Clippers find their stroke, win 9-1
COLUMBUS – For the Columbus Clippers, their four-game series against the Buffalo Bisons has been one of offensive ups and downs. After exploding for 21 runs on Tuesday, the next two games proved to be far more challenging at the plate.
The offense came back around on Friday, as the Clippers (28-33) defeated the Bisons (35-27) by a final score of 9-1, thanks to three solo home runs, solid situational hitting, and a strong pitching performance by Columbus left-hander Chris Seddon.
Seddon (7-3, 3.59 ERA) threw 7.2 quality innings and allowed one run on six hits. He walked just one, struck out seven, and went on to get the win.
Things were looking up for the Clippers offense right away, as center fielder Ezequiel Carrera hit a leadoff homerun to right center field in the first inning. It wasn’t gone by much, as it bounced on top of the wall just in front of the scoreboard, but it was enough.
Thanks to Seddon’s strong pitching and a consistent performance from his defense, Buffalo once again had their fair share of struggles with runners on base. After getting two on with one out in the third, Bisons right fielder Val Pascucci struck out swinging and Clippers catcher Luke Carlin was able to throw out a stealing Corey Wimberly at third to end the inning and the threat. Unfortunately for the Bisons, they wouldn’t get many more opportunities.
The Clippers would add a run in the third, as right fielder Jared Goedert lifted a two-out double into deep left to get into scoring position. Left fielder Tim Fedroff, in his second game as a Clipper this year, would drive Goedert in with an RBI single to right field to give Columbus a 2-0 lead.
Once the fifth inning came, the Columbus offense really started to roll. After a leadoff single, a walk and a bunt, designated hitter Chad Huffman sent a sacrifice fly to right that would pad the lead to 3-0.
Clippers manager Mike Sarbaugh said that from the beginning of the game, he could tell this was a more assured team on the offensive side of the ball.
“From the start I thought our at-bats were really good,” Sarbaugh said. “We showed good patience. We saw a lot of pitches early in the game and we were able to get in their bullpen early.”
The Bisons pulled starting pitcher Matt Harvey (5-2, 3.88 ERA) after four innings and 91 pitches of work. He gave up three earned runs on seven hits and two walks in the loss.
It was against Bisons right-handed reliever Jeff Stevens that the Clippers blew the game wide open. They added four combined runs in the sixth and seventh to make the lead 7-0, thanks in large part to a couple of solo home runs by Goedert and second baseman Cord Phelps, their seventh and sixth of the year respectively. The seventh inning rally would also see a sacrifice fly by first baseman Beau Mills, and an RBI single to left by third baseman Andy LaRoche.
The Bisons didn’t solve Seddon until the eighth inning, as designated hitter Corey Wimberly brought a run in with a double down the first base line. However, Columbus would get the run right back and then add another in the bottom of the inning thanks to RBI singles by Fedroff and Mills that would make it 9-1.
Above all, Sarbaugh credited the win to contributions on both sides of the ball from many different players.
“We did the little things,” Sarbaugh said. “We ran the bases well. When we can get the one (hitter) through the nine (hitter) to contribute, that’s a good night.”
Columbus right-hander Matt Langwell would finish off the game on the mound, pitching 1.1 no-hit innings and striking out two in the process.
The Clippers will continue their home stand on Saturday, as they begin a four-game series against the Charlotte Knights at 7:05 p.m. The Knights currently sit atop the International League South with a 37-26 record.