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Clippers go to extra innings, lose 2-1 to Indians in opener

The Clippers could not muster enough offense as they fell in extra innings in their season opener 2-1 to the Indianapolis Indians in a pitching duel.

Clippers go to extra innings, lose 2-1 to Indians in opener
Photo credit: Home Plate Club
April 4, 2014
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COLUMBUS, OH – A lot of things contributed to a disappointing opening day for the Columbus Clippers.

The weather and the Blue Jackets playing a home game across the street played a role in the light attendance figure, but the biggest contribution came from the Indianapolis Indians who defeated the Clippers 2-1 in 10 innings Friday at Huntington Park. 

Brent Morel drove in the game winning run in the top of the tenth on a base hit into the right center field gap that scored Matt HagueCarlos Moncrief cut the ball off and threw Morel out to prevent any further damage. Hague led the inning off with a pop up to short center field. The wind played havoc with the ball as it carried away from Clippers second baseman Jose Ramirez and fell between him and Moncrief.

“The wind caused a little bit of trouble, he (Ramirez) was unable to come up with that play,” second-year manager Chris Tremie said. “Tough play, one that I’m sure he’ll make a hundred times this year, but it happened.  He gave it everything he could to get out there and it was just a tough play.” 

It was a harmless pop up that got caught in the wind and ended up being the difference in the game.

“I don’t think our center fielder in that case thought it was going to carry out that far but it did,” Tremie added. “The wind just played a factor and he was unable to get to it, but the effort was there.”

Pitching was the order of the night. Trevor Bauer started for the Clippers and went six innings and struck out the last four batters he faced, totaling nine for the game. He gave up one run on two hits and walked two more.

“He threw the ball good,” Tremie said about his starter. “He did exactly what he needed to do. He executed his game plan. He was able to execute pitches.”

After a shaky start to the third inning, Bauer was masterful. He struck out Jeff Decker to open the game, but found trouble. Robert Andino singled to center and Gregory Polanco walked. He got out of the jam by getting Chris McGuinness to pop out to third in foul territory and coaxed a ground out to second by Matt Hague. 

Bauer was not so fortunate in the third. Indians catcher Carlos Paulino led off the inning with a single to right. After walking Decker all it took for the Indians to grab the lead was a pair of groundouts by Andino and Polanco.  Andino was injured after Ryan Rohlinger’s throw pulled Clippers first baseman Jesus Aguilar off the bag.  Andino was replaced by Adalberto Santos after the play.

The Clippers were held in check by Indians starter Casey Sadler. Like Bauer, Sadler pitched six innings of one run baseball. He gave up four hits and walked one while striking out three. He retired the first seven Clippers until Matt Carson’s one out third inning single finally put the Clippers into the hit column. 

Things started off promising for the Clippers in the fourth when Justin Sellers was hit by a pitch, but he was immediately erased by a Bryan LaHair ground-ball double play to second. 

The Clippers finally broke through in the fifth when they loaded the bases with one out. David Cooper started the rally with a single to center, followed by a Matt Carson walk and another single by Roberto Perez. Jose Ramirez drove in the Clippers only run on a sacrifice fly to right that scored Cooper. 

Indians relief pitchers Zach Thornton, Daniel Schlereth and Jared Hughes combined to go four innings allowed three hits, struck out four and walked one.  Jared Hughes picked up the win after he pitched two perfect innings to end the game and tallied three strikeouts. 

The Clippers bullpen was almost as good. Austin Adams pitched a perfect seventh, C.C. Lee followed with a perfect eighth where he struck out two. Nick Hagodone was handed the loss giving up one run on two hits. The in between play that ended up deciding the game was ruled a hit.  Unfortunately for Hagadone, it put a loss on his record and did a little damage to his ERA.

The Clippers and the Indians are scheduled to continue their four-game series Saturday with a double header starting at 3:05 p.m. in Huntington Park. Josh Tomlin (2-0, 2.40 ERA last year with the Clippers) will pitch for the Clippers in game one against Brandon Cumpton (6-7, 3.32 ERA with Indianapolis last year).  The second game is set to begin 30 minutes after game one and the pitching matchup is scheduled to be Brett Brach (1-1, 2.19 ERA in two starts for Columbus last season) for the Clippers while Indianapolis has yet to announce a starter.

Michael Rich is a senior majoring in Communications at The Ohio State University.

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