By Jason Wyrick
Photo by Jared Anderson
With a lineup heavily anchored by former (and current) big league standouts, the Columbus Clippers downed the Louisville Bats with a score of 8-5.
The Clippers jumped on Bats’ starter Jose Lopez early, with highly decorated Cleveland Indians shortstop Francisco Lindor getting on base in the top of the 1st. The three-time Major League All Star was driven in by yet another player with ample big league experience. Ryan Flaherty, a seven-year big leaguer himself blasted a two run shot to score Lindor.
The Clippers would add to their lead in the 2nd behind a solo shot by catcher Eric Haase to extend the lead to 3-0.
Francisco Lindor flexed his two-time Silver Slugger winning bat in the 3rd with a solo blast, extending the Clippers’ lead to 4-0.
In the bottom of the 3rd, the Bats would get on the board. Josh Van Meter singled into the outfield, scoring Phillip Ervin.
Columbus would answer right away, adding that run back to their lead in the top of the 4th. Oscar Mercado singled to left field to score Bobby Bradley. Rob Refsnyder, the Bats’ South Korean outfielder by way of California gunned down Eric Haase to keep the deficit to a modest four. This would still be the end of the line on this Thursday night for Jose Lopez.
Jesus Reyes would have similar luck against these Columbus Clippers, quickly getting tagged with another run on a Brandon Barnes single in the top of the 5th. Ryan Flaherty also hit his second two-run home run of the game and the lead ballooned to 8-1.
Aristides Aquino hit a solo home run in the bottom of the 6th. What appeared to be an insignificant development actually was the first of a late rally by Louisville.
In the bottom of the 8th, Rob Refsnyder hit a three-run long ball to slash the Clippers’ six-run lead in half. Mother Nature did not have her rally cap on, however. In the middle of a Phillip Ervin at bat with the count full, the skies opened up causing a delay that eventually cut the Bats’ rally short, ending the game.
The Bats will travel north on I65 to Indianapolis tomorrow for a weekend series against the Indians.
--By Mike Gilpatrick
--Photo by Seth Spalding
Francisco Lindor made a rehab assignment for Columbus in Louisville on Monday. Josh VanMeter was more impressive.
The Louisville Bats had an offensive explosion in the fifth inning, and defeated Lindor and the Cleveland affiliate 9-7. Both teams combined for four home runs. VanMeter, the Bats first baseman, went 2 for 4, and gained four RBIs and scored two runs.
Keury Mella had a bad outing. He threw 5.1 innings, but was shelled with two home runs. He gave up five runs, all earned, on ten hits and three walks. He only managed to strike out three.
Columbus gained the lead first in the first inning. Cameron Maybin singled on a ground ball to right field, plating Oscar Mercado.
In the bottom of the inning, VanMeter hit his fifth home run of 2019, a two-run shot with Christian Colon on-base, to center field. The home run came on the third pitch of the at bat, and travelled 422 feet.
Bobby Bradley tied the game in the fourth. He hit his third double of the year to Nick Longhi in left. Jordan Luplow scored.
Louisville re-gained the lead in the bottom of the fourth on a wild pitch.
Lindor hit a massive home run in the top of the fifth. It went to right field, and landed 412 feet away from home plate. It was Mella’s last home run allowed in the game. Ryan Flaherty hit an RBI single to right, scoring Maybin. It gave the Clippers the lead.
The Bats scored five runs in the bottom of the fifth inning. Colon plated the first run with an RBI double. It scored Sherman Johnson. Then, VanMeter hit his fourth double of the year, scoring Colon. Juan Graterol scored three runs on his first home run of 2019. The pitch went to left field.
Eric Haase hit his fourth home run in the top of the sixth.
Columbus cut Louisville’s lead to one run in the top of the seventh. Trayce Thompson hit a two-run single with the bases loaded.
VanMeter gained his fourth RBI of the game on a sacrifice fly in the eighth. Blake Trahan scored.
Mella was the winner(1-1), Shao-Ching Chiang was the loser, and Anthony Bass recorded the save.
Louisville moves to 6-7 overall. They look to at least split the four-game series with Columbus tomorrow. RHP Vladimir Gutierrez (1-0, 3.48) goes against LHP Sean Brady (1-0, 3.00). The game is at 11am and is Elementary School Day.
--By Mike Gilpatrick
--Photo by Jared Anderson
The Louisville Bats opened a midweek series against Columbus on Monday. They dropped the opener.
Louisville’s oldest active professional sports team collapsed in the ninth inning, and lost 4-3.
Lucas Sims owned the Clippers in his career. In six starts, he had a 2.25 ERA with 39 strikeouts in 32 innings pitched. It was not different on Monday. Sims pitched six innings, and gave up three runs, all earned, on six hits and one walk. He struck out TEN Clippers over 95 pitches.
Eric Haase homered to the left field corner in the top of the second inning. He scored Ryan Flaherty.
Louisville gained the lead in the bottom of the first inning. Nick Longhi hit an RBI single to right field to score Blake Trahan. Then, Christian Colon looped a liner to Trayce Thompson in right (Brother of Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson). Colon’s RBI scored Kyle Ren. Rob Refnsyder gave Louisville the lead one batter later. Refnsyder single to center, allowing Longhi to score.
Brandon Barnes tied the game in the top of the fifth. He hit into a groundout with no outs, allowing Mark Mathias to score.
Chih-Wei Hu started the game for Columbus. Aside from being one player that a fan can make the joke “Hu’s on first?” about; Hu had a good outing. He threw six innings, and gave up three earned runs on six hits and two walks. Hu struck out six Bats.
Jesus Reyes replaced Matt Bowman in the ninth. When he entered, there were two runners on base. Bowman put the runners on with no outs, then struck out two batters. Reyes proceeded to walk the next two batters and gave Columbus the lead.
Bowman was handed the loss, despite Reyes walking the batter with the bases loaded.
Courtney Hawkins struck out to end the game. Jon Edwards received the win, and AJ Cole the save.
Louisville moves to 5-7. The Bats look to even up the series tomorrow. RHP Keury Mella (0-1, 7.00 ERA) looks to bounce back from his horrendous last start. He will pitch against Shao-Ching Chiang (0-1, 5.56).
--By Mike Gilpatrick
--Photo by Jared Anderson
The Louisville Bats thundered over Gwinnett in game three.
With airplanes flying overhead as part of Thunder over Louisville, the Bats; known as the “Derby City Mint Juleps,” for today put together a convincing win, behind a stellar performance from RHP Jose Lopez.
Lopez, who spent all of last season in Louisville, allowed a leadoff home run. That was it. He responded to throw 89 pitches over 6 innings, and allowed four total hits and two walks. He struck out four. His ERA went from 2.25 to 1.80.
The leadoff home run as eluded to earlier, went to Gwinnett center fielder Rafael Ortega. Ortega ripped a 2-2 pitch to right field.
Louisville would tie the game in the bottom of the second. Brian O’Grady scored on an left-field RBI single from Nick Longhi. O’Grady originally reached base on a leadoff walk; and got to third on a throwing error from the pitcher on a pickoff attempt.
Derby City gained the lead in the third. Christian Colon hit a deep double to the wall in left-center field, scoring Kyle Wren and Rob Refsnyder. Almost perfectly, four F-16 Fighting Falcons passed over Slugger Field, nearly choreographed with the play.
Stripers starting pitcher Andres Santiago, whom entered the game with a 1.69 ERA, left the game after 2.2 innings, and gave up three runs, two earned, on four hits and two walks. Only one Mint Julep struck out.
Gwinnett cut Louisville’s lead in half in the top of the eighth. Austin Riley singled in Andres Blanco on a 1-1 count. The run was off Cody Reed.
Anthony Bass came on in the ninth to record the save. Lopez notched the win, and Santiago the loss.
Louisville returns to .500; with a record of 5-5. They look to take the series victory tomorrow. RHP Odrisamer Despaigne (0-0, 4.50 ERA) takes on LHP Kolby Allard (1-0, 0.00). The game is a 2pm start.
By Jason Wyrick
Photo by Jason Wyrick
It was a beautiful Friday night for baseball in Louisville. The Bats played a barn burner in front of a sparsely populated crowd of 5,143 announced at Louisville Slugger Field.
The baby Braves were in town for game two of this opening series in Louisville and a familiar face struck first blood in the top of the first. Gwinnett Stripers’ left fielder (and Louisville Cardinals and Bats alumnus) Adam Duvall singled up the middle to score Andre Blanco.
It took until the bottom of the fourth for the Bats to answer, Christian Colon singling to drive in one and knot it up once more.
In the top of the 5th, Gwinnett’s Rafael Ortega hit a solo shot off of Bats’ starter Vladimir Gutierrez, who would finish the inning. This home run would spell the end for Gutierrez’s night.
The Bats would answer in the bottom half of the 5th, though. It began with a Courtney Hawkins bloop single to center (his first career hit at the level) and some Gwinnept defense to help it along the way. Blake Trahan singled down the left field line to score Hawkins, once again knotting the game. That deadlock was short lived, however. Sherman Johnson, pinch hitting for the starter Gutierrez, delivered in a big way, giving the Bats their first lead of the game and ending Mike Soroka’s night on the mound.
The lead would only increase in the 6th. AAA rookie Chris Okey started behind the plate and knocked in a pair on a single to left. These were his second and third RBIs at the AAA level and should serve as a confidence boost after a shaky start at the plate, batting .130.
In the 7th, the Bats committed an error of their own. A Brian O’Grady throwing error trying to catch a runner advancing would allow Pedro Florimon to get to third before ultimately scoring on an Andres Blanco home run to tie the game once more.
In the bottom half, another bloop single from Josh VanMeter would retake the lead for Louisville, one it would attempt to protect for six more outs.
In the top of the ninth, Sal Romano retired the first two batters quietly. Then the wheels came off. He walked the bases loaded before anyone could even get up to stretch in the pen. Travis Demerritte stepped into the box with the tying and winning runs in scoring position and delivered a bases clearing double into the gap. The Stripers’ 9-7 lead would prove insurmountable.
The Bats return home on Saturday at 2 PM.
Photos by Roscelle Griffin, Jared Anderson, and Jason Wyrick
--By Mike Gilpatrick
--Photo by Jared Anderson
There was a holiday on Thursday in Louisville. The Bats played in their opening night.
Louisville’s oldest team ended their four-game home losing streak on home opening day, with a 7-6 win against Gwinnett. The Bats played scrappy and turned a grand-slam deficit into a win; thanks to a pair of long balls from first baseman Brian O’Grady.
Bats starting pitcher Keury Mella did not have his best night. The 6-2 right-hander only managed to throw three innings; and allowed five runs (all earned) on six hits and two base on balls. Two of his 72 pitches went over the fence.
Gwinnett led 4-0 after the first two innings. Andres Blanco drove in Rafael Ortega in the first, and hit his first home run of 2019 in the second. Blanco’s home run went over the center-field wall, and drove in Luis Marte and Ortega.
Bats newcomer Aristides Aquino cut their deficit in half in the bottom of the second. He belted a two-run home run 423 feet to left-center on the third pitch of the at-bat. Christian Colon scored on the play.
Raffy Lopez knocked his first home run to right field in the top of the third. It was a solo shot.
Aquino responded in the fourth. He hit a ball deep enough to straightaway center field that Josh VanMeter was able to score.
Louisville finally gained the lead in the sixth inning, when O’Grady hit his first home run. He hit an absolute O’bomb to right field on a full-count. Colon also scored on the play.
Gwinnett starter Bryce Wilson was knocked out of the game after he finished the sixth inning. Wilson’s six runs allowed were all earned, and were on eight hits. He only managed to strike out two. Wilson also received the loss.
O’Grady was not satisfied with just hitting a home run off Gwinnett’s starter. In the eighth, he hit a 393-foot solo-shot to left-center field.
Gwinnett managed to scrape one run via sacrifice fly in the ninth. It was all they would manage to squander.
Ian Krol notched the win. Wilson received the loss. Anthony Bass saved his first game.
Louisville moves to 4-4. RHP Vladimir Gutierrez (1-0, 3.38) looks to win game No. 2 against RHP Mike Soroka (1-0, 0.00). The game is at 7pm. Gutierrez led all Cincinnati Reds minor-leaguers with 145 strikeouts in 2018. The River City will get their first look at the Reds No. 8 prospect.