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Flying Squirrels announce field staff as team remains hopeful for 2021 season

José Alguacil will return as the Richmond Flying Squirrels’ manager for the 2021 season, the San Francisco Giants announced on Monday. Alguacil will be joined by pitching coach Steve Kline, hitting coach Doug Clark and fundamentals coach Gary Davenport.

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José Alguacil will return as the Richmond Flying Squirrels’ manager for the 2021 season, the San Francisco Giants announced on Monday. Alguacil will be joined by pitching coach Steve Kline, hitting coach Doug Clark and fundamentals coach Gary Davenport.

Alguacil had been named as the Flying Squirrels’ manager last year prior to the cancelation of the 2020 season. He previously managed in Richmond during the 2015 season and led the team to a 72-68 record, the third-best mark in the franchise’s history and its most recent season with a winning record.

The 2021 field staff includes:

  • Manager: José Alguacil
  • Pitching Coach: Steve Kline
  • Hitting Coach: Doug Clark
  • Fundamentals Coach: Gary Davenport
  • Athletic Trainer: Garrett Havig
  • Strength and Conditioning Coach: Joe Palazzolo

The 2021 season will be Alguacil’s 15th overall with the Giants organization. He served as the first base coach and oversaw bunting instruction while assisting with infield defense and baserunning in San Francisco from 2017-2019 on Bruce Bochy’s major league staff.

As a player, Alguacil signed with the Giants as an infielder in 1993. He played nine professional seasons in the minors and independent leagues, spending time with the Giants and Chicago White Sox organizations.

Following his playing career, Alguacil served as an instructor in the minors for the Montreal Expos from 2002-2003. He began his managerial career in 2004 with the Vermont Expos, Montreal’s short-season Single-A affiliate in the New York-Penn League. He remained with the organization as it transitioned to becoming the Washington Nationals in 2005 as a minor league infield coordinator. Alguacil managed the Vermont Lake Monsters in 2006.

Alguacil, a native of Caracas, Venezuela, joined the Giants as a roving infield instructor in 2007 and held that role for eight years prior to being appointed as Richmond’s manager in 2015. He managed the Triple-A Sacramento River Cats in 2016 before being named to the major league staff the following year.

In four total seasons as a manager, Alguacil has compiled a 198-233 record.

Kline will return for his fourth season as Richmond’s pitching coach, having served in the same role from 2015-2017.

Under Kline’s direction, the Richmond pitching staff led the Eastern League in ERA (3.12) in 2015, which still stands as a franchise record, and the team ranked second in ERA (3.48) in the circuit in 2016. Fifteen of the pitchers Kline led in his previous tenure with Richmond have gone on to pitch in the majors.

Kline spent the next two seasons as the pitching coach for Triple-A Sacramento from 2018-2019. Prior to his first stint in Richmond, he was the pitching coach for the Single-A Augusta GreenJackets for six years.

As a player, Kline was drafted by the Cleveland Indians in the eighth round in 1993 out of West Virginia University and went on to spend 11 years in the majors with the Indians (1997), Expos (1997-2000), Cardinals (2001-2004), Orioles (2005) and Giants (2006-2007), going 34-39 with a 3.51 ERA and 39 saves. The left-hander appeared in 796 MLB games and led the majors in appearances three consecutive seasons from 1999-2001. His 89 appearances in 2001 for St. Louis stood at the time as a record for the most games pitched in a season by a left-hander.

Clark joins the Flying Squirrels for his first season as the team’s hitting coach and his seventh year with the Giants organization. He spent the 2019 season as the hitting coach for the short-season Single-A Salem-Kaiser Volcanoes. Clark began his coaching career in the rookie-level Arizona League in 2015. He was the hitting coach for Single-A Augusta in 2016 and spent the next two seasons a hitting coach with the Giants in the Arizona League.

An outfielder during his playing career, Clark was drafted by the Giants in the seventh round in 1998 out of UMass Amherst. He played 17 total professional seasons, including stops in the majors with the Giants in 2005 and the Oakland Athletics in 2006. In 2004 with Norwich, Clark was selected as an Eastern League All-Star. He concluded his stateside career in 2007 with the Richmond Braves. From 2008-2015, he played for teams in Korea and Mexico.

Davenport joins the Richmond staff for his 18th year with the Giants organization. He was the Flying Squirrels’ fundamentals coach in 2018. Davenport joined the Giants organization as a roving instructor in 2004 before spending 2005 as San Jose’s hitting coach. From 2006-2007, he was the hitting coach for the Connecticut Defenders, which was the Giants’ Double-A outfit in the Eastern League at the time. He returned to San Jose for five seasons from 2008-2012 before managing the short-season Salem-Keizer Volcanoes from 2013-2014 followed by three years as a roving instructor from 2015-2017. He spent the 2019 campaign as the fundamentals coach for San Jose.

Drafted by the Giants in the 27th round in 1981 out of Santa Clara University, Davenport played parts of three professional seasons in the San Francisco organization. He has also worked instructing baseball overseas in South Africa and Italy.

Havig returns for his third overall season as the Flying Squirrels’ athletic trainer. He originally served in that role with Richmond in 2017 before spending 2018 as the Giants’ Assistant Coordinator of Minor League Medical, a position he still holds alongside his Richmond duties. He was the Flying Squirrels’ athletic trainer again in 2019. Now in his 12th season with the organization, Havig joined the Giants in 2010 as the athletic trainer for the rookie-level affiliate in the Arizona League. He joined Salem-Keizer the following season, spent the 2012-13 seasons with Augusta and the next three years with San Jose.

Palazzolo joins the Flying Squirrels’ staff after spending three seasons as the strength and conditioning coach for the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes from 2017-2019. Now in his fifth year with the Giants organization, Palazzolo previously served in strength and conditioning roles with the Arizona Diamondbacks and Miami Marlins organizations.

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Trevor Dickerson is the co-founder and editor of RVAhub.com, lover of all things Richmond, and a master of karate and friendship for everyone.

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Photos and Game Summary: VCU Women Lose Hard Fought Battle Against St. Joseph’s

A similar story the men on Friday. The women gave up a goal in the waning minutes of the game and ran out of time to tie it up.

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Official Game Summary

Score: Saint Joseph’s 1, (RV)/#25 VCU 0
Location: Richmond, Va. (Sports Backers Stadium)
Records: (RV)/#25 VCU 13-3-0 (9-1-0 Atlantic 10), Saint Joseph’s 5-11-2 (5-5-0 A-10)

The short story: Despite the Rams dominating possession, the Hawks scored in the 87th minute to grab a 1-0 win in the regular season finale.

QUICK FACTS

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • Gutzmer had the first scoring chance of the day in the seventh minute, taking her first touch around a defender, and firing a low-angle shot at the near post that forced a kick save.
  • In the 36th minute, Jerabek got a foot to a cross that then fell to Kershner, who slid to put a shot towards goal that was blocked.
  • Seconds before halftime, sophomore winger Ella Higgins ran onto a bouncing ball in the box and volleyed a shot over the bar.
  • VCU looked dangerous throughout the second half, racking up 15 corner kicks and 14 total shots in the period.
  • Young made a good save in the 60th minute, diving to her right to stop a breakaway attempt.
  • In the 69th minute, Kershner flicked a Jerabek cross with the outside of her foot inches over the bar.
  • The Rams had a strong double chance in the 75th, with Gutzmer laying a ball of for Kropinack, whose shot was saved, and junior midfielder Anna Bagley pushing the rebound just wide.
  • The Hawks scored the lone goal of the game on a corner kick, with Ashley Orendac flicking a header from Danielle Stuart’s first touch and Natalie Nevins’ service.

UP NEXT
VCU hosts a rematch against Saint Joseph’s in the Atlantic 10 quarterfinals on Saturday, Oct. 30 at 7 p.m. from Sports Backers Stadium.

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Photos and Game Summary: VCU Men Fall to Fordham

With just two minutes left in the game Fordham found the back of the net and the Rams couldn’t respond in the remaining minutes.

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Official VCU Game Summary

Score: Fordham 1, (RV) VCU 0
Location: Richmond, Va. (Sports Backers Stadium)
Records: (RV) VCU 9-5-1 (4-3-0 Atlantic 10), Fordham 6-8-1 (4-3-0 A-10)

The short story: Fordham scored against the run of play in the 89th minute to hand VCU a heartbreaking loss in an Atlantic 10 clash Saturday night.

QUICK FACTS

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • Fordham’s Matt Sloan had a look at goal in the 14th minute, but Sewell stepped in to cover the net and block the shot.
  • While there were few scoring chances either way in the first half, VCU jumped on the attack early in the second. In the 46th minute, Fitch played a long ball to the feet of sophomore winger Celio Pompeu, who laid the ball off to a charging Varela Fraga. The Spaniard played the ball back out wide to Pompeu, who gave the ball to freshman midfielder Philip Klomp on an overlapping run. Klomp played a first-time cross into the six-yard box, where Varela Fraga ran onto it and sent a shot rolling just wide of the post.
  • In the 57th minute, Klomp cut inside on his right foot past a defender and fired a rising shot barely over the crossbar.
  • Robinson laced a dangerous long-range effort in the 61st minute that rattled the crossbar.
  • Pompeu crossed the ball for Robinson in the 86th minute, whose header deflected off a Fordham defender and into the arms of goalkeeper Nick Buchholz.
  • Galen Flynn put Fordham on top with just under two minutes left in regulation, scoring on an assist from Paul Makaj.

QUOTING HEAD COACH DAVE GIFFARD
“The game is honest, and we paid tonight for things that are inside our team that need to get sorted out. In a team game, sometimes players need to do things that aren’t natural or comfortable for them because the team structure dictates that they do. Tonight we paid for some of those things that during the course of the year have improved, but are still there. We had plenty of chances and control of the game, but remained at 0-0, which then puts a microscope on the defending moments in transition or on set pieces that many college teams live for. Fordham scored in one of those transition moments, but with only a couple of minutes left, and we simply ran out of time to equalize.

It was a harsh but honest lesson for our group. In the college game, any team can beat you, and you have to do the things over and over again consistently that give you the better chance to win. We didn’t do enough of those things tonight to make sure that we won.”

GIFFARD ON THE SENIOR CLASS
“This is not only a special group of players, but more importantly, a special group of people. We’ve been through so much together as a group the last four and a half years, and these guys will be ones that we will miss around here for a long time. But, I know that each of them will be successful in life and I can’t wait to be a fan for their journey.”

UP NEXT
VCU plays its final non-conference match of the regular season on Wednesday, Oct. 27, traveling to Bloomington, Ind., to take on the national runners-up from the spring season, (RV)/#17 Indiana. The match will be broadcast on Big Ten Plus starting at 7 p.m.

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Photos and Game Summary: Rams Nab Late Winner Against Seahawks

For the third time this season the Rams won in overtime.

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Official VCU Game Summary

Score: (RV) VCU 2, (RV)/#22 UNCW 1 (OT)
Location: Richmond, Va. (Sports Backers Stadium)
Records: (RV) VCU 9-4-1, (RV)/#22 UNCW 8-5-1

The short story: Senior midfielder Oquin Robinson fired home a free kick goal in the 100th minute to give the Rams their second consecutive overtime win.

QUICK FACTS

  • This is VCU’s third win of the season against a team that was ranked in one of the three major polls. The Seahawks are currently #22 in the TopDrawerSoccer poll, while both the Rams and UNCW are receiving votes in the United Soccer Coaches poll.
  • It’s also the third overtime win of the season for the Rams.
  • Robinson’s goal was his third of the season and fourth of his career. It was also his first career game-winner.
  • Freshman midfielder William Hitchcock scored his third goal of the year to tie the game in the second half, with assists from Philip Klomp and Pablo Varela Fraga, who both picked up their first career assists in black and gold.
  • UNCW outshot VCU 13-7, but the Rams held a 7-3 advantage in shots on goal, aided by VCU defenders blocking several Seahawk shots.
  • There were 32 combined fouls in a tightly-contested, physical match.

HOW IT HAPPENED

  • Robinson had the first scoring chance of the night for VCU, delivering a shot to the bottom left corner that forced a save in the 13th minute.
  • In the 38th minute, Varela Fraga charged down the left wing and ripped a shot that UNCW goalkeeper Gabriel Perrotta could only parry away.
  • The Seahawks got on the board first shortly after halftime, as Nicolas Molina finished off a cross from Cannon Tootle.
  • The Rams had a dangerous opportunity in the 55th minute as senior Jared Greene started a move in the VCU half, playing a ball for Klomp. Klomp then played a through ball for freshman midfielder Damian Gallegos, who had his shot deflected before it was smothered by Perrotta.
  • VCU equalized in the 67th minute. Varela Fraga, whose hold-up play was effective all night for the Rams, received a ball with his back to goal and turned around a defender. He played a ball wide for Klomp, who hit a first-time pass with his left across the face of the goal for Hitchcock to bury in the back of the net at the back post.
  • Klomp played another great left-footed cross in the 97th minute, floating a ball for Greene, who volleyed a shot that forced a save at the near post.
  • Robinson gave VCU the win in the final minute of the first overtime period, taking a free kick just outside the box and blasting it over the wall and into the top right corner.

QUOTING HEAD COACH DAVE GIFFARD
“I was proud of the guys tonight for finding a way to grind out a result against a very good team. We were down some guys again, but as this group has done this year, different people stepped up and got the job done.”

UP NEXT
The Rams get back into conference play, hosting Fordham on Saturday, Oct. 23 at 7 p.m. from Sports Backers Stadium. Saturday will also be VCU’s Senior Night.

Every home match is streamed on ESPN+. For more information on VCU Men’s Soccer tickets, click here.

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