Clippers rally late for an 8-7 walkoff win
COLUMBUS- After remaining behind the entire game the Columbus Clippers rallied in the ninth inning for their second win of the series on Sunday, an 8-7 victory against the Lehigh Valley Ironpigs.
The Ironpigs took control in the first inning, taking advantage of Clippers starter Trevor Bauer’s off speed arsenal. Leading off for Lehigh Valley, Jermaine Mitchell tripled on a line drive to center field, and a shaken Bauer then walked Cesar Hernandez putting runners on the corners with no outs.
Bauer then allowed a double to Pigs third baseman Cody Asche, scoring Mitchell, and sending Hernandez to third. The Clippers continued to dig themselves in a hole, when a sacrifice fly to center field scored Hernandez, increasing their lead to 2-0. After stealing second, Asche was thrown out at home for the second out. One walk and a coaching visit to the mound later Bauer escaped the inning striking out Steve Susdorf.
Bauer continued pitching through the second inning facing only three batters and allowing one hit. In the third inning Bauer’s struggles caught back up with him as he walked the leadoff hitter Hernandez. After a groundout moved the runner up to second, a single from Darin Ruf scored Hernandez. Bauer then awarded Cody Overbeck with a two run homer. Bauer made his way out of the inning after allowing one more hit and walking a batter, but his night was done.
The third inning was the first time Columbus batters were able to muster a hit against starting pitcher Carlos Zambrano, but the Clippers continued their struggle to get on the board ending the inning scoreless.
Paolo Espino came in from the bullpen and replaced Bauer to start the fourth inning and he kept the opposition off the board in the inning.
The Clippers rallied in the bottom of the fourth. Cord Phelps singled on a line drive to center field, Tim Fedroff walked, and Matt Lawson singled to load the bases with no outs. Juan Diaz hit a fly ball to the outfield that dropped in and scored Phelps for Columbus’ first run of the night. Nate Spears came up with a single to score Fedroff and Lawson, though the Clippers would not score again in the inning.
Espino came back out for the fifth inning but gave up a run after a walk to Josh Fields and a double left field by Steven Lerud.
In the bottom of the fifth Jeremy Hermida drew a walk to start off the inning and Fedroff sent a ball bouncing off the center field wall for a triple, sending Hermida home to score Columbus’ only run in the inning.
After Espino pitched a scoreless sixth inning, the Clippers chipped away at the Lehigh Valley lead. Spears walked to start the inning, moved to second on a groundout, .and scored on a Carson single to center field.
Lefty Clay Rapada came on in the seventh inning and he allowed a home run to the second batter he faced to push the Pigs lead to 7-5.
Neith team would score again until the bottom of the eighth inning. Catcher Omir Santos reached first on a fly ball single to right field, but was erased on a fielder's choice at second off a groundball hit by Ezequiel Carrera. Carrera then stole second for his 21st stolen base this season to put himself in scoring position. Carson came through once again with an RBI single to score Carerra and pull the Clippers to within one going into the ninth inning.
After taking the mound in the middle of the eighth inning Matt Langwell held the Ironpigs scoreless in the ninth, giving Columbus a chance to rally for a win and his third win of the season for the effort.
Phelps got things started for the Clippers in the bottom of the ninth with a walk and Fedroff reached base on catcher interference. Lawson sacrificed Phelps and Fedroff into scoring position with a nice bunt and then Juan Diaz was intentionally walked to load the bases with one out. Chun-Hsiu Chen pinch hit for Nate Spears and walked scoring Phelps for the tying run. With the bases still loaded and one out Santos stepped up to the plate hitting a sacrifice fly to center field scoring Fedroff to win the game.
After being swept by Pawtucket in the previous home series, the Clippers are up two games to one in the series with Lehigh Valley and have one more game on Monday at 12:05. Columbus is attempting to recover after falling to third in the International League West standings. They now are one game behind the second seated Louisville Bats. Joe Martinez will face Lehigh Valley’s starter Ethan Martin on Monday before they get set to journey to Norfolk for a series with the Tides.