Clippers fall to IronPigs on the road, 4-3
Columbus managed just five hits in Friday's loss one-run loss.
ALLENTOWN, PA – A two-out rally in the fifth inning was all the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (38-37) needed to hand the visiting Columbus Clippers (38-36) their third consecutive loss, 4-3, in front of 10,100 fans at Coca-Cola Park.
Danny Salazar (1-4, 6.35) never gave up the big inning. But he gave up a run in each of the first three innings. Maikel Franco drove in the first run on a sacrifice fly in the first. A double steal by Andres Blanco and Nate Spears provided the second run in the second inning, which gave them the lead.
In the third inning, Steve Sousdorf gave Lehigh Valley the lead with a solo home run to right-center for his second of the year. They regained the lead once again, and this time for good, with two outs in the fifth inning on Cam Perkins bouncer up the middle that scored Sousdorf. Sousdorf had stolen second earlier in the bat and had such a big jump on the pitcher, that the catcher did not attempt a throw.
The Clippers were able to trade runs with Lehigh Valley for a while. They started the scoring in the first when Jesus Aguilar singled to center to drive in Tyler Holt. After Lehigh Valley grabbed the lead, the Clippers came back with a run in the third on another run producing single by Tim Fedroff that scored Ryan Rohlinger. Rohlinger drove in the Clippers third run of the game with a fourth inning single that scored Roberto Perez.
Columbus got a runner aboard in each inning after the fifth, but never got more than a runner on base and did not have enough offense to support the less-than-stellar performance of their starting pitcher.
Greg Smith (5-5, 4.32) started for Lehigh Valley and held the Clippers to three runs over six innings on five hits and three walks and four strikeouts. Luis Garcia walked a batter with two outs in the ninth, but finished off the Clippers for his 12th save of the year.
The good news for the Clippers is that Indianapolis, Louisville and Toledo all lost on Friday night, so the standing remain the same with the Clippers five games behind Indianapolis and a half-game ahead of Louisville.
Lehigh Valley, known for some outrageous uniforms, were sporting all black on Friday night in honor of Batman Night.
The Clippers continue their four-game series in Allentown against Lehigh Valley on Saturday night at 6:35 PM. Right-hander Zach McAllister (1-0, 1.80) will make his first start with Columbus as a member of the regular roster after two previous starts on rehab assignment for the Indians.
His last start was on short rest against Scranton/Wilkes-Barre, so he was limited with his pitch count. He went four shutout innings and left with the lead when the bullpen took over. He gave up five hits and a walk with two strikeouts.
Opposing the Clippers will be righty Barry Enright (3-6, 4.77), who came up with the Diamondbacks organization before being traded to the Angels. So, this will be his first career start against the Clippers.
Michael Rich is a senior majoring in Communications at The Ohio State University.