The SeaWolves opened the season with their third straight victory, taking down the Reading Fightin Phils 7-4 on Saturday night at a frigid First Energy Stadium. The win gives the SeaWolves their best start since 2009 and their first series win in Reading since 2012.
Erie wasted no time jumping ahead in the top of the first inning against Reading starter JoJo Romero. With two outs and Jake Rogers on first base, Dominic Ficociello connected on a double, plating Rogers for a 1-0 lead. Gabriel Quintana followed with a single, his first of three hits on the night. Kenny Wilson doubled off the wall in right, scoring both Ficociello and Quintana, giving the SeaWolves a 3-0 advantage.
Reading got one back in the last of the first against SeaWolves starter Spencer Turnbull. Malquin Canelo led off with a double and advanced to third on a groundout. Canelo scored on a Jiandido Tromp groundout, making it a 3-1 game.
Turnbull would settle down after the first and hold reading off the scoreboard the next 3.2 innings. He took the no-decision allowing a run on four hits with a walk and seven strikeouts in 4.2 innings of work. Erie’s starting pitching staff has allowed just one run over the first three games and have combined to strike out 23 batters.
The SeaWolves added to the lead in the fourth. A.J. Simcox led off and reached on an error. Sergio Alcantara tripled home Simcox for a 4-1 lead With one out, Will Maddox was hit by a pitch, putting runners on the corners for Rogers. Rogers laid down a squeeze bunt, scoring Alcantara for a 5-1 lead. Maddox would later score on a wild pitch, giving Erie a 6-1 advantage.
The Fightins would get a pair back in the sixth against reliever Josh Turley. Damek Tomscha led off and was hit by a pitch. Tromp followed with a walk and both advanced on a passed ball. Zach Green singled home both baserunners, cutting it to a 6-3 game.
Erie came right back and went ahead 7-3 in the top of the seventh. Wilson led off with a single and was sacrificed over to second on a Herlis Rodriguez bunt. Wilson moved to third on a Simcox base hit and scored on an Alcantara sacrifice fly.
Reading again cut into the lead in the eighth against reliever Adam Ravenelle. The Fightins loaded the bases on a Tromp walk and singles from Cornelius Randoph and Green. Revenelle induced a double play off the bat of Jan Hernandez, scoring Tromp, and got out of the inning on a Deivi Grullon groundout, limiting Reading to one run.
In the bottom of the ninth, Cord Sandberg led off with a double and Emmanuel Marrero walked with one out. Erie then summoned Mark Ecker who induced a game-ending double play off the bat of Tomscha, earning his first save of the season.
Turley (1-0) earned the win allowing two runs on two hits with a walk and two strikeouts in 2.1 innings. The win ties Turley for most all-time in SeaWolves history with 24.
Romero (0-1) took the loss for Reading allowing six runs, five earned, on seven hits with two walk and two strikeouts in four innings.
Erie looks for the series sweep on Sunday afternoon at 2:15 p.m. at First Energy Stadium. Righty Kyle Funkhouser (0-0, 0.00 ERA) makes his Double-A debut against RHP Jacob Waguespack (0-0, 0.00 ERA).