-- By Jared Anderson
-- Photos by Jared Anderson
When Mike mentioned that he would be absent from tonight's game I was positive to see another victory. Riding a solid 5-1 record into the night when I make solo appearances for RCC I hoped to continue my hot streak. The Louisville Bats (44-55) did not disappoint as they secured a series win over the Buffalo Bisons (45-51) with a 6-2 victory. My personal record went up to 6-1.
Justin Nicolino (5-5) took the mound for the Bats in the outing. The first inning did not go the direction the lefty had hoped for when he surrendered a double and single to start the game. A double play took some pressure off, but also allowed the first run of the game to score.
Buffalo tacked on another run the following inning when Anthony Alford sent a solo shot flying over the left field wall. Bringing back an old, but well-known tradition, a fan returned the ball to the field of play.
Mason Williams led off the third inning with a double to right field. Blake Trahan followed with a single to right field and Williams raced around the final stretch to put the Bats on the board.
In the fourth inning, DJ Peterson sent his 11th home run of the season out to right field, narrowly missing the dark green overhang. The solo shot was just the start of Peterson's night, who finished with three hits.
Louisville continued their rally in the fifth inning, plating four runs for their first lead of the night. Williams was hit by a pitch to start the inning and Scott Schebler added a duck to the pond when his line drive grazed past second baseman Tim Lopes. With two outs on the scoreboard the Bats did their damage. Brian O'Grady sent a hard grounder up the middle to center field and the speedy Williams found his way home for the second time. Peterson, still feeling loose from his lap around the bases the previous inning, sent a high ball to left field and made its way deep into the seats. The three-run homer brought his home run total to 12 on the season.
Nicolino finished the night with six innings pitched, seven hits, two runs, two walks, and one strikeout. He earned his fifth win of the season and and lowered his ERA to 4.36. Tanner Rainey threw a quiet seventh inning, striking out one and walking one. Wandy Peralta closed out the game in the final two innings with two hits and one strikeout.
Scott Schebler played in his first game since injuring his shoulder with Cincinnati. He played the role of designated hitter in his rehab game and first appearance with the Bats. Schebler went 1-for-3 with a single and a run scored. In his final at bat, he appeared to have tweaked his injury as he willingly let strike three cross the plate and he winced on his return to the dugout. He wore jersey #12.
DJ Peterson finished the night 3-for-5 with a double and two home runs while recording four RBI's. He rightfully earned Player of the Game.
The Bats have claimed their third straight series, the first time they have done so since April-May of 2016. They extended their win streak to nine games, the first time they have done so since June 18-26, 2012.
The two teams return to Louisville Slugger Field on Thursday night to close out the series. Jose Lopez is expected to get the start for the Bats.