The Harrisburg Senators dropped their home opener 5-1 to the Richmond Flying Squirrels on Tuesday night at FNB Field. Check out some highlights that feature defensive web gems, the first AA hit from Will Frizzell, and a couple of hard hit extra-base knocks.
• It’s tough to score many runs or even prolong any sustained rallies when you struggle to put the ball into play. And boy, did the Senators struggle to do that Tuesday. They struck out a team record 21 times against five separate Flying Squirrels’ pitchers.
The most damaging had to be after Trey Harris led off the bottom of the third inning with a stand-up triple scorched at 106 mph into the gap in the still scoreless contest. Jackson Cluff went from being up 3-0 in the count to going down looking for the first out. J.T. Arruda followed and watched strike three as well. Leonel Valera finished the trifecta with a foul tip into Richmond catcher Patrick Bailey’s glove.
• On the flip side, Harrisburg pitchers walked 10 batters giving Richmond baserunners without the lack of a hit in seven of the nine innings. Ironically, one of those innings without a free pass was the fateful fourth when the Flying Squirrels pushed across all five runs on a home run, three doubles, a single, and an error.
• Although the minor leagues have had the pitch clock since 2015, the implementation this season at the Major League level has had a curious effect on the way umpires are policing the rules even at Double-A. You could see it first hand on Tuesday as Flying Squirrel batters were called out in strikes for not being ready with eight seconds to go two separate times with little leeway including the first out of the game.
• The ceremonial first pitch of the season was delivered by Governor Josh Shapiro. Or I should say, the ceremonial first pitches. The governor’s first attempt was wide and low, scooting by Harrisburg manager Delino DeShields to the backstop. So in the grand tradition of a wiffle ball stuck in a tree, we got a do-over which Shapiro lofted perfectly to the skipper behind the plate. The governor also joined Terry Byrom on the radio for an inning taking over some of the play-by-play duties in the process.