Richmond, VA — The Richmond Flying Squirrels rallied for six runs in the bottom of the eighth inning Thursday night, and roared past the Akron Aeros, 9-6, to complete a three-game series sweep at The Diamond.
The loss sent the Aeros (56-67) to their seventh straight loss, and completed a winless road trip. Akron endured back-to-back series sweeps at the hands of Trenton and Richmond on the six-game trip.
For the second straight night, Richmond (63-60) came off the mat in the eighth inning. Trailing the Aeros, 6-3, the Squirrels loaded the bases with one out against Trey Haley (1-3) on a dropped third strike, and back-to-back walks. Haley then issued his third consecutive walk, this one to catcher Jesus Navarro to force in a run and make it 6-4. Haley was then replaced with closer Jose Flores who immediately surrendered a two-run single to Skyler Stromsmoe to tie the game. Another walk loaded the bases before Joe Panik chopped a slow grounder over the mound to force in the go-ahead run. Javier Herrera then applied the dagger, stroking a two-run single to make it 9-6.
It was the second blown save of the road trip for Flores, and just his third in 15 chances this season. Haley allowed four runs on no hits, but walked three and threw two wild pitches.
Lefty Josh Osich (2-2) retired the Aeros in the ninth to end the game. Osich had allowed a double, walk and two wild pitches in the top of the eighth to allow the Aeros to extend their lead to 6-3.
The Aeros had built a 3-1 lead through three innings. Ronny Rodriguez had a sacrifice fly in the second, and Tyler Naquin and Carlos Moncrief each chipped in RBI singles in the third. For Naquin, it was his first Double-A hit, and his second RBI.
Righthander Cody Anderson made his first Double-A start for Akron, and threw the ball well. Anderson went five innings and allowed two runs on four hits. He left with a 4-2 lead.
Akron held leads in all three games against Richmond, and one of the three losses in Trenton. Richmond has now won five straight games, and has pulled to within 1 1/2 games of the second-place/wild card spot in the EL West.
The Aeros will try to regroup at home as they return to Canal Park on Friday night at 7:05, to face the Reading Fightin' Phils in the opener of a three-game series. LHP Bobby Bramhall (0-3, 4.21) will go for the Phils, while RHP Josh Tomlin (0-0, 0.00) will make a major league rehab start for Akron.