Duffy's Four-RBI Game Drowns SeaWolves
By Ryan Lazo, sports editor
May 11, 2014, 17:46
RICHMOND — There were numerous occasions for the Erie SeaWolves to break the contest open during the second game of Sunday's double header at The Diamond. However, Richmond Flying Squirrels' starting pitcher Jack Snodgrass stood tall against every threat.
With three consecutive hits by Erie to begin the 2nd inning, Snodgrass retired the next three hitters in a row to limit the damage to just one run pushed across. The 6-foot-6 left-hander would continue the trend, helping keep his team in the game long enough for Kelby Tomlinson to drive in a go-ahead run in the bottom of the 4th inning with a sinking liner into right field.
Richmond's 4th inning rally would continue as Matt Duffy would clear the bases with a three-RBI double just one inning after blasting a solo home run to push the Flying Squirrels lead 6-2. Erie would push across one additional run, but Derek Law recorded the final three outs to pick up his 10th save in a 6-3 victory to complete the sweep of the double header.
However, the win would not have been possible without the pitching of Snodgrass, something that has become common-place in his one-plus year in Richmond. The Austin Peay State University product owns the best career winning percentage in a Flying Squirrels' uniform, standing at a robust .778 after earning his third win of the season as he continues to build on last season's Eastern League All-Star nomination.
After the game, Richmond manager Russ Mormon praised the left-hander for another professional performance on the hill.
"You have to be able to locate pitches and not get into too many counts where you get yourself into a jam and he does a pretty good job of that," Mormon said after Snodgrass's 5-inning, nine-hit, three-run outing. "He gets a lot of groundballs and makes them put the ball in play.
And the way the 26-year-old left-hander goes about his business on the mound is impressive. Snodgrass never touches 90 mph and instead maintains a velocity which maxes out at 88 mph with late, tailing movement, yet he regulary keeps opponents off-balance.
Snodgrass rarely throws the same pitch at the same speed during any at-bat, mixing in a curveball which he varies with different breaks and speeds varying anywhere from the mid 70s to low 80s. It's that craftiness which allowed him to limit damage in both the 2nd and 3rd innings in which six batters reaches base, but only two runs scored.
The Bowling Green, KY native said it's a mentality a pitcher has to have on the mound when he doesn't possess the high-octane velocity readings which leave scouts drooling, but his main goal is to win games.
"It's something that I take a lot of pride in," Snodgrass said of his ability to win games. "I don't throw 95 and I wasn't drafted high. If I can go out there and win games, that's why we're here."
However, the true story of the game was the continued hot-streak of the team's shortstop.
Over the previous five games entering today's double header, Duffy compiled a robust .571 average, going 12-for-21 during the span, and continued it during the two games against Erie. Duffy went 1-for-2 during game one, but his real impact came in game two.
The 23-year-old out of Long Beach State University tied the game in the 3rd inning with his first home run of the season, depositing a hanging breaking-ball over the left field fence. Then, he cleared the bases one inning later with a three-RBI double, breaking the game open and giving the Flying Squirrels a four-run lead while bringing his RBI total to four on the game.
"I feel confident, but I don't know about in the zone," Duffy explained of his recent hot-streak. "I feel comfortable at the plate and that's the best way to put it, I think."
Added Mormon, "You just see the confidence in him continue to grow at the plate and also in the field defensively."
With the two wins, Richmond is now 11-5 at home on the season and winners of three of their last four games to right the ship after recent struggles. And with the offense waking up to combine with a pitching staff which continues to deal, the Flying Squirrels could gain some ground on Western Division leader Akron in the coming weeks.