Clippers beat Knights in thriller, 13-9
After losing nine of eleven at the end of May, Columbus has now won five of six.
CHARLOTTE, NC – A consistent offensive effort gave the Columbus Clippers (31-32) a 13-9 victory on the road against the Charlotte Knights (21-43).
In his first game back from his latest stint in Cleveland, Clippers first baseman Jesus Aguilar got his team on the board with a two-run homer in the top of the first.
Carlos Moncrief led off the second with a single, and he scored when Justin Sellers followed with a double to left field. Tim Fedroff and Luke Carlin were both walked to load the bases, and Jose Ramirez made the most of the opportunity by driving home Sellers with a single.
After that, Knights starting pitcher Tommy Hanson continued to struggle. With the bases still loaded and nobody out, the righty issued another walk, this time to Tyler Holt, giving Columbus a 5-0 lead.
Aguilar drove in another run when his groundball to Carlos Sanchez forced the shortstop to get the force out at second and allow Carlin to score. A pop out by Elliot Johnson and a Giovanny Urshela strikeout left two runners stranded, but the Clippers still found themselves up by six runs.
Gabriel Arias made his fourth start for Columbus, and he allowed his first run in the third when Jared Mitchell hit a solo shot to left center. Micah Johnson followed with a triple before a Sanchez sacrifice fly made it 6-2.
Aguilar started another big inning for Columbus when he singled to lead off the fifth. Later, with two outs and Aguilar and Johnson on base, Sellers knocked his second RBI double of the afternoon to score Aguilar.
Then Mitchell Boggs replaced Hanson, but the visitors had no problem hitting against him either. Boggs walked Fedroff to load the bases, and Carlin made the Knights pay once again as he singled to score both Johnson and Sellers and give his team a 9-2 lead.
But Charlotte wouldn’t go away completely. One hit batter, two doubles and two singles led off the bottom of the fifth, making the score 9-6. Vinnie Pestano replaced Arias with runners on first and third, but he walked Blake Tekotte to give the Knights a chance to cut the lead with the bases loaded. The reliever recovered to strike out Miguel Gonzalez and Jared Mitchell and get out of the jam.
The Clippers managed to extend their lead again the next inning. Moncrief hit a two-out double with Holt and Urshela on first and second, scoring both of them to make it an 11-6 ballgame.
Columbus got two more in the ninth through a bases-loaded double from Ramirez, and they were denied a few more insurance runs when Adam Abraham grounded into an inning-ending double play with the bases loaded.
Down seven runs, the Knights did all they could in their last half inning. Jordan Danks hit a three-run homer to right with nobody out, but Columbus pitchers Frank Hermann and Austin Adams retired the next three batters to give the visitors the win 13-9 win.
The victory clinched at least a split of the series for the Clippers, with the two teams going at it once again on Monday and Tuesday. After losing nine of eleven toward the end of May, Columbus has now won five of six, and will aim to continue that run on Monday with Travis Cloyd taking the hill. First pitch is set for 7:05 PM.