bats drop opening night
By Mike Gilpatrick
April 6th, 2018
April 6th, 2018
It was cold and windy, but professional baseball returned to the River City Friday. A couple long balls were the difference, and the Louisville Bats were defeated by the Toledo Mud Hens, 6-4, in front of a crowd of 7,966.
Neither pitcher went too deep into the game. Robert Stephenson got the nod for Louisville, and went just 5.1 innings. He gave up five runs on five hits; two of which were out of the park. He threw 86 total pitches, 48 of which were strikes.
Meanwhile, his competition didn’t last long. The Bats knocked Ryan Carpenter out of the game early. Carpenter only made it 3.1 innings, and gave up 3 runs, 2 of which were earned, on five hits.
Rosell Herrera opened scoring in the bottom of the first. He notched a single up the middle, scoring Alex Blandino from second.
Stephenson surrendered his first runs in the top of the third. Two of the first three batters he faced touched home plate, off a double to the deepest part of left-center from Ronny Rodriguez. Two were left on base when he retired the side.
Louisville got the lead back in the bottom of the third. Left fielder Brandon Dixon notched an RBI on an error, scoring Patrick Kivlehan. Then, catcher Tony Cruz hit a sac fly in foul territory, bringing Sebastian Elizalde home. At the end of three, Louisville led 3-2.
Toledo got the run back in the top of the fifth. Center-fielder Mike Gerber hit a deep solo shot to right field. Heading into the bottom of the inning, the game was tied at three.
The Mud Hens wouldn't stop there. The next innigng, Christin Stewart launched a ball to right, giving Toledo the 4-3 lead. Rodriguez looped a single into right to score another run. Gerber launched another double, scoring one run. The second runner was cut down at home. Heading into the bottom of the sixth, Toledo had a 6-3 lead.
The Bats got one run back in the bottom of the ninth, when Elizalde recorded an infield single, that pulled the first-baseman off the bag. Dixon then went up to bat with two runners on and two outs, but struck on a 3-2 count to end the game.
Toledo's Victor Alcantara received the win, while Stephenson picked up the loss. Zac Reininger picked up the save. Cincinnati's No. 1 overall prospect, Nick Senzel, went one for five, with a looper to left, and reached base a second time on an error by the third-baseman.
The Bats look to tie the series tomorrow. Right-hander Jackson Stephens will face southpaw Chad Bell at 6:30 pm.