Clippers rally falls just short as Bats prevail, 5-4
Columbus rallied after an early 4-0 deficit, but could not pull off the win on Friday.
COLUMBUS, OH – The reinforcements arrived on Friday night at Huntington Park, but it was not enough as the Columbus Clippers (59-55) lost the series finale 5-4 to the Louisville Bats (56-58) in front of 10,600 in attendance. With the loss, the Clippers finished off a 2-5 home stand.
Columbus found themselves in a pretty big hole early on after Gabriel Arias gave up a pair of two-out two-run homers in the second inning to Bryan Anderson and Hernan Irabarren. Both homers came on the first pitch of the at-bat.
“He left a couple of pitches up that got hit out of the park and that hurt him tonight,” Clippers manager Chris Tremie said.
For Arias, getting ahead of hitters is important, but those two particular pitches were up in the hitting zone.
“But, his effectiveness is getting ahead (in the count), throwing first pitch strikes, getting ahead, staying ahead in the count,” Tremie said. “That’s his game. He’s a quality strike thrower. He left a couple of pitches up and it happens.”
But the Clippers were able to storm back in the fourth off of Louisville starter Brett Marshall with a game-tying three-run homer off the roof in right by Elliot Johnson. Johnson did not start the game, but entered in the previous half inning for Matt Carson.
“I was ready to go before it happened,” Johnson said. “It wasn’t a surprise to me or anything like that. You always want to go out there and contribute. Just because you were told that weren’t playing, you’re going to give your at-bats away or something. You still want to try to help the team. Unfortunately, it wasn’t enough for us tonight.”
J.C. Ramirez (1-3, 3.38) entered the game in the eighth inning and gave up a leadoff single to Jason Bourgeois. He stole second in the next at-bat and then after Ruben Gotay struck out, he stole third during the following at-bat. Felix Perez bounced a ball to newcomer Zach Walters at second, but Bourgeois made it down the line quickly and slide in for what ended up being the deciding run.
In the ninth, the Clippers got the tying run into scoring position, but Fabio Castillo got Jesus Aguilar grounded out to second to end the game. It was Castillo’s first save at the Triple-A level and his first save overall since 2010.
Justin Freeman (3-1, 5.60) relieved Marshall in the sixth inning and got the win for Louisville.
“When you get down 4-0 early in the game, you got a lot of at-bats left,” Tremie said. “So, that’s the positive way to look at it. We were able to get the three-run homer by Johnson that put us back into a tie. Unfortunately, we couldn’t mount much after that.”
Columbus had the services of a couple of newcomers. Zach Walters and James Ramsey. Walters made two nice defensive plays in the first inning to introduce himself to the home crowd. He also collected three hits, including a double. He’s a switch-hitter and collected a hit from both sides of the plate in his debut.
“I try to play it like a duck; keep cool,” Walters said. “But underneath, my feet are kicking. Luckily, I was able to make a few plays (and) get a few hits.”
Chris Tremie was happy to have Walters in the lineup.
“(Walters) looked good,” Tremie said. “He got hits from the left and right side (on Friday night). He pulled two of the left-handed into right field and a line drive into left field right-handed. So, he had productive at-bats, he looked good. I mean that’s what we played against when he was in Syracuse. It was very similar to what we saw a lot; he had some good at-bats. Amazing play in the field too. He had a good game.”
Matt Carson left the game in the top of the fourth with a lower back injury, according to Chris Tremie after the game. He said that he would be re-evaluated in the morning.
The Clippers head out for the final long road trip of the season, going through Pawtucket first and then Scranton/Wilkes-Barre after a day off. They play four games in Pawtucket starting Saturday night at 6:05 PM at McCoy Stadium. Scheduled to start for the Clippers is right-hander Kyle Davies (6-7, 4.28).
Davies last pitched on Monday night. He gave up four runs on seven hits and a walk, while striking out three over four innings against Norfolk. He did not factor in the decision in a 6-5 loss to the Tides.
In other roster moves, Tyler Holt was called up to Cleveland before the game. Zach McAllister was designated for assignment and will report to Columbus during the upcoming road trip. Also, Frank Herrmann was placed on the disabled list with a left calf strain. He joins Ryan Rohlinger, who was disabled on Tuesday.
Michael Rich is a senior majoring in Communications at The Ohio State University.