Bats Win Back-And-Forth Battle with Charlotte
CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Louisville (19-20) defeated Charlotte (14-26) to begin their eight game road trip Tuesday night. Nevin Ashley led the offense with a 4-for-4 night, including a home run and a double. In a game of several lead changes, Louisville needed a clutch run in the ninth inning to win 8-7. The Bats used a total of five pitchers to finally put away the Knights.
This was the first of eight meetings between the two teams this season. Louisville's last win at Knights Stadium came on July 16, 2011. Coming into the game, the Bats had four players with hitting streaks of six or more games. Billy Hamilton and Felix Perez both extended their streaks to seven games, while Neftali Soto and Henry Rodriguez saw their seven game streaks come to an end.
Both bullpens faltered. Jhan Marinez (BS, 2) failed to hold the lead for the Knights while Jose Arredondo (BS, 2) did the same for the Bats. Kevin Whelan (W, 2-0) earned the victory with Yohan Pino (S, 3) closing things out. David Purcey (L, 0-1) was hit with the loss.
Louisville had five consecutive players reach base with two outs in the second. Denis Phipps, Emmanuel Burriss, and Ashley strung together three straight singles before Kristopher Negron drew a bases loaded walk to score Phipps. Hamilton then reached on an infield single to first. Mike McDade fielded Hamilton's grounder, but overthrew the pitcher covering first base, allowing another run to score on the error. After all was said and done, the Bats held a 3-0 lead on four hits and a Charlotte error.
The lead wouldn't last long as Josh Phegley led off the Charlotte half of the inning with a double down the left field line. Villarreal hit Seth Loman to put two Knights on base. With one out and two on, Steve Tolleson hammered a ball over the wall in left to tie the game at three.
The Bats regained the lead in the fourth with some help from Charlotte's defense. Another error allowed Burriss to reach base. Burriss advanced from first to third on a single by Ashley. Negron picked up his second RBI of the game on a single up the middle to score Burriss and make it 4-3, Bats.
Another big blast from the Knights would give them a one run lead in the fifth inning. Villarreal retired the first two batters but a bloop single by Jordan Danks extended the inning. The next batter, Phegley, hit Charlotte's second home run of the night to take the 5-4 lead.
Like Louisville's lead in the second inning, it wouldn't last long for Charlotte. Ashley continued his great day in the sixth with a leadoff home run to make it 5-5 off reliever Marinez. Negron followed that with his second hit of the game, a double with nobody out. Marinez settled in and retired the next three Bats to end the sixth.
Curtis Partch relieved Villarreal in the bottom of the sixth and pitched a perfect inning.
Perez led off the seventh with a double. Mike Hessman then drove a ball deep to left and out of the park for his eighth homer of the season. With that two-run shot, the Bats reclaimed a 7-5 lead. Ashley then doubled for his fourth hit of the night, but the Bats couldn't get him in.
Partch retired the first batter of the seventh, but then walked Carlos Sanchez. Jose Arredondo took the mound and gave up a double, then walked Danks to load the bases. A sac fly scored Sanchez to make it 7-6. Arredondo tightened the hatches and struck out Phegley to end the threat and preserve the Louisville lead.
The bullpen struggles continued in the eighth. Arredondo walked Tolleson, putting the tying run on. Tolleson stole second, and a Blake Tekotte double scored the tying run. Kevin Whelan came in and struck out Sanchez to end the eighth.
Perez got things going in the ninth with a double off Charlotte's David Purcey. Perez advanced to third on a wild pitch. With two outs, Burriss singled to left-center to score Perez and once again give the Bats a lead.
Charlotte wouldn't go down easy. Whelan began the ninth but was pulled for Yohan Pino after giving up a single. Pino induced a 4-6-3 double play to end the ballgame and give Louisville the 8-7 win.
Last time out, Pedro Villarreal tossed six scoreless, three-hit innings to earn his first win of the season at Lehigh Valley. He threw five innings tonight, allowing seven hits, five runs, and striking out six. It was the long ball that hurt Villarreal. Villarreal gave up a three-run home run in the second and a two-run shot in the fifth. Villarreal has allowed nine home runs this season, which is most in the International League.
Game time for Wednesday is 7:15 as Louisville and Charlotte continue their four game series. Daniel Corcino (1-6, 7.80) will take the mound for the Bats while Simon Castro (0-5, 4.46) will pitch for the Knights.
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