Squirrels’ bullpen shines in season opener, downs Yard Goats

The Flying Squirrels recorded their 10th consecutive opening night sellout at The Diamond. Photo by Erin Edgerton

Noah Fleischman, Sports Editor

The Richmond Flying Squirrels knocked off the Hartford Yard Goats 1-0 on opening night at The Diamond behind a sellout crowd and a strong bullpen performance.

Thursday night marked the 10th sellout in a row — filling the 9,845-seat arena — for the Flying Squirrels, as well as their 10th anniversary on Arthur Ashe Boulevard.

Starting right-handed pitcher Logan Webb found himself in some trouble in the first inning with the bases loaded and two outs. The Giants No. 5 prospect induced a ground ball to escape the jam, allowing no runs.

The Squirrels struck first in the bottom of the fifth inning when outfielder Dylan Davis scored on a ground out by second baseman Jalen Miller. Davis was on third after outfielder Johneshwy Fargas hit a bunt down the third base line and was safe at first.

Webb’s night was over after five innings, allowing two hits and walking five Yard Goats. He also struck out four batters.

“[Webb] didn’t have his best stuff tonight,” Richmond manager Willie Harris said. “I think he was trying to be a little bit too perfect without his stuff. The kid is 21 years old, 22 years old and he’s out there trying to figure things out. Once the game got going a little bit, he found it and he pitched really well.”

Left-handed pitcher Fernando Abad entered the game to relieve Webb and threw two inning. He allowed one hit and struck out four.

Richmond had another opportunity to add to its lead in the seventh inning with runners on the corners and two outs, but first baseman Brock Stassi struck out and ended the inning.

Right-handed pitcher Melvin Adon pitched one inning in relief for the Squirrels, allowing one hit while walking one. The Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, native clocked 100 miles an hour on the radar gun in his appearance.

“The bullpen is probably going to be the strength of our ballclub right now early in the season until those guys move on,” Harris said. “Those guys pitched well in tough spots and it’s good to see that early, that they’re in those situations and just preparing them for later on in the season. They did a great job.”

The Yard Goats had a runner on third with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning, but right-handed reliever Sam Wolff struck out Hartford center fielder Manny Melendez to end the game.

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