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Clippers walk off in ninth, defeat RailRiders 4-3

Offense picks up Guilmet after blown save for win

Clippers walk off in ninth, defeat RailRiders 4-3
Chris Wallace (Photo: Lianna Holub)
May 19, 2013
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COLUMBUS- It was a perfect ending to a perfect 77 degree night at Huntington Park Saturday.

With the game tied at three in the bottom of the ninth inning, Columbus Clippers catcher Chris Wallace delivered a clutch two-out single to right field for a 4-3 walk off victory over the Scranton/WB RailRiders.

Right fielder Matt Carson walked to begin the inning and then quickly swiped second to put himself into scoring position. Left fielder Cedric Hunter then laid a sacrifice bunt down the first base line to advance Carson to third.

The contest looked as though it would be heading into extras after shortstop Juan Diaz struck out swinging and Wallace fell behind in the count 1-2.

But with one swing of the bat, Wallace became a hero and did so in front of the Clippers’ first sellout crowd of the season.

Manager Chris Tremie said he was excited to see his team battle back for the win after closer Preston Guilmet blew a 3-1 lead in the top of the ninth.

“It was a great at-bat by Carson to walk and get on then Hunter getting him over from second after a stolen base,” Tremie said. “What can you say about Wallace’s at-bat? Two strikes, fastball away with high velocity and he took it the other way and went with it. Great at-bat.”

Columbus southpaw T.J. House cranked out a stellar performance for the home team but came up with a no decision due to the blown lead.

The lefty allowed just four hits and one unearned run in his 6.1 innings of work with five strikeouts and four walks.

House pitched himself into several jams throughout the game but was able to maintain his composure.

“He was good tonight,” Tremie said. “The couple of times he got into trouble he did a real good job of getting the ball down, making pitches, getting ground balls and he got some double plays. It was a very strong outing.”

Scranton/WB struck first with a run in the top of the fourth to go up 1-0.

After cruising through the first three innings, House walked two straight batters and then surrendered a single to right to load the bases.

RailRiders center fielder Melky Mesa grounded a ball to third but a throwing error to home by Lonnie Chisenhall, his second miscue of the game, allowed the RailRiders to take the lead.

Chisenhall more than redeemed himself with two-run blast in the bottom half of the inning to give the Clippers a 2-1 advantage.

With one out, first baseman Matt LaPorta smacked a double that bounced all the way to the wall in left field. Scranton/WB right-hander Kelvin Perez hung a breaking ball in the first pitch of the at-bat and Chisenhall made him pay.

The third baseman absolutely annihilated the ball, sending it sailing over the balcony in right field and into the parking lot parallel to the stadium.

House ran into some more trouble in the fifth and sixth innings but held the lead thanks to some timely double plays.

In the top of the fifth, second baseman Corban Joseph lined a two-bagger down the left field line. Designated hitter Brennan Boesch then reached on a fielding error by LaPorta that bounced off his glove and put runners on first and third. Fortunately for House, left fielder Ronnier Mustelier grounded a ball to second baseman Cord Phelps for the 4-6-3 inning-ending double play.

In the following frame, third baseman Josh Bell cracked a double to left center that landed just out of the reach of center fielder Tim Fedroff. Former Clipper Thomas Neal  walked before Mesa grounded into the second 4-6-3 double play in as many innings.

Columbus tacked on another run in the bottom of the sixth to increase their lead to 3-1.

After Chisenhall was hit in right shin, Carson laid down a sacrifice bunt to advance the runner to second. A wild pitch by right-hander Chase Whitley allowed Chisenhall to move to third and Hunter followed with a sacrifice fly to center field for the RBI.

Left-hander Nick Hagadone pitched 1.2 scoreless innings of relief following House’s departure before handing the ball off to Guilmet in the ninth.

Looking for his 14th save of the season, Guilmet gave up a single to catcher Bobby Wilson to lead off the inning but fanned shortstop Addison Maruszak for the first out. In the next at-bat, Joseph launched a two-run shot to left to tie the ballgame.

The rest was history.

Despite blowing the save, Guilmet earned the win for the Clippers to improve his record to 2-2. RailRiders right-hander Jim Miller suffered the loss and falls to 0-4 on the year.

The Clippers move to 25-18 on the season while Scranton/WB drops to 21-20.

Columbus right-hander Trevor Bauer (1-0, 2.55 ERA) will be on the hill for game two of the series and will face RailRiders righty Caleb Cotham (0-1, 7.55 ERA). The first pitched is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. Sunday.

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