BY MICHAEL HAMMOND | Minor League Knocks
July 18, 2017 | Erie Seawolves 4, Richmond Flying Squirrels 3 | Eastern League (AA)
ERIE, Pa. – The Erie Seawolves squeaked by the Richmond Flying Squirrels 4-3 with a walk-off double on Tuesday at UPMC Park in Erie, Pennsylvania.
The first inning started off with a bang for both teams as C.J. Hinojosa and Kody Eaves each hit a solo homer with one out for Richmond and Erie, respectively.
Erie scored their second run of the night in the fifth after a single and three walks allowed by Flying Squirrels’ relief pitcher, Vic Black. Black was only in the game after starter Jordan Johnson left in the third after a ball deflected off of his leg for a single.
In the top of the sixth, Richmond took their second lead of the game with a two-out rally to go up 3-2. Myles Schroder walked and Jerry Sands singled with two outs to set up a two-run triple from K.C. Hobson.
That was it for scoring for the Flying Squirrels as they struck out for seven of their last nine outs while managing just two singles. This included a stretch of six-straight strikeouts from the seventh through the ninth.
No. 4 Detroit Tigers prospect, Tyler Alexander, provided the first two strikeouts of the streak before being relieved. Alexander struck out Rando Moreno looking and Slade Heathcott swinging in the seventh to cap a seven inning, three run, six hit, one walk, and nine strikeout performance. The nine Alexander strikeouts marked a new career high for the Tigers prospect.
Dominic Ficociello led off the eighth and walked for Erie. No. 2 Tigers prospect, Christin Steward, followed it with a single to advance Ficociello to third. Zach Cox then grounded into a six-four-three double play allowing Ficociello to tie the game at three.
In the ninth, Harold Castro drove in Wade Hinkle from first with a one-out double that one-hopped into the Seawolves’ bullpen for a walk-off finish.
Richmond manager Kyle Haines immediately argued with the umpires for a ground-rule double as Erie celebrated the victory on the field. The ball bouncing into the bullpen may have been enough of an obstacle for Hinkle to score from first base, so Haines’ argument was valid.
The umpires didn’t budge and Erie took the 4-3 win to set up a rubber match today.
Richmond Flying Squirrels (39-53) 100 002 000 – 3 7 0
Erie Seawolves (48-45) 100 010 011 – 4 7 1
7/17 Richmond 4, Erie 0
7/18 Erie 4, Richmond 3
7/19 Richmond at Erie
Richmond Flying Squirrels (SF)
#16 C.J. Hinojosa 1/4, HR, R, RBI, K
Erie Seawolves (DET)
#2 Christin Stewart 1/4, K
#9 Steven Moya 0/4, 2 K
#20 Grayson Greiner 1/2, R, 2 BB, K
#4 Tyler Alexander 7 IP, 6 H, 3 R, BB, 9 K
UPMC Park is a downtown ballpark connected to the town’s popular Erie Insurance Arena, which serves as the leftfield wall. The ballpark features one tier of seats and a set of picnic tables down the third base line. Down first, there are two tiers of seating ending with a large picnic area topped by their beer garden.
It was Cowboy Monkey Rodeo night at the park, which was wildly popular with the locals. After the third, sixth, and ninth innings, two monkeys rode dogs as they tried to herd down a small group of goats running on the field. As for weekly specials, on Tuesday the first 250 kids under 12-years-old ate for free and $2 beers were sold in the beer garden.
Richmond Flying Squirrels at Erie Seawolves on July 19.