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Columbus Clippers give up 4 in 9th in loss to Louisville, 6-2

Columbus Clippers give up 4 in 9th in loss to Louisville, 6-2
Photo credit: Brittany Chay/flickr
July 31, 2014
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COLUMBUS, Ohio –– When the final out was made on Wednesday evening, the Huntington Park crowd had perhaps never been louder. But when the same event happened on Thursday night, they were much less subdued.

The Columbus Clippers (59-53) couldn’t replicate any of the magic from Tyler Cloyd’s no-hitter 24 hours before as they gave up four runs in the ninth inning to lose 6-2 against the Louisville Bats (54-58). 

But before the late-game collapse, the Clippers started the evening in a positive manner.

Giovanny Urshela began the Columbus second with a ground-rule double into centerfield, before he made his way to third on a Carlos Moncrief groundout. Elliot Johnsonfollowed him by forcing an 11-pitch walk, giving Audy Ciriaco the chance to open the scoring. 

The designated hitter could only muster a grounder to third, but his hustle down the line beat out the double play attempt, allowing Urshela to give Columbus a 1-0 lead.

Josh Tomlin made his first start in Triple-A since May 1st, striking out two batters in the second as he kept the Bats scoreless. 

He retired the first two batters in the third as well, but ran into trouble when Jason Bourgeois came to the plate for a second time. Tomlin walked Bourgeois on four pitches to begin the game, but this time he had the hitter in a 1-2 hole.

That didn’t matter to Bourgeois: he smacked the next pitch into left for his third homer on the season. The game had only been tied a few minutes when Ruben Gotay followed Bourgeois with another solo shot, and all of a sudden the Bats were up 2-1.

Things remained that way until the fifth, and Ciriaco was involved once again as Columbus tied things up.

After Elliot Johnson struck out to start the inning, Ciriaco belted a double to left. An out later Luke Carlin came to the dish, and he got all of Dylan Axelrod’s 1-2 pitch, doubling home Ciriaco to make it 2-2.

Vinnie Pestano replaced Tomlin after just five innings, but Columbus manager Chris Tremie said that was the plan all along, and that he was still pleased with the way Tomlin threw.

“He threw the ball well, it was typical Josh. He went out there, located the ball, kept it down, went in and out,” Tremie said. “He left a couple of pitches up that got out of the park but overall: five innings and a strong outing.”

Pestano tossed one perfect frame before Tyler Sturdevant took over. He didn’t let the opposing batters string together any sort of rally, and neither did his rival Axelrod. The Louisville hurler wound up striking out ten in his seven innings. 

The game went into the bottom of the eighth inning still tied, but the Clippers had a glimmer of a chance to take a crucial late advantage. Pedro Villarreal took the ball from Axelrod, and he promptly gave up a one-out single toTyler Holt. He eventually made it to second, but a flyout from Lindor and a strikeout by Aguilar meant the chance fizzled away.

Mark Lowe became the third Columbus reliever of the evening when he went out to pitch the ninth, but he fared much worse than the two men who went before him. 

Bourgeois singled to lead off the inning, and an out later Felix Perez did the same. With Naftali Soto at the plate a wild pitch got past Carlin, and the Clippers elected to walk Soto and load the bases. 

That’s when Lowe’s control failed him. He walked Thomas Neal on just five pitches, and the Bats had their first lead of the night. But they were far from done.

Rey Navarro singled to make it 4-2, before Tucker Barnhart lined a double into right and score two more.

It was a rough outing for Lowe, but Tremie was still upbeat about how the reliever has pitched this season. 

“Tonight just wasn’t his night, (let’s) leave it at that,” Tremie said. “He’s done a really good job for us all year and it’s just one of those nights for him.”

Villarreal had no problems in the ninth, retiring the side in order as the Bats avenged their 13-0 defeat from the night before with a 6-2 win.

Tremie said after the game that both of the Indians’ trade deadline acquisitions – James Ramsey and Zach Walters– were likely to be involved on Friday night as the Clippers and Bats wrap up their three game series. First pitch is set for 7:15 p.m., with Gabriel Arias taking the hill for Columbus.

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