NEW BRITAIN, CT - New Britain's Oswaldo Arcia showed his flair for the dramatic once again, this time delivering a walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the tenth to lead the Rock Cats to a 4-3 comeback over Richmond.
Richmond's Justin Fitzgerald turned in a stellar start -firing eight shutout innings - but a three-run home run by Deibinson Romero erased the effort and sent the game into extra innings.
"What a game," said Rock Cats manager Jeff Smith. "That was one of the more exciting games as a player or as a coach."
New Britain's B.J. Hermsen cruised through the first four innings before he ran into trouble in the fifth. Johnny Monell led off the fifth with a double and Luke Anders' single moved Monell to third. Ehire Adrianza followed with a base hit that struck Hermsen in the upper leg and resulted in the bases loaded with no outs. Hermsen rebounded to strike out Joel Weeks before Wendell Fairley dropped a single into right field that scored Monell for the 1-0 advantage. Hermsen forced Gary Brown to fly out to right fielder Joe Benson, who doubled off Fairley at first to end the inning.
Hermsen would not return to the mound and finished with one run on five hits in five innings.
The Flying Squirrels tacked on two insurance runs in the eighth against reliever Dakota Watts. Gary Brown led off the inning with a double and came around to score on a wild pitch with two outs. Monell added an RBI single.
Fitzgerald retired 14-straight batters at point to end his impressive start. He finished with
The Flying Squirrels turned to Brett Bochy in the bottom of the ninth with a 3-0 lead. After two quick outs, Chris Colabello and Joe Benson hit consecutive singles to keep the Rock Cats' chances alive. Romero then launched a home run over the left field wall to tie the game and force extra innings.
"Romero has done it all season and it did it again," said Smith.
Jose Gonzalez (2-1) fired two shutout innings for the Rock Cats in the ninth and tenth to keep the Flying Squirrels off the board.
In the final frame, Nate Hanson led off with a single and was replaced by pinch runner Estarlin De Los Santos. James Beresford dropped down a sacrifice bunt to move De Los Santos to second. Aaron Hicks followed with a single to put runners on the corners before Chris Herrmann drew a walk to load the bases. That brought Arcia to the plate and he lined a base hit past the second baseman to knock in De Los Santos for the game-winner.
Tom Vessella (3-3) suffered the loss.
"It was a good night," said Smith.
Playoff Picture: Trenton defeated Reading on Wednesday night, snapping a seven-game slide. The first-place Thunder maintain a four -game lead over New Britain, who regained sole ownership of second place in the Eastern Division.
ALLSTATE PLAYER OF THE GAME : 3B Deibinson Romero & DH Oswaldo Arcia both came through in the clutch. Romero hit a three-run homer in the bottom of the ninth to tie the game. Arcia (3-for-5) then delivered a walk-off RBI single in the 10th inning.