RVA – The Flying Squirrels (1-0) opened up the 2017 season with a commanding 11-1 victory over the Hartford Yard Goats (0-1) on Thursday night in front of capacity crowd of 9,560 at The Diamond. Squirrels starting pitcher Dan Slania dealt six solid innings in the win and first baseman Chris Shaw homered to send the Squirrels to victory.
The Squirrels found success early against Hartford 21-year old right-hander Ryan Castellani. Richmond newcomer Slade Heathcott was hit by a pitch to start the first inning and then promptly stole second base. After a ground out advanced Heathcott to third base, Miguel Gomez lined an RBI single to right field. Chris Shaw then stepped to the plate and cranked a two-run homer over the right-center field wall for a 3-0 advantage.
Richmond quickly added to the lead with a six-run bottom of the third. Heathcott again ignited the offense with a base hit to right field. After a Brandon Bednar single, Miguel Gomez collected his second RBI hit for a 4-0 lead. The rally rolled all the way down the lineup until T.J. Bennett delivered a two-run triple into the gap in right-center field. Richmond plated six runs in the frame to grab a 9-0 lead.
Pitching with a comfortable lead, Squirrels starter Dan Slania (1-0) dominated the Yard Goats through six innings of work. Slania scattered five hits and worked only once with multiple runners on base. The righty punched out eight batters to earn the win.
Hartford scored their lone run in the sixth, Slania’s final inning. Ashley Graeter, Ryan McMahon and Drew Weeks gathered a string of base hits to produce the only Yard Goats tally.
Richmond racked up another pair of runs in the seventh when Bednar singled and Hunter Cole launched an RBI triple into the right-center field gap. Ryan Lollis lofted an opposite-field single to bring home Cole and cap the scoring, 11-1.
Squirrels lefty Christian Jones replaced Slania in the seventh and was flawless in his two innings of relief. Jordan Johnson took over in the ninth and struck out a pair in his Double-A debut to seal the win.