Columbus Clippers demolish Louisville Bats, 9-6
LOUISVILLE, Ky. –– Down a run in the ninth, the Columbus Clippers (72-61) put up five runs in the ninth to turn back the Louisville Bats (64-69) 9-6 at Louisville Slugger Field on Thursday night.
In a back-and-forth battle, the Clippers loaded the bases with one out in the ninth down 5-4 off of reliever Fabio Castillo (2-1, 2.50). Justin Freeman replaced Castillo and got Francisco Lindor to hit a sacrifice fly to deep center, tying the game. It was the 20th blown save by the Louisville pitching staff.
The next batter, James Ramsey, gave the Clippers the lead with a double to centerfield that scored Justin Sellers and Dusty Brown. Jesus Aguilar followed Ramsey by crushing one over the wall in center to put Clippers on top 9-5.
Ramsey gave Columbus the initial lead with a sacrifice fly in the third inning that scored Brown, who led off the inning with a double.
The Clippers were helped out by some shoddy defense with two outs in the fifth inning against Bats starter Mikey O’Brien. James Ramsey reached on a missed catch error by the centerfielder. He scored when the shortstop couldn’t handle a sharp grounder by Jesus Aguilar and the Clippers had a 2-1 lead. Carlos Moncrief really made them pay by launching his 12th homer of the year to straight away right field for a 4-1 lead.
With a 4-2 lead, Zach McAllister couldn’t get out of the seventh inning. After getting the first two outs, Jake Elmorelined a double down the right field line to start the rally. Tucker Barnhart’s run-scoring single chased McAllister, who gave way to Mark Lowe (4-2, 5.68). Ray Navarro greeted Lowe by lining one over the wall in right to put Louisville up 5-4. Lowe pitched a scoreless eighth to get the win.
With the game in hand, Josh Outman replaced Lowe for the ninth. He hit Felix Perez, who took second on defensive indifference. Pinch-hitting for Bryan Anderson, Steve Selsky lined a single to center to score Perez.
Outman was lifted for Bryan Price with nobody out and the tying run on-deck, which made it a save situation. After striking out Jake Elmore, Tucker Barnhart sneaked one past the second baseman to bring the tying run to the plate with one out.
But Price stopped the rally, by coaxing a groundout to short by Ray Navarro and fly ball to right by Jason Bourgeois to end it, earning his second save of the year.
The two teams will meet for the final time this season on Friday night at 7:05 PM.
The win gave the Clippers the season series against Louisville with one still to be played. The Clippers have 11 wins against the Bats this season.
DH Luke Carlin snapped his eight game hitting streak with a 0-for-3. Prior to the streak, he was batting .197 with three homers and 14 RBI. He is now batting .232 with five home runs and has driven in 22 runs.
Giovanny Urshela became the third Clipper to reach 100 hits with a pinch-hit single in the ninth inning. He joins Carlos Moncrief (123) and Jesus Aguilar (114).
Toledo defeated Indianapolis 6-1 on Thursday night at Victory Field. With their third win in a row, the Mud Hens are now in a tie with the Indians, six games back of the Clippers. Louisville falls to eight games back. The elimination number is down to six for the Clippers to clinch the division.
For Friday’s game, the Clippers will turn to RHP Toru Murata (2-3, 5.91). In his last start, Murata was tagged for nine runs over 4.2 innings on Sunday at Toledo. He gave up ten hits and a pair of walks while striking out two and allowing two home runs.
Against Louisville this season, Murata has appeared four times (three starts). He has a 2.75 ERA in 19.2 total innings. Last time out against the Bats, he went seven shutout innings, giving up a pair of hits and two walks with two strikeouts in an 8-1 victory on July 24. He had a no-hitter until Tucker Barnhart led off the sixth with a groundball single to left field to open the sixth.
Scheduled to pitch for Louisville is RHP Dylan Axelrod. He last appeared on Sunday for the Cincinnati Reds where he held the Colorado Rockies to two runs over seven innings. He gave up seven hits and a walk and struck out two, getting a no decision.
Axelrod has made four starts against the Clippers this season, two with Louisville and two with the Charlotte Knights. He is 0-2 with a 3.08 ERA in 26.1 innings against Columbus this season with his last start on July 31. In that start, he pitched seven innings and gave up two runs on five hits and a walk, striking out ten batters. Louisville scored four runs in the ninth inning of a 6-2 win over the Clippers, so Axelrod did not factor in the decision.
Michael Rich is a senior majoring in Communications at The Ohio State University.