McFarland strong as Clippers win 6-2
LEHIGH VALLEY – The Columbus Clippers (51-49) continued with their winning ways on Friday night as they defeated the Lehigh Valley IronPigs (55-45) by a final score of 6-2. It is the Clippers’ fourth win in the last five games.
Columbus was able to take advantage of two IronPigs errors in the first inning to take a 2-0 lead. After center fielder Ezequiel Carrera singled up the middle to lead off the game, right fielder Vinny Rottino singled two batters later. What would normally be a routine base hit became eventful quickly after Lehigh Valley shortstop Andres Blanco committed a throwing error on the play and right fielder Michael Spidale committed a fielding error. As a result of the play, Carrera came into score, and Rottino followed him home on a sacrifice fly by first baseman Matt LaPorta.
Much of the credit for the Clipper victory goes to starting pitcher T.J. McFarland (4-3, 4.89 ERA), who pitched seven dominant innings en route to the win. He allowed eight hits and two walks, but just one run that came on an RBI ground out by IronPigs third baseman Pete Orr.
The Clippers offense sporadically tacked on runs throughout the night. A solo home run by shortstop Gregorio Petit made it 3-0 in the third, and in the fifth inning, a run would be walked in by IronPigs starter Tom Cochran (5-3, 4.26 ERA). This was followed by a Rottino sacrifice fly that made it 5-0.
That inning would be the last the Clippers saw of Cochran, who allowed five runs – four earned – on five hits and three walks while striking out three. He didn’t allow any huge Columbus innings, but he was unable to diffuse any of the threats he faced.
Rottino came through once more for the Clippers in the seventh inning with an RBI single that increased the Columbus lead to 6-1. With the exception of an RBI hit by IronPigs second baseman Kevin Frandsen in the ninth inning, this was all the offense fans in Lehigh Valley would see for the rest of the night.
The Columbus bullpen didn’t get a ton of work on the night, but reliever Eric Berger came in to finish the game off. He went two innings and allowed a run on two hits.
The Clippers still have three games to play against Lehigh Valley in their weekend road series. The Saturday evening game will commence at 6:35 p.m.