McAllister, Aguilar pace Clippers in 14-2 route of Charlotte
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Columbus Clippers (32-33) continued their hot hitting road trip, pounding five home runs and 20 hits in a 14-2 victory of the Charlotte Knights on Tuesday afternoon at BB&T Stadium. Jesus Aguilar paced the offense with two three-run homers and collected three hits in five at-bats, which moved his average to an even .300.
Back-to-back two out hits by Giovanny Urshela and Carlos Moncrief in the first put the Clippers ahead, a lead they would not relinquish. Jose Ramirez hit a two-out solo home run to left in the second to make it 3-0.
The Clippers added on with a single by Ryan Rohlinger and a sacrifice fly by Justin Sellers that made it 5-2. Sellers had the unfortunate dubious distinction of being the only Clipper held without a hit.
A four-run fourth inning broke the game open. Jesus Aguilar hit one over the centerfield wall for his first three-run shot that made it 8-2, and ended the day for Charlotte starter Charlie Leesman (2-6, 3.95). They weren’t done there Giovanny Urshela doubled and was driven in on a single by Carlos Moncrief for the team’s ninth run.
They continued to add on in the seventh, getting a Luke Carlin leadoff solo home run off the rail just above the yellow line in center. Later in the inning, Jesus Aguilar smacked his second homer of the game on a no-doubter to left off of right hander Maikel Cleto, another three-run shot.
Every Charlotte pitcher was charged with at least one run, the last of which was Mitchell Boggs, who served up a solo homer to left off the bat of Adam Abraham. Abraham had a solid road trip, hitting .350 (7-20) with four runs batted in and a couple of home runs.
All told, the Clippers helped their offensive statistics in a variety of ways. Eight out of the nine hitters in the lineup drove in at least one run, led by Jesus Aguilar with six, giving him a team leading 28 RBI. The top five hitters in the batting order scored 13 out of the 14 runs led by Jose Ramirez, Aguilar and Adam Abraham who scored three runs each. The Clippers had eight extra base hits, including a trio of doubles, two of them by Giovanny Urshela. They were set down in order just once (sixth inning) in the game.
Overshadowed by the offense was the rehab start by Zach McAllister (1-0, 3.00), who worked a solid six innings, giving up two runs on three hits and a pair of walks and struck out six. The only hiccup in his outing was back-to-back solo home runs by Jordan Danks and Matt Davidson in the second.
J.C. Ramirez took over in the seventh and pitched two scoreless, hitless innings. He was followed by Mark Lowe, who pitched the ninth and recorded a pair of strikeouts.
The win gives the Clippers a 5-3 season series against the Knights and a 6-4 road trip. It also puts them a win away from .500. They are now in sole possession of second place thanks to a Pawtucket win over Louisville in extra innings on Tuesday afternoon and 5.5 games out first with Indianapolis playing at Lehigh Valley on Tuesday night.
After an off day on Wednesday, the Clippers begin an eight game home stand with four games against the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Rail Riders. Kyle Davies (2-4, 4.33) is scheduled to start for the Clippers for the eighth time this season on Thursday night.
Davies has a quality start in each of his last two starts, but has taken the loss in both games. Last time out, he pitched six innings and allowed three runs on nine hits and a walk with two strikeouts. A one out two-run single in the sixth cost him a win in a 3-2 loss at Gwinnett.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre will counter with right hander Bruce Billings (4-1, 4.54), who will be making his first career start against the Clippers. Scheduled first pitch is 7:05 PM at Huntington Park.
Michael Rich is a senior majoring in Communications at The Ohio State University.