Bats Suffer 7-6 Loss to Clippers
COLUMBUS, Ohio - The Louisville Bats (58-73) suffered a heartbreaking loss at the hands of the Columbus Clippers (71-63) Tuesday night at Huntington Park. The Clippers won by a 7-6 score after the Bats led 6-2 in the fifth inning.
One night after scoring a season-high 14 runs on 16 hits in a 14-2 rout of the Indianapolis Indians, the Bats' offense came out hangover-free, scoring a pair of runs in both the first and second innings. Brian O'Grady mashed a two-run homer in the top of the first, his seventh for Louisville this season, while a pair of RBI groundouts gave the Bats a 4-0 lead in the second.
Left-hander Justin Nicolino (5-6, 4.77) got the no-decision as Louisville's starting pitcher on the night, going 6.0 innings and allowing three earned runs on four hits and two home runs, walking two and striking out seven on 100 pitches, 69 strikes. Columbus catcher Eric Haase hit both home runs for the Clippers.
Louisville led 6-2 at the time of Nicolino's departure, further padding its lead on a two-run double by Bats catcher Tim Federowicz. Right-hander Jimmy Herget tossed a clean bottom of the seventh out of the bullpen, but trouble came in the eighth. The Clippers drew three walks off Louisville reliever Tanner Rainey, who exited the inning with one out. Bats closer Kevin Quackenbush came into the game, attempting the five-out save.
Quackenbush, who has been one of the International League's finest closers this season, allowed all three inherited runners to score, as well as one of his own, allowing the Clippers to take a 7-6 lead heading into the ninth. From there, Columbus reliever Evan Marshall got the save in the ninth to give the Clippers a come-from-behind victory in the series opener.
Bats designated hitter Hernan Iribarren went 2-for-4, with his second hit of the night giving him 442 career hits as a Louisville Bat, moving him into sole possession of third place on Louisville's all-time hits list, dating back to 1982.
Josh VanMeter and Gabriel Guerrero both went 2-for-5, with VanMeter extending his already season-high hitting streak to nine games, while Guerrero extended his to seven games, one shy of his season-high. Blake Trahan also went 2-for-5, extending his hitting streak to eight games, two shy of his season-high 10 games.
Tomorrow, the Bats and Clippers are back at it, with right-hander Jose Lopez (5-11, 4.29) set to go for Louisville, opposed by Columbus left-hander Ryan Merritt (1-3, 4.47), with first pitch set for 6:35 in Wednesday's middle game.
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