Jackson, Knights overpower Clippers, 5-4
CHARLOTTE – The Columbus Clippers were able to contain eight hitters on the Charlotte Knights roster on Thursday night. Unfortunately, it was the ninth that proved to be deadly.
The Knights (44-32) defeated the Clippers (35-40) in ten innings by a final score of 5-4. Four of Charlotte’s runs came courtesy of left fielder Conor Jackson, who launched three home runs out of the park. They were his fourth, fifth and sixth homers of the year.
Columbus struck for an early 3-0 lead in the first inning when Clippers second baseman Cord Phelps launched his eighth home run of the season to center field. Unfortunately, this would prove to be the vast majority of their offense for the night. Their only other run came courtesy of an RBI double by third baseman Jared Goedert in the third inning.
As far as the Knights were concerned, it was the Conor Jackson show. His first homer was a solo shot to left in the second inning that made it 3-1. His second was a two-run shot in the sixth that made it 4-3. The backbreaker came in the eighth, as Jackson tied the game at four with a blast to left field.
Charlotte wouldn’t need Jackson to win the game in extra innings. It was a frustrating tenth inning for Clippers right-hander Frank Herrmann, and his struggles would wind up losing the game. He started by giving up a leadoff double to Knights shortstop Osvaldo Martinez. The next two batters reached via a hit by pitch and a walk, respectively. The game concluded with a wild pitch by Herrmann, and Martinez was able to score. The Knights walked off with the victory.
Both teams got strong starting performances on the mound. Clippers pitcher Chris Seddon (7-4, 3.83 ERA) went six innings and allowed three runs on six hits, two of which were Jackson home runs. Despite early game struggles, Knights starter Matt Zaleski (2-2, 5.02 ERA) was also able to last six strong innings. He allowed four runs on eight hits. Both starters struck out four.
The difference in the game was the bullpen work. As Charlotte relievers Jhan Marinez and Deunte Heath never allowed the Clippers to extend their lead, the Columbus bullpen let the Knights chip away at the lead until it disappeared. Marinez was the real star on the mound for the Knights. He threw three innings and allowed no runs on three hits.
The Clippers will begin a 10-game home stand on Friday against the Lehigh Valley Ironpigs. First pitch is at 7:05 p.m.