--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.