Carson paces Columbus to 4-1 win over Louisville
COLUMBUS- Center fielder Matt Carson’s three RBI performance helped clinch a series sweep against the Louisville Bats with a 4-1 victory Friday at Huntington Park.
After knocking in infielders Nate Spears and Justin Toole with a groundball single to center field in the bottom of the third inning, Carson provided the Clippers with some extra breathing room in the eighth with a solo bomb into the left field bleachers.
Columbus starter Paolo Espino was promoted from Double-A Akron earlier in the day and gave a substantial effort in his first start with the Clippers since July 5.
Espino cruised through his outing, allowing just one run on five hits in 5.1 frames of work. Tallying just 86 pitches on the night, the right-hander impressed with his nine punch outs and just two walks to improve his Triple-A record to 2-4 with a 4.23 ERA.
The Clippers put the bats in an early hole by scratching out a pair of runs in the bottom of the third inning on Carson’s two-RBI base hit.
Louisville answered in the top of the fourth with a run. Catcher Nevin Ashley smacked a two-out double off of Espino to bring designated Felix Perez home.
The score would prove to be the Bats only run of the evening.
However, the road team had plenty of scoring opportunities throughout the remainder of the game but the Clippers bullpen held strong and worked their way out of several jams to come away without any further blemishes.
Back-to-back singles and a one-out walk forced Espino out of the contest and relief pitcher Matt Langwell was called upon to keep the inherited runners at bay and he did just that.
Langwell fanned Ashley and former Clipper Jason Donald on 10 pitches to get out of the inning unscathed.
Louisville threatened again the very next inning after placing runners at the corners. Langwell exited the game with two outs and he was replaced by southpaw Clay Rapada.
In the only hitter he faced, Rapada walked pinch-hitter Mike Hessman and reliever Vinnie Pestano quickly took over on the mound.
On three pitches, Pestano got first baseman Neftali Soto to ground into a force out at third. The pitcher went on to toss a scoreless eighth and Nick Hagadone closed out the game for his fourth save of the season.
Shortstop Juan Diaz punched an RBI single to center in the bottom of sixth before Carson launched the home run in the eighth to help seal Columbus’ 58 win of the year.
The loss was charged to Bats’ starter Greg Reynolds who drops to 11-3 with a 2.50 ERA.
The Clippers will pack their bags and head to Louisville to take on the Bats for a two-game series at Louisville Slugger Field over the weekend. Columbus will rely on eft-hander T.J. House (5-10, 4.71 ERA) to keep the momentum going as he squares off against right-hander Daniel Corcino (6-11, 5.76). The first pitch is set to been thrown at 6:05 p.m. Saturday.