Tides Score Big In 1st, Top Clippers 8-2
What a difference a week has made for the Columbus Clippers. After posting a 6-1 record last week—which included part of a season-high six-game winning streak—Columbus has taken to the losing side this week. The Clippers lost their fourth-straight game Thursday night in Norfolk, falling to the Tides in game one of a four-game set in southern Virginia.
The Clippers fell in a big hole early and never recovered on their way to a 8-2 loss. Norfolk scored five runs in the first inning, which led to a short, four-inning outing by Columbus left-hander Eric Berger. Matt LaPorta and Matt Pagnozzi drove in the Clippers only runs of the game in the fourth and sixth inning, respectively.
Last week, Columbus jumped all over opposing teams’ pitchers, scoring 77 runs in eight games. Thursday, it was the Tides who jumped on the Clippers’ starter. After striking out the first batter he faced, Berger let the next two Norfolk batters reach before giving up a three-run homer to Joe Mahoney. Three batters later, Brandon Waring hit a two-run bomb, putting Norfolk up, 5-0, after one frame.
Berger settled down a bit, pitching three scoreless innings before allowing the first two Norfolk batters he faced in the fifth to reach base. The left-hander was taken out, but the Columbus bullpen didn’t do much better. Right-hander Bryan Price couldn’t clean up Berger’s mess in the fifth and gave up three runs in the inning—only one earned.
For Berger (2-4), it was just his second start over the past month and a half, and it showed. The left-hander now has a 6.35 ERA as a starter after giving up seven earned runs, compared to a 1.57 ERA as a relief pitcher.
At the plate, Columbus struggled to get anything going against Jake Arrieta. The Norfolk right-hander allowed two runs in 5.2 innings of work. Columbus’ two runs came on a LaPorta single in the fourth and a Pagnozzi sacrifice in the sixth.
Only three Clippers recorded hits—Tim Fedroff, Cord Phelps and LaPorta. Seven of the nine Columbus batters in the lineup had at least one strikeout.
Columbus and Norfolk will play game two of their series Friday at 7:15 p.m.