Clippers fall to Bulls 3-1 in pitching duel
The Clippers only mustered five hits in Friday's loss to the Bulls.
COLUMBUS, OH – The way it’s going for the Columbus Clippers (22-24) right now – if it’s not one thing it’s another. Lately, on night’s they can’t pitch, they hit. On Friday night, they could muster only a single run on a ground out in the first inning by Jason Kipnis. The Durham Bulls (28-21) took the second game of this series, and their fourth in a row over the Clippers by a score of 3-1 in front of 9,506 in attendance at Huntington Park.
Six of the final seven Clippers hitters struck out against Durham relief pitchers Adam Liberatore and Jeff Beliveau. Beliveau pitched the ninth and allowed a leadoff double to Jesus Aguilar that just missed leaving the yard over the left field wall, but he was left stranded.
Aguilar and Carlos Moncrief combined for four of the Clippers five hits on Friday night, but none of them happened in the same inning. Moncrief singled in each of his first two at-bats and Aguilar doubled in both of his last two at-bats.
Jason Kipnis, on rehab assignment from the Indians opened the scoring on a groundout to second in the Clippers first, driving in Tim Fedroff. Fedroff led off the game with a double.
The early lead was short-lived because Durham countered with a pair of runs on three hits in their half of the second. Mikie Mohtook drove the first run in on a sacrifice fly to center and Curt Casilli made it 2-1 on a single to left.
Matt Andriese (4-3) started for Durham and other than giving up a run in the first, he held the Clippers in check for most of the night, giving up a run on four hits and a walk, while striking out four.
Clippers starter Travis Banwart (3-1) has the distinction of being the last Clippers starter to throw a quality start when he threw six innings, while allowing three runs against Syracuse on the final game of the last home stand on May 12.
They have had a lot of turn-around in that time-span. Gone are T.J. House and Trevor Bauer, who started the current slide. Only Banwart and Thursday night’s starter Kyle Davies have started two games in a span that has covered ten games.
On Friday, Banwart continued the string of less than quality starts. He allowed three runs on seven hits and three walks over five innings and struck out four.
“(Banwart) gave us five good innings today and kept us in the ball game,” Clippers Manager Chris Tremie said. “He threw the ball pretty well. The third run he gave up, he got a groundball there to get him out of the inning; we were unable to turn it because (Kiermaier) was a fast runner hustling down the line. (Banwart) pitched well enough to keep us in the game.”
The Clippers got four scoreless innings from their bullpen on Friday. Blake Wood, Mike Zagurski, Frank Herrmann and Austin Adams combined to allow just two hits and two walks and struck out three, which kept the Clippers within striking distance.
Saturday night the Clippers and Durham will play the third game of a four-game set. The Clippers have not announced a starter as it was originally slated to be T.J. House, but he had other things going on. Durham will send right-hander Nathan Karns to the mound, who has never faced the Clippers.
Game Notes – RF Carlos Moncrief’s outfield assist in the third inning gives him eight on the year, which is tops in the International League, breaking a tie with Jaff Decker of Indianapolis.
“It stops the running game sometimes as far as the runner taking the extra base and scoring from second,” Tremie said. “Moncrief cutting down the double today was a big help. Carlos has been playing well in right field with balls off that wall and doing a good job with throwing runners out at the plate.”
TRANSACTIONS – LHP Kyle Crockett was officially added to the roster after being optioned by the Indians on Thursday…2B Jason Kipnis (strained right oblique) was sent to the Clippers from Cleveland on a rehab assignment.
Michael Rich is a senior majoring in Communications at The Ohio State University.