Written by: Curt Ashcraft (@cashcraft740)
Edited by: Matt Shock (@shockwave_music)
Follow us on Twitter! @OS_Report
COLUMBUS, Ohio – Thanks to a four-run first and a strong showing by the Columbus bullpen, the Clippers held on to defeat the Indianapolis Indians, 5-4, on Friday night at Huntington Park. This marked the fourth win in the last five games for Columbus, and their first win over the Indians in over a month (May 11).
On a night where both squads combined for 24 hits and 30 stranded runners, the warm, Midwest skies of central Ohio gave way to the hitters following a total of five runs in the first inning.
Entering the game with a 0-2 record and 4.30 ERA against the Indians this season, Clippers starter Adam Wilk surrendered the first run of the game off an RBI double from Jose Osuna that put Indianapolis ahead in the first inning, 1-0.
Columbus didn’t trail for long as they returned the favor in the home half of the inning against Indy starter Tyler Eppler. Drew Maggi opened the frame by reaching second on an error by the Indians’ third baseman Max Moroff, and Yu Chang put runners at the corners with no outs following an infield single.
In the next at-bat, Yandy Diaz tied the game at 1-1 with a single to left that scored Maggi from third. Brandon Barnes followed with a three-run home run over the leftfield wall to break the tie and give the Clippers a 4-1 lead.
The Tribe cut it to a one-run deficit in the top of the second when Ryan Lavarnway launched a two-run shot to center, and then tied the game at 4-4 in the fourth off the bat of Adam Frazier, who connected on an RBI double to left.
Refusing to give up their lead for long, the Clippers took the lead back in the bottom of the fourth when a one-out double from Eric Haase turned into a run scored after Nellie Rodriguez ripped an RBI single to left, putting Columbus back in front, 5-4.
Over the final five innings of action, Wilk & Co. kept the slate clean by leaving 11 of the Indians’ 23 runners stranded, including two bases-loaded situations. Clinging to a 5-4 lead in the ninth, Robert Zarate entered with two outs and runners on first and third to record his first save of the season following a groundout to second from Frazier.
The Columbus bullpen (George Kontos, Luke Eubank, Evan Marshall, Cole Sulser, and Zarate) allowed five hits over 4.1 innings of work and didn’t give up a run while recording four strikeouts. This was their first scoreless showing in the last three games.
Diaz, Haase and Francisco Mejia each went 2-for-4 at the plate, combining for two runs scored and an RBI. Barnes led all players with three runs batted in.
Columbus will return to Huntington Park on Saturday, June 16 at 7:15 for game two of the three-game series with Indianapolis.