

Bottom 4th: Shaw walked, scored on Cole groundout (2-2); Gomez singled, scored on Bednar double (2-3); Hinojosa bases-loaded walk scored Bednar (2-4).

Top 5th: Reyes singled, scored on Espinal sacrifice fly (3-4).

Bottom 5th: Cole walked, scored on Suarez bases-loaded walk (3-5).

Top 7th: Reyes singled, scored on Newman triple (4-5).

Bottom 7th: Gomez doubled, scored on Snelten bases-loaded walk (4-6); Bednar singled, Arnold walked, both scored on Heathcott double (4-8); Hinojosa single scored Snelten and Heathcott (4-10); Shaw sacrifice fly scored Hinojosa (4-11).

Top 8th: Williams singled, scored on Reyes double (5-11); Mathisen reached on Gomez error, pinch-runner Luplow scored on Castillo error (6-11).

Bottom 8th: Bednar singled, Horan singled, both scored on Heathcott three-run homer (6-14).

Next stop

Today: Altoona at Richmond, 12:05 p.m.

Pitchers: Curve LHP Brandon Waddell (0-1, 5.14) vs. Flying Squirrels RHP Sam Coonrod (1-2, 3.24)

Record: 17-12

Covering the bases

LEADING OFF: CF Pablo Reyes had a big night Tuesday, going 4-for-5 with three runs and one RBI. SS Kevin Newman, 2B Kevin Kramer and C Jackson Williams added two hits apiece. Kramer reached base for the 26th consecutive game.

SAFE AT FIRST: Williams rejoined the Curve from Triple-A Indianapolis on Tuesday. That move came as a result of C Elias Diaz going back down from the Pirates to Indy.

STEALING SECOND: With Jackson back, C Zane Chavez was placed on the roster of short-season West Virginia.

ROUNDING THIRD: 3B Wyatt Mathisen came out of the game with an undisclosed injury to his left leg in the eighth inning.

HEADING HOME: The Curve wrap up their road trip with an afternoon game today at Richmond. They begin a week-long homestand Thursday night.

— Cory Giger