LEHIGH VALLEY – The Columbus Clippers (54-49) won a shootout on Monday against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (55-48) by a final score of 14-9.
This victory completed a sweep of the four-game weekend series, and it is the fifth Columbus win in a row. The Clippers have also won seven of their last eight.
Columbus jumped ahead for an early 4-0 lead in the second inning. Second baseman Cord Phelps was the first to knock in a run with an RBI single to center, and he wouldn’t have to wait long to score himself as third baseman Jared Goedert shot an RBI double to left. This was all followed by a two-run homer by catcher Matt Pagnozzi.
The Clippers continued to extend their lead, but the IronPigs were always sure to stay in the picture. Both teams scored twice in the third inning. For the Clippers, both designated hitter Russ Canzler and Pagnozzi came through RBI singles that made it 6-0. For Lehigh Valley, the scoring came courtesy of an RBI single by second baseman Kevin Frandsen and a crucial throwing error by Columbus’ Goedert. After three innings it was 6-2.
Neither starting pitcher put together a hall of fame start, but the Clippers’ Jeanmar Gomez (3-2, 3.15 ERA) was able to hang around long enough to get the win. He went 5.1 innings but gave up eight runs - six of them earned – on nine hits and a walk. On the other hand, Lehigh Valley starter Pat Misch (7-12, 4.98 ERA) was pulled after three innings. In that time he gave up six runs on nine hits.
Things were scary for the Clippers in the sixth inning. A couple more two-run frames had put them up 10-2, but the IronPigs were able to put together a six-run rally that brought them right back into the game. An error by Clippers shortstop Gregorio Petit brought in the first Lehigh Valley run, and that was followed by an RBI single by catcher Tuffy Gosewisch. The next batter – shortstop Andres Blanco – did the real damage as he shot a grand slam to right that made it 10-8. After building a seemingly insurmountable lead, the Clippers could feel the IronPigs breathing down their necks.
Fortunately for Columbus, this did not phase their offense. They came right back out and scored two runs in both the seventh and eighth innings to put the game away once more. Pagnozzi hit his second two-run homer of the game in the seventh, and right fielder Vinny Rottino hit a two-run double in the eighth that extended the Columbus lead to 14-8. Outside of an RBI single by IronPigs third baseman Pete Orr in the bottom half of the eighth, this deficit was too large for Lehigh Valley to overcome.
The Clippers will return to Columbus on Tuesday to begin a nine-game home stand with a series against the Toledo Mud Hens. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m.