Clippers outlasted by Louisville Bats in 6-5 thriller
The Clippers kept it close, but could not manage to pull off their second victory of the season.
LOUISVILLE, KY – Chris Nelson has become a problem for the Columbus Clippers (1-6). For the second time in as many days, Nelson provided the winning hit, this time in walk-off fashion as the Louisville Bats (4-2) defeated the Clippers 6-5 in their home opener at Louisville Slugger Field on Thursday night.
Nelson spent spring training with the Cincinnati Reds and was among the final cuts as a non-roster player, recently signing another minor league deal. He joined Louisville in Columbus on Tuesday – a welcomed addition for the Bats, and a thorn in the side of the Clippers.
Ruben Gotay, who has also been a Clipper-killer this season – recording two home runs and three RBI on Tuesday – led off the ninth with a double, and scored the winning run on Nelson’s single in the ninth. Nelson, who drove in all four runs in Wednesday afternoon’s 4-1 victory over the Clippers on a seventh-inning grand slam, continued creating problems for the Clippers by driving in three more runs on Thursday, including the winning run.
The Clippers have now lost two games off of their opponent’s last at-bat; the first occurred on opening night against Indianapolis. Relief pitcher Nick Hagadone was the pitcher of record that night, as well.
Hagadone (0-2, 9.82 ERA) took another tough loss lasting only one third of an inning. Bats’ Jumbo Diaz (1-0, 0.00 ERA) pitched the ninth, recording a walk, strikeout and the win.
Things looked dire after a three-run seventh for the Bats against Clippers reliever Austin Adams. Adams gave up a pair of run-scoring singles by Felix Perez and Mike Costanzo sandwiched around a groundout by Nelson that produced another run.
It was particularly painful for the Clippers, who had their own opportunity to score in the top half of the inning. With just one out, the Clippers had runners on the corners, but David Cooper struck out and Jesus Aguilar grounded out to end the threat.
The Clippers came back in the top of the eighth. Tim Fedroff drove in Carlos Moncrief with a ground ball single to left. Jose Ramirez grounded out to first to drive in Matt Carson for the second run. The Clippers benefited from an error on a missed catch by Costanzo that produced the tying run.
Both teams came out the gate fast. Louisville opened the scoring in the first on a run-scoring single to center off the bat of Nelson.
The Clippers answered in the second. After a one-out walk by Tim Fedroff, Roberto Perez drove him after a double to left. Perez advanced to third on the throw home. The next batter, Jose Ramirez, drove Perez home on a single to center to give the Clippers a 2-1 lead.
The lead was short-lived though. In the bottom of the second, Mike Wilson hit his first home run of the year over the left field wall.
Both starters got it together after that though, neither giving up a run after that point. Clippers’ starter Josh Tomlin completed six inning allowing five hits, two earned runs, four walks and three strikeouts. Bats’ starter Josh Smith lasted five innings before giving way to the bullpen.
Columbus plans to trout out Tyler Cloyd (0-1, 14.73) on Friday, which will be his second start of the season. In the second game of their three game series in Louisville, Cloyd will look to rebound from an ineffective first start, where he gave up six earned runs to Indianapolis. The Bats will counter with Tim Crabbe (0-0, 1.50).
Michael Rich is a senior majoring in Communications at The Ohio State University.