Arias makes turnaround as Columbus Clippers top Gwinnett, 5-1
LAWRENCEVILLE, Ga. – You hear it all the time: get the lead early and then add on to it.
The Columbus Clippers (27-31) did just that in their 5-1 victory against the Gwinnett Braves (30-27) at Cooley Field Tuesday night. The runs supported a terrific comeback effort by Clippers starterGabriel Arias.
It was night and day, the comparison between last Thursday night’s start against Charlotte and Tuesday night’s start against the Braves for Arias (1-2, 3.93 ERA). He was a perfect eight up, eight down before back-to-back singles by Christian Bethancourt and Mark Hamilton.
He got some help from his defense in the outfield. Tyler Holt made a diving catch on a fly ball and a catch on another ball in a dead sprint that looked to be out of his reach. Later, Tim Fedroff left his feet on a dive to take extra bases away from Christian Bethancourt who lined one to the right of Fedroff in left that looked destined to fall.
The Braves did not do any damage to Arias until the eighth inning when Edward Salcedo led off the inning with a single. He stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by the catcher. After walking Derrick Mitchell, Ozzie Martinez grounded back to Arias, who tried to get a double play, which allowed Salcedo to score. Martinez made it to first safely and Arias’ night was done.
C.C. Lee took over with one out and the eighth and Martinez at first and promptly gave up a looping single into left, but struck out Tyler Pastornicky and coaxed a fly ball to right by Bethancourt to end the inning.
All told, Gabriel Arias pitched 7.1 innings and allowed one run (earned) on six hits and a walk with five strike outs.
The Clippers gave Gabriel Arias early run support. Two runs scored on Giovanny Urshela’s softly hit grounder to third after a throwing error. Urshela got credit for an RBI. Tim Fedroff knocked in a third run on a liner to right.
Columbus added on in the sixth. Consecutive one out singles by Adam Abraham and Justin Sellers set up a Tyler Holt run producing hit with two outs. Abraham, who scored on the Holt hit, was making his season debut and started at first base.
Holt produced another run in the seventh after a single by Abraham and a walk by Sellers, a groundball single to left scored Abraham.
Four runs seems to be the magic number for the Clippers, who are now 22-9 in games in which they score more than four in a game. Their record when they score less than four is 5-22.
Zach Stewart (3-3, 4.07 ERA) started for the Braves and took the loss. He pitched six innings and gave up four runs (three earned) on 11 hits and two walks with two strikeouts. He has taken the loss in both of his starts against the Clippers this season.
Kyle Crockett pitched a scoreless ninth with a strikeout.
The Clippers and Gwinnett continue their four game series on Wednesday at 6:35 PM in Lawrenceville. RHP Danny Salazar (0-3, 7.11) will make his fourth start of the year since his demotion from Cleveland. He has yet to make it through six. In his last start against Louisville, he lasted 4.2 innings, giving up three runs on 11 hits and two walks with five strikeouts in a loss against Louisville.
He has one start against Gwinnett in his career, last June 9. He gave up five runs (three earned) on seven hits and a walk with four strikeouts over 1.2 innings and left without factoring in the decision.
Gwinnett is set to counter with RHP Cody Martin (3-4, 3.36), who will be making his 11th start of the season and 12th overall appearance with the Braves.
Michael Rich is a senior majoring in Communications at The Ohio State University.